Measures of Fitness

There are many kinds of goals that a person can set for themself. One can enjoy a variety of joys, which satisfy different kinds of motivators and thereby add up to a happy life. One component of a happy life is a healthy life, and therefore it is a good idea to take care of yourself as much as you can.

In that regard, it is worthwhile to put in a little time to keep physically fit. If you devote a few hours a week to some enjoyable and mildly challenging physical activity, probably you will probably stay fit. If you supsect that you need to do some "catch up" on fitness, you might try a few simple self-tests that you can do at home. Before doing any exercises when you are out of shape, you should be sure that your health is sufficiently good that you will not overstress or injure yourself. If you are unsure, consult your doctor.

The following standards are somewhat subjective, and are based on opinions published on the web on various sites. (To see links to some sites, click here.)

Strength test: sit-ups

Sit-ups are a well known exercise. Lying face up, with knees bent and hands behind the head, the person lifts their torso pivoting at the waist. After each lift the body is lowered to the floor and the exercise is repeated.

To judge how fit you are, compare your performance to these tables:

AgeAverage ManFit Man
20-2940More than 50
30-3933More than 45
40-4930More than 40
50-5927More than 35
60+22More than 30

AgeAverage WomanFit Woman
20-2935More than 45
30-3930More than 40
40-4924More than 35
50-5921More than 30
>60+18More than 25

Strength test: push-ups

Push-ups are a well known exercise. Lying face down, and keeping the body straight with toes on the floor, the person pushes up with their arms until their arms are straight (thus lifting their body, pivoted at the toes). After each lift the body is lowered near the floor and the exercise is repeated. I refer to this as classic style push-ups.

A slightly easier version of the exercise (and one less stressful on the back) is done by leaving one's knees on the floor and pivoting at the knees. I refer to this as modified style push-ups.

For men, measure the number of classic push up repetitions that can be done at once. Then compare to this table:

AgeAverage ManFit Man
20-2933More than 45
30-3927More than 35
40-4921More than 30
50-5915More than 25
60+15More that 20

For women, measure the number of modified style push up repetitions that can be done at once. Then compare to this table:

AgeAverage WomanFit Woman
20-2926More than 45
30-3921More than 35
40-4915More than 30
50-5913More than 25
60+8More that 20

More Measures - Links

Fitness self-tests and other tests:

Fitness trainer's evaluation from http://www.fitboot.com/assess.shtml

Exercise prescription from http://www.exrx.net

Sports coaching from www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/eval.htm

Note that the presence of a web site in this list does not imply any endorsement of the site or the validity of the information presented therein.

If you have any comments, or if you know of other handy sites that we should list, the please click this button to go to our comments form:

Planning for Fitness

You can plan for fitness by merely reserving time each week to go for a walk, go swimming, go dancing, or to do some other recreation where you are active. If you need some additional motivation to get fit (particularly if you are not fit now), it may be helpful to chart your progress.

If you are using the Pathways Personal Life Planner, you can use either approach. You can set a goal and a time commitment, and then schedule your regular activities. Or you can set measurable goals and track your progress using the Pathways window illustrated here:

The above graph was produced by Pathways V2.0 running in advanced mode. In this example two goals have been set. The user has clicked the second goal in the table to highlight it, which also causes any recorded measurements to be displayed as a graph.

Pathways lets you record any sort of measurement. Of course it is also possible to track your progress using a pen and pencil, but you may find Pathways to be a more handy and elegant method because all your goals and plans are kept together and effectively organized.

Also keep in mind that your goals do not need to correspond to published standards or tables. You decide what is appropriate for your situation.