September 21, 2021 4 min read
Trying to improve your physical health takes a lot of commitment. It begins as an uphill battle that suddenly becomes a routine part of your life. The best way to determine how you start your fitness journey is to get some base measurements through various activities. Having a guide on how to test and determine your fitness level will put you on the right path to reach your peak.
The best way to understand your cardiovascular health is to learn about the two types of heart rate, with your resting heart rate acting as the general baseline. Generally, most adults will have their resting heart rate between 60-100 beats per minute (BPM). You can do this manually by putting two fingers on the carotid artery near your throat and counting each pulsation for fifteen seconds. Once you have the number, multiply that by four to calculate your resting heart rate. Another way to get this number may be innovative technology like a watch, fitness tracker, or phone.
After discovering your resting heart rate, any cardiovascular exercise will help you determine your target heart rate. Your target heart rate depends on your age and what you calculated when you were resting, but generally, you want a 50-70% increase for the sweet spot.
Cardio exercise can be low-intensity like a brisk walk, or more high-intensity like using a lateral trainer. If you don’t have access to any exercise equipment, timing a 1.5-mile run gives you a solid idea of your fitness level. Your goal time may vary depending on your age and other factors, such as your biological sex.
The good thing about cardiovascular improvement is the options are endless! You can go on a jog, use a treadmill, take on a hike, perform jumping jacks, to improve the health of your heart. If you perform rhythmic exercise that gets your heart pumping and works out the large muscles in your body, your cardiovascular fitness will trend upward.
Like your cardio test, you can check your muscular strength at home by doing push-ups and sit-ups. Push-ups will imply how much muscle you have, indicating what areas need your focus. If you are beginning a fitness program, don’t feel pressured to use the perfect form right away. A modified push-up is a great start, and you can improve upon that over time. Another test to perform is seeing how many sit-ups you can complete in a minute, which signifies where you are at with stamina. As with every assessment, success is dependent on your age and sex.
If you are looking for a more in-depth way to learn about your muscular strength, you can try using the leg and bench press. You can also do activities like performing a pull-down or knee and arm curls. A good practice to follow is doing a warm-up set at around 40-60% capacity for 5-10 reps. After resting, try to increase your weight to approximately 60-80% of your capability.
Developing your muscular strength is undoubtedly challenging, but plenty of activities can improve each muscle group. If you want to improve at home, household activities like gardening or shoveling increase your endurance and work out many muscles in your body. Lastly, lifting weights or using resistance bands consistently will improve your strength and show progress.
The most standard way to test one’s flexibility is the sit-and-reach test. The odds are that everyone did this in elementary school by sitting down, putting their feet on the box, and pushing forward to see how far you could go. However, there are other ways to test one’s elasticity. Performing a shoulder stretch and trunk lift are two different yet simple ways to challenge one’s bendiness. A shoulder stretch will have you reach with one arm over your back while using the other arm to go upward, trying to get them to touch or get as close as possible. Meanwhile, a trunk lift will have you laying flat, lifting your head and chin as far up as possible.
The primary advantage of exercising for your flexibility is in the name —it’s flexible! Things like stretching your hamstring, triceps, and shoulders don’t require any room or equipment, letting you perform the most fundamental stretches at home or in the office. It’s also imperative to do some stretching before a high-intensity workout, limiting the risk of a potential injury.
If you look to bend longer and farther, employing a yoga routine will get the body places you didn’t think were possible. However, begin by practicing the most straightforward yoga positions before doing anything more comprehensive. Other more thorough activities include Pilates or tai chi; however, make sure you have plenty of practice before trying anything out of your ordinary workout routine. Finally, the most relaxing way to take care of your physical fitness is to take a warm bath.
Figuring out your body composition generally gives you an idea of how healthy you are. Testing this aspect can be as simple as a skinfold test or in-depth as a full-body scan. The skinfold test will measure the thickness between certain parts of your body to determine your body fat percentage. This number gives you an impression of your body composition, although it leaves plenty of room for error. Getting a DXA scan will not only tell you how much body fat you have, but will also pinpoint exactly where that body fat is on your body.
While it’s easy to say a new diet supports most when trying to improve their body composition, it’s better not to use the word diet at all. Instead, tell yourself that you want to change your lifestyle. Adjusting your lifestyle permits more flexibility with your food intake, curbing the aggravation and dieting anxiety. More helpful lifestyle strategies involve counting your calories and managing your macros. After you get your food plan set, exercising will work as an accelerant for your body composition to shrink.
Hopefully, having a guide on how to test and determine your fitness level has helped shed light on what areas you can focus on and improve. With plenty of equipment to choose from at Top Fitness Pro, you can conquer your wildest fitness aspirations.
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