Staying in shape is an excellent way to maintain your health and prevent unwanted weight gain. In the last few years, obesity has become an epidemic in several countries. This has a lot to do with the sedentary lifestyle many people find themselves in and some of the poor dietary choices they are making. If you want to find out what level of physical fitness you are currently at, there are a number of effective tests you can try. These tests will involve various parts of your body so you can determine if you need to work on them and get them into better shape. Before you start any of these tests, visit a doctor or find a trained professional who knows where to measure body composition, to ensure you are healthy enough to undergo physical fitness tests. The following tests can be performed almost anywhere and can be of great use when considering a new fitness regimen.
1. Upper-body strength
If you are looking for a good way to test how strong your upper body is, a good sign is being able to bench press at least half of your bodyweight. You can perform the test by using a standard bench-press machine. While you are lifting, make sure your feet maintain contact with the floor at all times and remain completely flat. In order to calculate your score, you will divide the largest amount you benched a single time by the amount you weigh. If you were able to bench only a small fraction of your weight, consider starting a rigorous upper body strength training regimen.
Running is one of the best cardiovascular exercises out there. People who run for longer periods of time have a better aerobic capacity than those who do not. Aerobic capacity is the ability of your body to provide oxygen to all of your muscles while they are working. Aerobic exercise on a regular basis will help to reduce your cholesterol and body fat. This will limit the chances you will have heart disease. Using a body composition analyzer is an accurate way to determine your body composition. The results it provides are more accurate than those you will receive from a BMI calculator and other tests. A great way to measure your aerobic capacity is by timing yourself as you run 1 1/2 miles. If it takes you more than 12 minutes, this is considered to be slow. Between 10 and 12 minutes is the average length of time. If you can do it under 10 minutes, you are in excellent physical condition.
The best way to measure a person's strength and fitness when it comes to the lower body is by measuring how high they can jump. Get some chalk and put some on your fingers before you perform the test. Take your position by standing next to a wall with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your knees and jump as high as you can without taking a step first. Touch the wall to leave a chalk mark at your highest point. If you jump under 15 inches, this is poor. Between 12 and 16 inches is considered average. Over 20 inches is a superior vertical leap.
4. Leg strength
In order for you to see how strong your legs are, use a leg-press machine. Make sure your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and then begin to lift the weight. You can calculate your score by dividing the largest amount of weight you lifted one time by how much you weigh. Anything less than 1.8 is very poor. Between 1.8 and 2.2 is the average amount most people can lift. Anything over 2.2 is terrific.
Swimming requires both good upper-body strength and aerobic capacity. For this test, time yourself for 12 minutes and figure out how far you were able to swim. If your distance was under 500 yards, this is substandard. Between 500 and 700 yards is what average people can swim. Over 700 yards is a distance you can be proud of.
The best way to measure upper-body endurance is by doing pushups. 15 or less means you have insufficient upper-body strength. Between 17 and 33 pushups is average and performing any over 25 is truly outstanding.