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How To Assess Your Fitness Level

Knowing your current fitness level can help you to set fitness goals and also to choose activities that will challenge you without over-exertion or straining. Below are five measures to assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition.

  1. Take your pulse immediately before and after a 1-mile walk at a steady, brisk pace. To take your pulse, place the first two fingers of your right hand under your jawbone and slide them towards the center of your throat until you feel a strong pulse. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply that by 4. That is your pulse per minute. A normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

    To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220:

    220 - my age = _____________ (maximum heart rate)

    Multiply your maximum heart rate by .85 to determine your upper level of aerobic intensity, and by .70 to determine your lower level of aerobic intensity. The range between these two numbers is your target heart rate zone.

    My max. heart rate x .85 = ____________ (upper limit)

    My max. heart rate x .70 = ____________ (lower limit)

    Calculate your heart rate at the end of your walk to see if you are reaching your target heart rate zone. If your heart rate at the end of the walk is greater than the upper limit of your maximum, your fitness level is probably quite low.
  2. When you walk the mile in Step 1, time how long it takes you. The average, reasonably fit adult can walk three miles an hour? 20 minutes per mile. If it takes you a lot longer than that, your fitness level is probably quite low.
  3. How many pushups can you do without pausing? This is a measure more of upper body strength than overall fitness, but if you find yourself puffing and panting after 2 or 3, your overall fitness is also probably quite low.
  4. Ask a doctor or other professional to measure your body mass index (BMI) or use the ?calculator? on the National Institutes of Health website: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm

    Your BMI is a measure of the percentage of fat in your body relative to lean muscle mass and is a good indicator of overall fitness. A BMI between 20 and 25 indicates that you are healthy with appropriate fat and muscle mass. A BMI over 25 is a sign of overweight and poor fitness.
*Disclaimer: Results are typical but not guaranteed. Your actual results may vary. Real CalMWM patients shown with permission.

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