One of the first steps in planning your exercise program is getting information about your current physical condition. While a medical check-up is highly recommended, these simple fitness tests will suffice particularly when you are a relatively healthy individual. But when you have suspicions of an underlying health condition or you’re recovering from an injury, a medical consultation is a must.
Most of these simple fitness tests can be done at home while the others require specific tools. You will know your heart strength, flexibility, and balance through these exams. You will also have a blueprint for your exercise program and, thus, your improvement in fitness.
Your endurance level is a reflection of your cardiovascular system’s health. The system’s components are your heart, lungs and circulatory system (i.e., veins).
VO2 max test
This requires special equipment including a face mask for measuring the milliliters of oxygen used by your body. The more oxygen circulating in your body during exercise, the fitter and healthier you are.
You should talk to your doctor about taking the VO2 max test when you have concerns about your heart health. You may or may not yet be suitable for it.
This is a simple fitness test using a 12-inch-high step. Just go up and down the step for three minutes while keeping a consistent pace. Rest for one minute and take your pulse for six seconds, multiply it by 10, and get your heart rate per minute.
The normal range will vary depending on your age and sex. If you’re a woman 18-25 years old with average to above average health, your pulse rate per minute should be between 94 and 100. If your health is good to excellent, it will be 93 or lower and higher (i.e., 111) if it’s in the fair to poor range.
You can improve your cardio endurance by getting aerobic exercises. These can include Zumba exercises or spin-cycling at Curves.
Your muscular strength is important in your ability to stay active. You can improve it through weightlifting exercises.
The sit-up test is the best test for it. Perform sit-ups for 60 seconds. Count the number of sit-ups you can do. If you’re a woman age 18-25 years, you should be able to perform 43 sit-ups if you’re in excellent health.
You can also perform the balance and flexibility tests but these two are the foundation for your fitness test. You can work on your cardio endurance and muscular strength with a combination of cardio and weightlifting exercises in a gym.