It’s tough to estimate the level of your fitness to truly understand your health. Fitness level varies from individual to individual and includes a few factors like aerobic endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, agility and body composition. To measure how fit and health you are, try assessing yourself on the following parameters:
– 1 Km run – This will test your cardiovascular health . Use a flat surface preferably and measure the time you take ti finish 1 km of running. If you are still able to talk without being too breathless, you’re cardiovascular health is in good shape. If you need more than 6-7 minutes to finish a kilometre of running, then you need to work on improving your cardiovascular fitness. .
– Resting Heart Rate (RHR)– It is a good arbitrary way to measure cardiovascular fitness. The lesser your heart needs to pump per minute , the stronger your aerobic capacity. Measure your radial pulse in a completely relaxed state and count the number of beats in 1 minute. Normal resting hear rate is between 60-80 beats per minute. The closer your count is to the lower end of the range, the higher your fitness level will be. If it is over 80 beats per min, try adding endurance exercises like running or biking to get it down.
– Wall Squat Hold– This test will assess your leg strength and endurance. Sit with your back touching the wall and thighs parallel to the floor and try to hold on for a minute. If you can hold through the minute, your leg muscles have good strength and endurance. If not try adding exercises like bodyweight squats and lunges to your exercise routine.
– Push Ups– Push ups are a good indicator for overall strength and fitness in your upper body. Try to maintain full range of motion both up and down , look ahead and try touching your chest to the floor on the way down and lock out your elbows completely on the way up. 15 repetitions for women and 30 repetitions for men indicate good upper body strength.
– Plank hold-Core stability, strength and endurance is needed to hold the plank position for more than 60 seconds. Your back should be lower than the level of your shoulders and as parallel to the floor as possible. Hold the position on your forearms at slightly less than shoulder width. Add this exercise to your daily routine and see a marked difference in performance in 6-8 weeks.
– Flexibility– You want your body to be nimble and flexible, not stiff and rigid like a board. To asses flexible you are, sit down on a flat surface with legs fully forward and knee joint completely locked out. Now try touching the toes and getting your head to the knees without opening up the knee joint. Only go as far as comfortable and then hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat daily to improve your range of motion. Flexibility is an important factor in injury prevention and it’s also the most overlooked.
– Burpees– This is my favorite. It is a full body blaster. It will test your strength , endurance and speed all together. It will also test your will power. It’s a fairly simple movement and a great way to assess your overall fitness. It involves dynamically moving down into a pushup and getting up and jumping as high as you can with both hands above your head. If you can do 15 or more of these in a minute your fitness level is good. If the count is lower, you need to get to work !!