Fitness and weight loss always go hand in hand on every fitness journey online. But what if that isn’t always the case? In a CDC study on weight loss, an average of 49.1% of Americans try to lose weight per year. Despite these numbers, over 183 million American adults are still overweight or obese. Although losing a few pounds help with your general well-being, they don’t define fitness. In this guide, find out the best ways to test your fitness, regardless of weight lost or gained.
Defining Physical Fitness
In every fitness or weight loss journey, being physically fit or reaching the peak of physical fitness is the goal you need to achieve. But with so many varying definitions, people are becoming confused about what the term entails. Contrary to what most people believe, physical fitness is more than losing weight, running fast, or lifting heavy weights.
Experts define physical fitness as an individual’s capability to perform daily activities with optimum endurance, strength, and performance. It also includes managing diseases, fatigue, and stress while engaging in less sedentary actions.
In addition, being physically active doesn’t mean one is physically fit, despite the notable benefits the former provides the latter. Physical activities are only a set of movements that you do day-to-day, whether it’s work-related, recreational, or mundane house chores. Exercise is a type of physical activity you plan and repeat to achieve or maintain your best self. To be physically fit, a person needs to have optimum performance in all five components of physical fitness.
“The fit person is able to perform daily tasks with agility, power, and coordination and has sufficient energy to enjoy leisure time and to be able to meet unforeseen emergencies.” – Fnu Seemant, MD, Sports Medicine Specialist, Cayuga Medical Center
The Best Ways to Test Fitness
Measuring your fitness goes beyond the digits you see on your scales, your tight abs, or how heavy you can lift. Physical fitness encompasses five components: cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility. Besides checking your weight and increasing or trimming your muscle mass, you should also be on top of these factors to be physically fit. Here are some of the best ways to assess your true fitness level.
Assessing Aerobic Fitness with Your Resting Heart Rate
One of the best ways of indicating one’s fitness progress is by counting the beats of your resting heart rate (RHR). Aerobic fitness relates to the cardiorespiratory fitness component. The more your aerobic fitness improves, the lower your rate becomes.
A person’s resting heart rate (RHR) indicates how many times your heart beats per minute while resting. People with healthy cardiovascular systems allow the heart to pump more blood per beat. Athletes at the peak of their physical conditions have an average RHR record of 40, while the average individual should have an RHR of 61 to 80.
Aerobic fitness is part of the cardiorespiratory component, especially in physical activities that cause elevated heart rates for sustained periods, like swimming and brisk walking. In several health studies, experts found that cardiorespiratory fitness, including aerobic fitness, has close associations with a person’s physical and mental health.
“Adults with higher cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength had a lower BMI and overweight/obesity risk.” – Dr. Chang-Tsen Hung, Department of Health and Leisure Management, Yuanpei University of Medical Technology
Assessing Muscular Endurance and Strength with Push-Ups and Vertical Jumps
Many people think that exercises for muscular endurance and strength are similar- they’re not. Although muscular-related activities focus on the muscles, testing their strength and endurance requires different workouts.
Pushups are the best way to assess your muscular endurance. Although it’s a muscle-building exercise, it measures how long your muscles can endure the weight you lifted in a fixed period. In addition, pushups challenge your chest, shoulder, and upper arms, which also helps in indicating the progress of your core stability. People with excellent muscle endurance should do at least 25 pushups for women and 30 for men.
When checking the progress of your muscular strength, power is the best indicator for it. Unlike endurance, power allows you to exert force quickly. Utilizing power means putting all your muscle fibers to work. The more power your muscles exert, the better your muscular strength becomes.
Doing vertical jumps is the best indicator for testing muscular strength. Vertical jumps show how much force your muscles put into the spot. If you have a higher reach, it means healthier and stronger muscles.
“Physiologically speaking, the body used to hard physical exertion is less likely to face any hardship in doing any strenuous physical activity for an extended period of time. This adaptation process is natural and the more a person is used to hard physical exertion the better they cope with different types of demanding situations.” – Dr. Mohibullah Khan Marwat, Professor, Department of Sports Sciences and Physical Education, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, The University of Lahore
Assessing Body Fat Ratio with Your Waist-To-Hip Ratio
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) tests the fat proportion around your waist compared to your hips. Health experts note that people with an apple body shape show bad fitness, despite weight loss due to the excess fat surrounding the stomach. In addition, they often associate this body shape with heart disease and diabetes. The healthy waist-to-hip ratio for women is less than 0.8, while less than 0.9 for men.
True Fitness Isn’t Always in The Scales
Fitness journeys are about reaching the peak of your physical condition and should never rely on how many pounds you lose or how trimmed your body becomes. True physical fitness means having the ability to perform daily tasks by utilizing your body at its best. These methods show the best ways to test your fitness by assessing your performance with every exercise.
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