Physical fitness is an important component of living a healthy, active and long life. Before beginning or focusing your workout routine, it’s a good idea to know your fitness level. Don’t let confusion about how to get tested or an expensive gym memberships get in your way. Help is here. Try these three options to self-assess your physical fitness. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical fitness tests are easy to do and the equipment you will need is simple: a watch or stop watch for counting seconds, a tape measure or yardstick, and a pencil and paper.
1. Muscular fitness. Measure your strength or muscular fitness with the simple push-up. Starting push-ups from your knees instead of your feet is an acceptable modification. Lie on your stomach with your elbows bent and your palms just beside each shoulder and shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight and your belly tucked in, firmly push up with your arms until you’re up as far as possible, with elbows as straight as you can but not locked out. Lower your body until the chest just brushes the floor. Repeat the exercise. Count each time you complete one full push-up. Record the highest number you can complete. The last couple push-ups should be a bit difficult but not painful.
2. Flexibility. This flexibility fitness self-assessment test measures the backs of your legs, hips and lower back for flexibility. Sit at one end of a yardstick on the floor with your feet on either side of the stick. The bottom of your feet should rest at the 15-inch mark. Reach forward and down the stick length, holding the position as long as you can — at least two seconds. Record the distance you reached forward. Try this test another two times. Record the best of the three reaches.
3. Aerobic fitness. Record your pulse by placing your index and middle finger over the side of your neck. Once you notice the pulse, count the beats over 15 seconds on your watch. Multiply the number of beats you count by 4. The product of the equation is equal to your heart rate per minute. Record the number. Next, take a brisk walk of about 1 mile and record your pulse again. Repeat the entire exercise and record the second set of results.
Keep track of your progress. Over time you may wish to self-asses and repeat these three physical fitness tests — try an interval of every six to eight weeks. Record the measurements carefully each time to discover any trends and hopefully progress. Adjust your exercise program accordingly. You should share any results with your doctor who can help you with understanding and reacting to your results.