A pioneer in software engineer Watts Humphrey once said “If you don’t know where you are, a map wont help”. Nothing can be more true when it comes to the matter of fitness. Once you know your starting point you can plan where you want to go. With newer health tools and gadgets cropping up every other day with multitude of advices on fitness often leaves us baffled. However none really focuses on the fundamental principal on knowing your fitness level to begin with. Lets get started with some simple home assessment methods devised by the Mayo Clinic to judge your fitness level.
Gather your tools:
Generally, fitness is assessed in four key areas: aerobic fitness; muscular strength and endurance; flexibility; and body composition. To do your assessment, you’ll need:
A stopwatch or a watch that can measure seconds
A cloth measuring tape
Someone to help you record your scores and count repetitions
You’ll also need a pencil or pen and paper to record your scores as you complete each part of the assessment.
Aerobic Fitness: Heart rate at Rest
Your heart rate at rest is a measure of heart health and fitness. For most adults, a healthy heart rate is 60 to 100 beats a minute. Feel your pulse at the neck or wrist , look at your watch and count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to get your heart rate per minute.
Aerobic Fitness: Target heart rate
The target heart rate zone is an increase in your heart rate — 50% to 85% of the maximum heart rate for your age — great enough to give your heart and lungs a good workout. The target heart rate zone for a 25 year old is around 98-166 beats per minute
Aerobic Fitness: running or jogging test
A fit 25 year old woman should complete a 2.5 km run in 15 minutes and men by 12 minutes
Muscle strength and endurance :
Pushups can help you measure muscular strength and endurance. If you’re just starting a fitness program, do modified pushups on your knees. If you’re generally fit and able to do them, do classic pushups. A 25 year woman should be able to do 20 push ups and men 28. Sit ups or abdominal crunch measures the strength of the abdominal muscles.
A good fitness level means ability to do about 39 sit ups for a 25 yr old women in one minute and 44 for men.
Flexibility: sit and reach test
Keep a yard stick on floor, sit with the stick in between your legs and heels at the 15 inch mark. lean forward to reach as far as you can. Do a best of three. Its a good measure of flexibility based on age and sex. For a 25 year old women the farthest reach is 21.5 inch and men 19.5 inch.
Body Composition: Waist circumference
If your waist circumference is greater than your hips, you have an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.The risk is even greater for women with waist circumferences of 35 inches or more and for men with waist circumferences of 40 inches or more.With a cloth measuring tape, measure your waist circumference just above the hipbones.
Body Composition: Body Mass Index
Your body mass index (BMI) is a calculation that indicates whether you have a healthy amount of body fat. You can determine your BMI with a BMI table or online calculator.
Interpretation of BMI results.
|30 and above||Obesity|
Stay Active, Stay Fit
The results of your fitness assessment can help you set goals for staying active and improving fitness outcomes. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
- Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
- Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week.
Monitor your progress
Keep track of your progress in improving your fitness. Take the same measurements about six weeks after you begin an exercise program and periodically afterward.
Each time you repeat your assessment, celebrate your progress and adjust your fitness goals accordingly.