If you have decided to get back in shape, it’s a good idea to measure your level of physical fitness before you start an exercise program. It’s relatively easy to test your level of fitness at home. You don’t need expensive equipment either.
When you have tested yourself, you can easily track your progress by comparing your numbers to your baseline. That helps you keep motivated to exercise.
Instructions for DIY Physical Fitness Tests
I found several online sites that give instructions on how to conduct DIY fitness tests at home. I liked two sites –SparkPeople and Adultfitnesstest.org – the most. Both sites give instructions on how to perform a set of activities that measure different areas of fitness:
- muscular strength and endurance,
- aerobic endurance,
- body composition.
Because the SparkPeople site had videos that show how to execute the test activities, I decided to follow their instructions. I chose to test my muscular strength only, but the site also gives instructions on how to measure your aerobic endurance and flexibility.
You can compare your numbers to a chart to get an idea about how well you are doing compared to other people in your age range.
Testing Muscular Strength
Both sites describe test activities for measuring abdominal and upper body strength. Abdominal strength and endurance is measured by doing as many curl ups (also called half sit-ups or crunches) as you can in sixty seconds. Likewise, upper body strength is tested by doing either push-ups or modified push-ups (for women).
The only test equipment you need is a clock with a second hand or a countdown timer (I used my Nokia mobile’s timer application, check if your phone has a suitable application for this). Also, for the half sit-ups you need four strips of tape. The tape is used to mark the distance between the start and end positions (Read detailed instructions for performing here. Note: (I used 3,5” distance btw the start and end positions like instructed in the Adultfitness.org).
My Test Results and Reflection
The test activities were easy to do, except I had to do a couple of “practice runs” to find a comfortable position to perform the modified push-ups.
- Abdominal strength – 20 curl-ups in 60 seconds – average result
- Upper body strength – 7 modified push ups in 60 seconds – poor result
My test results indicate that my abdominal strength is averagefor females in my age group (I’m 42). My upper body strength, on the other hand, was poor. I suspect that it’s actually worse than poor, because even in the modified position I wasn’t able to lower my upper body very low.
I wasn’t especially surprised by my results. (I actually expected my abdominal strength to be even poorer). And what would you really expect the upper body strength to be for a middle-aged person whose most strenuous upper body exercise during the day is wiggling your fingers to operate the mouse and keyboard?
Anyway, there is lots of work ahead before I reach my ultimate goal of being able to do 20 push-ups in a row.