If you’re hoping to lose weight or get in better shape, your first step is to test your fitness level. After all, if you don’t know how much you can handle, how will you know where to start? Building an appropriate exercise routine means you need to challenge yourself without causing injury. This requires a certain level of understanding of what is fitness appropriate for you.
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to test your fitness level at home. While this should not be seen as an accurate measure when compared to one conducted at your doctor’s office, it can help. This type of home test can boost your understanding of your physical abilities.
There are four main steps to being able to test your fitness level yourself. In order to do this, you will need a stopwatch (or stopwatch app), a scale, a measuring tape, a yardstick, duct tape and a pad and paper to record your scores (ideally with a friend and/or family member to write everything down for you). You can also use a tracker app or a spreadsheet on your computer for tracking.
The first test is your aerobic fitness. To do this, go for a brisk walk for one mile. You can walk on a sidewalk, a treadmill or a track as long as you have a way to know that you have walked exactly one mile. You’ll need to check your heart rate for this test. This can be done most easily by testing the pulse at your neck, but you can also check your wrist. Before walking, time a period of ten seconds and count the number of beats of your pulse during that span. Then, multiply it by 6 to find out how many beats per minute. Record the time, then, go for your walk. When you complete the mile, record the time and your heart rate.
The next test is endurance. Here, you’ll be doing pushups, which also helps you to gauge muscular strength. If you haven’t been doing pushups at all, use modified pushups from your knees. If you are used to doing pushups, use the classic method. Count the number of times you can lower down and press back up again. Each down-and-up is one pushup. Do as many as you can until you must stop and record that number.
Next, you can test your flexibility. Use the sit and reach test. Secure a yardstick on the floor with duct tape across it at the 15 inch mark. Sit on the floor with your heels positioned at the tape mark. Slowly reach forward as much as you can and note the distance on the yardstick. Do this three times and record the best of three.
Finally, measure your body composition by calculating your BMI. You will need to know your height, weight, and waist circumference just above your hip bones. Record those numbers and use an online calculator to tally up your BMI.