When you’re starting a new exercise program, it’s good to take as many measurements as you can at the outset so you can chart your progress over time. Hitting new milestones will keep you motivated and show you just how beneficial regular physical activity can be. Try these at-home tests to measure your fitness. If you score low, don’t sweat it: just stick with your workout and you’ll see these numbers gradually improve.
How Aerobically Fit Am I?
To do this test, walk one mile as fast as you can and time yourself with a stopwatch. If you’re under age 40, an “excellent” time would be 13:30 or less; a “good” time would be 13:31 – 16:00; an “average time” would be 16:01 – 18:30. If you’re over 40, the “excellent” range is 14:30 or less; “good” is 14:31 – 17:00; and “average” is 17:01 – 19:30. To improve in this area, spend 30 minutes a day, five days a week, doing aerobic activity (jogging, aerobics class, zumba dancing, boot camp, cycling). Vary your intensity between fast and recovery pace to condition yourself to be quicker.
How Much Upper Body Strength Do I Have?
To do this test, do as many modified push-ups (with your knees on the floor and legs crossed) as you can, using perfect form with your back straight. If you’re in your 20s, 30+ is excellent, 21-29 is very good and 15-20 is good. If you’re in your 30s, 27+ is excellent, 20-26 is very good and 13-19 is good. In your 40s, 24+ is excellent, 15-23 is very good, and 11-14 is good. In your 50s, 21+ is excellent, 11-20 is very good and 7-10 is good. In your 60s or older, 17+ is excellent, 10-16 is very good and 5-9 is good. To improve in this area, strength-train three times a week (every other day), aiming for 8-12 push-ups at a time and building up to 3 sets.
How Much Flexibility Do I Have?
Put a yardstick on the floor with a piece of tape at the 15” mark. Sit with your heels at the edge of the tape and your legs a foot apart. Slowly reach your arms forward, release and repeat, recording your longest distance. If you’re 26-35, the average distance is 19 (above average is 20, below average is 16 and well below average is 13”). If you’re 36-45, your average should be around 17 (19 is above, 15 is below and 12 is well below). From 46-55 years of age, you should be reaching 16” (18 is above, 14 is below and 10 is well below). When you are 56+, you should be reaching 15 (17 is above, 13 is below, 9 is well below). To improve in this area, spend some time stretching each day and try taking yoga classes.