Anybody who is about to embark on a training program for fitness-whether they choose walking, running or any other form of exercise- should first gauge their fitness carefully. Persons of all the age groups can carry out the pulse test, flexibility and abdominal strength tests described here. The walking test is a tougher fitness check based on distance covered when walking briskly.
1. Checking Your Pulse
Whichever exercise form you choose, measuring your pulse rate during activity is a good way of testing fitness. It is especially useful for monitoring your progress in the course of aerobic workouts. You should take your pulse once or twice during activity, using the maximum pulse rate formula described below. Your pulse rate should not rise much above this safe limit, and it should drop down quickly.
If you are going beyond your safe limit, you are doing too much for your present level of fitness. Modify your activity, but do keep exercising regularly. As you get fitter your pulse rate during the exercise will not rise so much, so you’ll need to work harder to raise it to the safe limit. If you are not getting near the safe limit, then you are not doing enough to stretch yourself.
Maximum Pulse Rate Formula
During vigorous exercise, your pulse rate may rise steeply, according to how hard you work and to your level of fitness. The following rough formula gives you the safe limit for your age during vigorous exercise.
From 220 deduct your age, and then reduce this number by one-quarter.
For example. If you are 40 years’ old:-220-40=180 multiple 3/4=135
In this case, your safe limit during activity is 135.
It is important that your pulse rate should drop down quickly after exercise, as shown below. If your pulse stays high, you should calm down. Try a gentler form of exercise, and build up your fitness more gradually.
All you need is a watch with which you can count seconds. Hold it in your left-hand while; with the first two fingers of the right hand, you search for the pulse in your left wrist. You can usually find it a little below the base of the left thumb. (Reverse hands if you are a left handed). Start by counting the number of beats of the pulse for 60 seconds. When you do this easily, you can proceed to a quick assessment, counting for just 10 seconds and multiplying by six.
( Caution: your pulse rate is not the only criterion of safety. If you feel severe pain or dizziness, you should stop your exercise, and rest. If these symptoms continue, seek your doctor’s advice.)
2.Testing For Flexibility
To test your flexibility, perform the following exercise.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out before you and stretch forward to touch your toes. If you can reach can reach without difficulty there is the adequate flexibility of the spine and shoulders. If you only reach the mid-shin area, you should take p an exercise type that rates high on flexibility. The Surya-Namesake is an excellent all around stretching exercise.
3. Testing Abdominal Tone
The abdominal muscles deserve particular attention since chronic weakness here exacerbates many common ailments like a backache, etc. To assess your abdominal strength, lie down on the floor and fold your arms across your chest. Then try to raise the upper part of your body without any jerking movements.
Your back should be relaxed, not held stiffly, and your legs should remain on the floor. If you can do this easily, your abdominal muscles are in good shape. If it is a bit struggle, or all you can do is lift your head, then you need to develop them.
4. General Fitness Test
The test here was devised by Kenneth Cooper, to assess fitness according to the distance covered in 12 minutes when walking fast. It is designed for anyone who is under 35 years of age, or for anyone over that age who has been exercising regularly at least three times a week for at least six weeks before undertaking the test.
If this excludes you, it is safest to categorize yourself as ‘poor’ or ‘very weak.’ The ideal fitness program for anyone who rates fair, poor or ‘very poor’ is aerobic walking.
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