UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Remember back in school when the Presidential Physical Fitness Test rolled around? You were tested on your strength, stamina, and flexibility. Though you have left gym class behind you, it’s still a good idea to measure your fitness just as you measure your weight and blood pressure. Knowing the specifics can help you set realistic fitness goals, monitor your progress and maintain motivation. Below are a few ways to measure just how fit you are based on the Presidential Physical Fitness guidelines.
To assess your aerobic fitness, take a brisk one-mile walk. This can be done on a trail, track or treadmill. Check and record your pulse before and after the walk. To check your pulse wait until 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 you should multiply 15 by 6 for a total of 90 beats per minute. After you’ve recorded your pulse, complete the walk and check and record your pulse once more.
Push-ups and sit-ups can help you measure muscular strength. If you’re just starting a fitness program, do modified push-ups on your knees. If you’re already fit, do classic push-ups. Count each time you return to the starting position as one push-up or one sit-up. Do as many of each as you can until you reach the point where you simply cannot do one more. Record the number of push-ups and sit-ups you complete.
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. Take the following steps to record your flexibility.
- Place a yardstick on the floor. Secure it by placing a piece of tape across the yardstick at the 15-inch mark
- Place the soles of your feet even with the mark on the yardstick
- Ask a helper to place his or her hands on top of your knees to anchor them
- Reach forward as far as you can while holding the position for two seconds
- Note the distance you reached
- Repeat the test two more times
- Record the best of the three reaches
With a cloth measuring tape, measure your waist circumference just above the hipbones and record your waist circumference. Next, determine your Body Mass Index (BMI), an indicator of your percentage of body fat based on height and weight, through a BMI table or online calculator. Most experts agree that Body-Adiposity Index (BAI), a newer method used to measure body fat utilizing height and hip circumference, is a more accurate measurement. Record your BMI or BAI with the rest of your scores.
Now that you know your fitness level you can keep track of your progress. Discover how you compare to those in your age/height range. Once you know where you are at comparatively speaking, you can begin to set yourself some goals. You should be reassessing your fitness often in order to monitor progress. You should constantly be adjusting your fitness goals as you progress. If you keep this up, your health will improve as will your life insurance premiums.