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Take These 3 Self-Tests to Measure Your Fitness

Take These 3 Self-Tests to Measure Your Fitness

Have a New Year's resolution or two looming on the horizon? Of course you do! And we bet getting in better shape made the top of your to-do list, just like ours. Are you wondering how far you have to go? Looking in the mirror (sucking in that belly or not) isn't always the best fitness gauge.

Warm up for 5 minutes (march in place, swinging your arms), then try these three tests to see where you stand:

  1. How flexible are you? Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart. Extend your arms, place one hand on top of the other (fingertips forward), and reach for the space between your feet. Women under 46: You should be able to reach 2 to 4 inches past your feet. Older? Aim for your soles. Men under 46: You should be able to reach your soles. Older? Aim to be within 3 to 4 inches of them. (What's your BMI? Find out now!)
  2. How's your heart? If your doc says you can, exercise for 18 minutes at 80% to 85% of your max heart rate (for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age), then do 3 more minutes all out. Check your pulse. Rest 2 minutes and check it again. It should drop about 66 beats. The faster it drops, the fitter you are.
  3. How are your muscles? Do some push-ups. A 30-year-old man should be able to do 35; a 30-year-old woman, 45 (knees on the floor). Figure five less for every decade after that. (Build arm strength with this simple 15-minute workout.)

How Did You Do?
Not quite at your age goals? That's just more reason to stick to your resolution. Pick something you can see yourself doing at least three times a week for the foreseeable future. Walking is a popular choice.

Learn more about how to measure your heart rate recovery time.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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