How fit are you? (Test yourself!)

How fit are you? (Test yourself!)

Most of us have some idea of our average fitness levels. Well, we know what we can and can’t do, whether it’s dashing up the stairs or working out in the gym. We all have our limits. So, when you’re planning on getting into shape, or improving your current fitness levels, understanding how fit you are is key to getting started. Once you know your average fitness levels you can plan your route to make fitness a priority. Instead of constantly wondering, how fit am I, let’s take a look at how to work out your average fitness levels!

Your average fitness levels: Getting started

Fitness is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. But how do you work out your average fitness level? Well, it is typically measured by examining four key areas:
  • Endurance
  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
As well, of course: Body composition and body mass index (BMI). Your BMI looks at your height and weight, while body composition takes into account lean muscle mass and fat. But what’s the best way to work out your average fitness levels? Well, to get started you’re going to need a stopwatch, yardstick, pen and paper and scales. You can either keep track of reps yourself or ask a friend to help. First, let's take a look at your heart rate at rest.

Aerobic fitness: Heart rate

Typically, a healthy resting heart rate (RHR) for adults sits between 60 to 100 beats a minute. One of the easiest ways to check your pulse is over your carotid artery, placing your index and middle fingers on the side of your windpipe. While feeling your pulse, take a look at your watch (or clock on your phone) and count the number of beats per 15 seconds. Take this number and multiply it by four to get your heart rate per minute. For example, 20 beats in 15 seconds - 20 x 4 = 80 beats per minute This number can be a great indicator of your average fitness levels. As your heart becomes stronger through aerobic exercise, your resting heart rate will decrease. Intense exercise such as running or cycling can have a huge impact on lowering your resting heart rate. Your RHR lowers as your heart muscle becomes stronger through this type of exercise, since it becomes better at pumping out more blood per heartbeat.

Target heart rate zone

When it comes to getting fit and determining your average fitness levels, the target heart rate zone is an increase in your heart rate. But what percentage should you be aiming for? Aim for 50% to 85% of the maximum heart rate for your age. This should give your heart and lungs a strong workout! For moderately intense exercise, aim for 50% to 70% and when your exercise gets really serious, aim for 70% to 85% Use this as a guide for judging how intense your exercise really is. Not quite hitting the mark? Time to kick it up a notch!
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Many want to understand the average fitness levels by age, and to help clear things up a little, here are some target heart rate zones broken down:

Age: 25

Target heart rate zone (beats per minute): 98 - 166

Maximum heart rate (beats per minute): 195

Age: 35

Target heart rate zone (beats per minute): 93 - 157

Maximum heart rate (beats per minute): 185

Age: 45

Target heart rate zone (beats per minute): 88 - 149

Maximum heart rate (beats per minute): 175

Average fitness levels by Endurance/Cardio Tests

Looking for ways to work out your fitness standard by age? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There are a variety of ways to work out your average fitness levels, including endurance and cardiovascular fitness tests. Don’t worry, they aren’t as extreme as they sound! First, we’re going to take a look at a simple test to answer those ‘how fit am I?’ questions you’ve all been wondering: The Step Test.

How to do The Step Test

This fitness test is easy to do and requires very little prep. All you need is a 12-inch-high step and either a quick hand to time yourself or a friend to help. So, how do you do The Step Test? It really is as simple as going up a step. Step up onto the block/step with your right foot and then lift your left to join it so that you’re facing forward standing on the step. Then reverse it - going back on your right, then your left. Keep a consistent pace for three minutes straight, then rest in a chair for one minute. Take your pulse for six seconds and multiply that number by 10 to work out your heart rate for one minute. But what results should you expect? Well, this all depends on your starting fitness levels. The number you end up with will vary depending on age and gender. For example, for guys aged 18 to 25, a 60 second pulse rate between 85 and 100 is average to above average. Then, 84 or less is good to excellent - 101 or higher is fair to poor. For women in the same age group (18 to 25), a 60 second pulse rate could sit between 94 and 110 as average to above average. Then 93 or lower is good to excellent and 111+ is fair to poor. How can you improve endurance? Depending on your starting fitness levels, you may want to try a quick-paced walk, a light jog or even swimming. Or why not try to improve your endurance by completing several laps of your stairs or heading out on a hike. Fancy a form of exercise that feels a little more… Fun? Try a team sport such as basketball or tennis.

