Track your Fitness with 4 Simple Tools
Measuring performance and having goals are 2 keys to effective training.
Try these 4 easy self-assessment tools to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of your training program.
1) Strength: Strength is vital for function. A great upper body strength test is the push up. Place a 2 inch block under your chest. Record how many “good” push ups you can do. Make sure your back is flat and your body rigid.
2) Cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular fitness can be easily measured with a stop watch and heart monitor. Pick a running/walking distance, let’s say a mile. Record the time to complete the run and take your heart rate. Re-test looking for improvements in speed, max heart rate and recovery time.
3) Balance/Coordination: Balance is a function of strength, mobility, and eyesight. To test, try to stand on one leg with the opposite thigh parallel to the ground. Record how long you can balance on each leg without losing your balance. If this is easy try it with your eyes closed. Measure how long you can balance.
4) Flexibility: Stand holding a dowel rod over your head. With your feet parallel to each other shoulder width apart see if your can achieve a full squat while keeping your heels down. Make a note of how far your hips can go down relative to your knees. Ideally you should be able to drop your hips below your knees.
To have an effective fitness program you need a plan. Knowing your starting point is important. Take baseline measurements, have specific goals and track your progress.
Re-test every 4-6 weeks to see if you are improving. If you are not making progress you need to re-assess your workout program.