Most of us pride ourselves on having a healthy and strong body which requires no exercise or we consider regular exercise as waste of time and avoid it completely. However, the reality is that majority of people are unfit without knowing so and are susceptible to a number of diseases and disorders which can jeopardize their normal life anytime.
Whether you are overweight, underweight or just a little flabby, assessing your fitness level will bring out the truth about your physical condition and help you to understand whether any remedial steps need to be taken.
If you are already working out regularly, assessing your physical condition from time to time will indicate your progress or the lack of it. A few simple DIY procedures can help determine your fitness level.
Measure Your weight
Your body weight is an important indication of your fitness level. It is a good practice to take your weight periodically on a weighing scale and enter the value in a chart which you maintain and update on a regular basis.
The chart should also contain your height so that you can have an idea if your present weight is ideal when compared to your height.
Although several other physical factors like physical activities, your cholesterol level, age, gender or medical conditions play an important role in determining your ideal weight, this chart is a good indicator if you are overweight, underweight or weigh normally.
Measure your BMI
Another way of measuring your current fitness level would be to calculate your BMI scores. BMI or Body Mass Index is used to categorize people according to their weight and you can use a BMI calculator to see where you stand exactly.
Search online for a BMI calculator from a trusted site and enter your weight and height in the boxes earmarked for them to see your BMI value. However, adult BMI calculator is not applicable for children and teens for which you need to look up a separate calculator specifically for them, which takes into account their age and gender.
You can consider yourself fit if your BMI score is between 20 and 25. It is a healthy practice to check your BMI from time to time to assess your condition and stay within the normal range.
Go for a Walk
To assess your current fitness level, take a brisk walk for one mile and check the time it takes you to complete the distance. If you can cover the mile within ten minutes, you can consider yourself fit and healthy. However, if you are panting and take much longer to complete your walk, you need to work towards improving your fitness.
Calculate your Resting Heart Rate
Your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is also a good indicator of your fitness. It is the rate at which the heart beats per minute when your body is at rest. Take your RHR reading immediately after waking up in the morning before performing any physical activity.
Locate the radial pulse on the wrist and count the beats for one minute (sixty seconds). Take the first beat as zero reading. A lower RHR value indicates a higher fitness level and an RHR of 60 or lower is considered good.
Measure your Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR)
Your waist-hip ratio will also indicate how fit your body is. This ratio determines the distribution of fat around your waist vis-a-vis the girth of your hip. For women, a WHR of 0.8 or less is good while for men, the ideal ratio should be 0.9 or less.
In order to evaluate your WHR, measure your hips at the buttocks (where your hip is widest) and then measure your waist at its narrowest point. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement in order to know your WHR ratio.
Assess your Flexibility
The flexibility of your body will also indicate how supple and strong you are. Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front and put a yardstick in front.
Put your heels at the fifteen inch mark and bend forward to try and touch your toes with your fingertips. See how far you can reach out comfortably.
Do some Vertical Leaps
Vertical leaps, whether done standing or in a squatting position, will indicate your body’s agility and the ability to respond quickly to situations. Stand against a wall, raise your hands and mark the spot where your fingertips touch the wall. You can also squat on the floor, stretch your hands overhead and similarly mark the spot on the wall where your fingertips touch against it.
Next, smear some chalk or ink on your fingertips and jump as high as you can (whether you are standing or squatting) and let your fingertips touch the wall again.
Measure the difference between the two marks to get an indication of your fitness level. A reading between 50cm and 60cm for men and 40cm and 50cm for women is cons