Average fitness levels and Balance

Unsure of your average fitness level? Balance is key for keeping fit, no matter how old you are. Here’s how to help determine your average fitness levels by age through a simple balance test.
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This may require the help of a friend to keep your focus on balancing rather than time! To start, take off your shoes and socks and stand on a hard, steady surface. Keep your eyes closed and lift one foot about six inches off the ground. Bend your knee and place your foot against the leg you’re balancing on - hold and time how long you can keep this position for. Complete the one-legged balance test three times and average your times. If you’re below the age of 30, you should be able to hold this move for 30+ seconds. As we age, it’s totally normal for this number to decrease. How can you improve balance? Repeat this test and practice balancing on one leg. Or, yoga is a great way to get flexible and improve your overall balance.

Testing your strength

When it comes to your average fitness level, strength plays a huge role. Often, strength can go hand-in-hand with endurance, and so, this test will help you test both of these areas.

Push ups!

Yep, this simple yet effective exercise can be a great way to gauge your average fitness level. If you’re at the start of your fitness journey, you can modify these slightly to perform push ups on your knees - or go the whole way on your toes! To perform the movement, lay down on the floor with your elbows bent palms next to your shoulders. Be sure to maintain a straight back throughout and don’t let your hips sag downwards or your butt push into the air. Balance your bodyweight between your toes and your hands and push up through your arms to lift your body upwards. Lower again until your chin is close to the ground. Keep going until you NEED to stop. What’s a ‘good amount’ of push ups? The number of push ups you can complete can depend on age and gender. If your push up count is below target, it gives you an indication as to your average fitness levels and room for improvement. Age: 25 Number of push ups (female): 20 Number of push ups (male): 28 Age: 35 Number of push ups (female): 19 Number of push ups (male): 21 Age: 45 Number of push ups (female): 14 Number of push ups (male): 16

Sit ups

When trying to work out your average fitness levels, sit ups are an excellent test of strength and endurance. Here’s how: Lay on the floor and bend your knees, pulling your feet up towards your butt. Keep them bent at a 90-degree angle and place your hands across your chest. Use your abdominal muscles to raise your shoulders and head off the floor, towards your knees. Use the following numbers as a guide to gauge your average fitness levels by age: Age: 25 Number of sit ups (female): 39 Number of sit ups (male): 44 Age: 35 Number of sit ups (female): 30 Number of sit ups (male): 40 Age: 45 Number of sit ups (female): 25 Number of sit ups (male): 35

Average fitness: Flexibility

You may think you’re pretty fit, but how flexible are you? Flexibility is a key element in gauging your average fitness levels. So stop wondering, ‘how fit am I?’ and get testing yourself!

Sit and Reach Test

This simple test will allow you to gauge how flexible you are pretty easily! Start by laying on your back, lifting your right leg towards your chest. Hold the move for between 10 and 30 seconds. If you need to, grab your thigh to bring your leg closer to your chest. Repeat on the opposite leg before stretching both legs out in front of you. It’s time to stretch your torso! Bend one leg at the knee, tucking it beside your other thigh. Then run your hands along your outstretched leg as far as you can reach. Repeat on the opposite leg. Complete them for a couple minutes then take a quick walk for 1 to 3 minutes. Next, place a yardstick on the ground and use something (such as tape) to mark 15 inches on the floor. Get back down onto the floor and sit the yardstick between your legs, legs outstretched. Keep your heels at the 14” line mark with your feet around a foot apart.
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Let’s see flexible you really are! Now reach forward with both hands along the stick and keep track of how far your fingers reach. Jot down the longest measurement. How can you improve flexibility? Regular stretching can help you to become more flexible, as well as yoga and tai chi.

Body composition: Your waist

We all carry weight in different ways. If your waist circumference is larger than your hips - you carry more weight above your hips - you will have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. With a measuring tape, measure your waist circumference just above your hipbones.

Body comp: Your BMI

You will have most likely have heard all about BMI before now! Your BMI is a calculation that reviews your body fat - which can be done easily with a BMI calculator or table. However, if you do prefer to do the maths, simply divide your weight (in lbs) by your height in inches squared, then multiply by 703. Or you can divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. As an example, the following BMIs demonstrate a healthy weight. BMI: Under 18.5 Weight status: Underweight BMI: 18.4 to 24.9 Weight status: Normal weight BMI: 25.0 to 29.9 Weight status: Overweight BMI: 30+ Weight status: Obese

Setting fitness goals

Ready to up your game? It doesn't matter what your average fitness levels are, or your fitness standards by age, because there are plenty of ways to get fit! No matter your fitness level, try incorporating extra steps into your day. If you're no newbie to exercise, up your strength training or try introduce some of the following into your regime:
  • Swimming laps
  • Playing tennis
  • Cycling
  • Hikes
  • Playing soccer or basketball
  • Running on a treadmill
  • Using resistance bands

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