Like most people, it’s likely been some time since you’ve hit the gym to work out with a Personal Trainer or challenge yourself in a group fitness class. You may be staying active by doing your own thing.
But are these activities working for you? Are you making any fitness/wellness gains?
It can be difficult to gauge your improvement, and as it’s been a tough year, it’s absolutely ok to cut yourself some slack.
However, if you are curious about your current fitness status, read on for some simple evaluation methods you can do right at home.
1. Body Composition
Your total body weight really doesn’t provide a solid look at your health, but by combining your weight and height and applying that to the Body Mass Index, you can see a broad assessment and track your fitness progress from this point.
- The BMI is easily accessed online, so take your height and weight measurement to determine if you are on the right track.
The BMI evaluation provides a reasonably accurate assessment of where you should be based on your height and weight; results show if you are underweight, overweight, obese, or fall within an acceptable range.
- Another helpful measurement is your Waist to Hip Ratio.
- Simply put, your waist should be smaller than your hips.
If it’s not, you may want to consult your health care team about your lifestyle. Again, there are waist/hip ratio tables available online.
2. Resting Heart Rate
This is a crucial measurement to determine your current wellness status. Remember that certain medications may impact your resting heart rate, so talk to your doctor.
When you have a measurement of your heart at rest, and then again while you are exercising, you know more about your heart function. For most healthy adults, the resting heart rate should fall between 60 to 100 BPM.
There are “average” heart rate charts available online, but there is a healthy range. What is vital here is that is if your resting heart rate is too high, it may signal a higher risk of a heart attack.
- First, practice finding your pulse; take your first two fingers and place them on the inside of your wrist, just below your thumb.
- Count how many beats you hear for thirty seconds.
- Take this number and double it to get your resting heart rate in beats per minute (BPM).
3. Cardiovascular Fitness
This evaluation can vary widely, based on your current fitness level and activities. Again, there are many charts available online, and this test can range from a brisk ten-minute walk to a 12-minute run that will push you to your limit.
- These measure how hard you have to work to get your aerobic activity into your target heart rate zone, typically 50 to 85% of your maximum heart rate. When you work out in the target heart rate zone, you provide your heart and lungs the challenge that they need to stay healthy.
4. Pushups and Sit-ups
These two tests will measure your strength and endurance and compare the number of repetitions you can complete against others, providing you with a benchmark.
This benchmark is considered a measurement of a good fitness level based on your age and gender. If you are lower than the benchmark, you can use this as a motivational goal!
- Similarly, sit-ups can also provide you with a benchmark for your muscular endurance;
- complete as many sit-ups as you can in one minute to set your standard and compare yourself to the average.
- Charts are available online, so use these to check your results.
Keep a logbook of your evaluation results, including the time and day of the week on which you completed the evaluations. When you are ready to evaluate again, be sure to replicate the test setting as much as possible.
There are many other fitness evaluation tools that you can try. Remember to record your results and use these as a tool to improve the design of your fitness program.
Having a regular physical and mental check-up is a critical factor in staying well! In fact, Harvard Health recommends “an annual wellness visit”!