Ready to start a new fitness program this month? You probably have some idea of how to fit you are. But do we really know how to measure fitness levels? Why is that important? Measuring your fitness level regularly can help you set realistic fitness goals, monitor your progress and maintain your motivation.
Generally, fitness is assessed in four key areas, including aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. A fitness test is a measurement of your strength and flexibility. Fitness tests are a great way to check your fitness at the beginning of a new workout routine and help you track your progress that you are making on your road to weight loss and make changes to your workout routine along the way.
Many of the fitness tests described on fitness sites require special equipment or training, however not all do. If you don’t have access to all the toys and tools of your gym, don’t panic. You have everything you need to measure your fitness level in your own house! If you’re not an elite athlete, or just want to track some basic measurements, here are a few simple fitness tests you can do on your own at home. Use these five tests to gauge your current level of fitness, and then use the results to set fitness goals and track your progress.
4 FITNESS TESTS YOU CAN DO AT HOME
1-Check Your Aerobic Fitness Level By Brisk Walking
This Test measures your aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness level based on how quickly you are able to walk a mile at submaximal (moderate) exercise intensity. If you have to run on the road, use the same route each time and avoid routes with road crossings, train barriers etc.
To assess your aerobic fitness, take a brisk one-mile (1.6-kilometer) walk. You can do the walk anywhere, such as on a trail or track, inside a shopping mall, or on a treadmill.
Place middle and index finger on either your wrist (radial artery) or neck (carotid artery). Being careful not to press too hard, count the number of beats for a minute.
When you feel your pulse, look at your watch and count the number of beats in 10 seconds. Multiply this number by 6 to get your heart rate per minute.
For instance, if you count 15 beats in 10 seconds. Multiply 15 by 6 for a total of 90 beats a minute. This means your heart rate while walking at that intensity is 140 beats per minute.
Maintain your walking journal and note down your accurate pulse rate right before and after the walk. If you own a heart rate monitor, this will obviously give you an accurate reading. Check the Heart Rate Chart to see where your heart rate places you.
2-Assess Your Flexibility Level By Doing A Sit-And-Reach Test
Flexibility is a particularly important component of fitness that’s often overlooked. Poor flexibility is a result of tight muscles and can lead to injury. The sit-and-reach test is a simple way to measure in general fashion the flexibility of the backs of your legs, your hips, and your lower back. Here’s how:
Place a yardstick on the floor and mark the two ends of your yardstick at the approximately 15-inch mark.
After warming up (or shortly after taking the cardiovascular health test above), sit on the ground at the 0-inch mark, placing your soles against the edge of the yardstick.
Slowly reach forward as far as you can, holding this position for 2 to 5 seconds.
Note the distance in your journal.
Repeat three times with five seconds of rest between each stretch. Write down the longest measurement. (The goal is to reach your heels.) That is your flexibility test.
3-Measure Muscular Fitness Level: Push-Up Test
Pushups are an ideal way of keeping a tab on your muscular strength. The push-up test has been around for a very long time because it is simple and effective, both as an upper body exercise and as a way to measure upper body strength and fitness. You can check your own upper body strength and monitor your progress by performing this test every few months. If you’re just starting a fitness program, do modified pushups on your knees. If you’re already fit, do classic pushups. For both types:
Lie facing the floor and make sure your elbows are bent. Keep your palms next to the shoulder facing the floor.
Keeping your back straight, push up with your arms until your arms are extended.
Lower your body until your chest is about 2 inches from touching the floor.
Push your body upward, returning to the starting position. This completes one full push-up.
Count each time you return to the starting position as one pushup. Do as many pushups as you can until you need to stop for rest.
Record the number of push-ups you are able to perform and write it down in your weight loss journal.
You can compare your results to the norms and recommendations for your age and gender and track your own progress by performing the test every two to three months.
4-Body Composition Test: Waist Circumference & Body Mass Index
You must keep a record of your body composition every six months. This, essentially, calls for noting down your BMI (Body Mass Index) and waist circumference (waist size).
To take a quick assessment, simply pull out an inch tape measure and wrap it around your belly at approximately navel height. Record your waist circumference in inches or centimeters in your weight journal.
Then determine your body mass index (BMI) through a BMI table or online calculator. BMI or Body Mass Index is a formula that estimates a person’s ideal body weight based on weight and height measurements.
BMI tracks height and weight only while a body composition test, which calculates your fat and lean muscle mass, is an excellent indicator of overall fitness.
If you’d rather do the math yourself, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply by 703. Or divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. (To determine your height in meters, divide your height in centimeters by 100). Record your BMI in your weight journal.
Monitor Your Progress
Now that you have recorded your fitness level in your fitness journal, keep a track of it by monitoring your progress. Share your results with your dietician or personal trainer for additional guidance and to keep a tab on your progress.