If not for a comment I had to moderate today, I’d probably not have decided to hang around for a bit and post.
So about two weeks ago I admitted I was lazy. As of today it’s still true and I think we can add “avid procrastinator” to the list also. Last week I spent some time reading the fitness posts over at Mark’s Daily Apple . . .
- What Does It Mean to be Fit
- Could You Save Your Own Life
- Modern Fitness Standards: How Do yOu Measure Up?
- Primal Blueprint Fitness Standards
And then I spent some time contemplating various fitness standards, some mentioned in the Modern Fitness Standards post above, and some other measures I’ve utilized in the past. They are:
- The 5 Fitness Benchmarks
- The Presidential Physical Fitness Test
- Heart Rate (specifically Recovery Heart Rate)
5 Fitness Benchmarks
The 5 Fitness Benchmarks were covered in the MDA post so I won’t dwell on it for long, but I do really like that it comes from a standpoint of things you NEED to be able to do in order to save your life. The Benchmarks are:
- Swim half a mile or more
- Run at top speed for two hundred yards or more
- Jump over obstacles waist high
- Pull body upward by the arms until chin touches hands – at least 15-20 times
- Dip between parallel bars at least 25 times or more
Presidential Physical Fitness Test
Ahh, the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. Something I love to hate for all the mortification it put me through in school. Yeah, let’s try to do pull-ups when I’m overweight and have a whole class of girls and boys watching. At least I can take pride in being one of the more flexible students in any of my classes. I remember my gym teacher being repeatedly shocked when I blew away all the skinny girls scores. Suck that toothpicks.
Anyway, the PPFT is probably a nice test for the average joe and a nice place to start if you want to venture into getting more fit. It includes:
- Sit-ups (referred to as “curl-ups”) or partial sit-ups (WTF is that? A crunch maybe?)
- Shuttle run
- V-sit Reach or Sit & Reach
- One mile Run
- Pull-ups or Right angle push-ups (again, WTF?)
Here’s a handy little chart highlighting the number/time you have to pull off to be in the 85th percentile for the test. I think this might be a challenge I come back to and try to overcome. It would be nice to succeed at it at least once in my life. 🙂
One bit of fitness I didn’t want to leave off was a measure of cardiovascular fitness which has generally been measured through your heart rate. You can track your heart rate (beats per minute [bpm]) at all different times of activity… at rest, during activity, and after activity. Things to watch/track include:
- Resting heart rate (above 80 encroaching on problems)
- Target Heart Rate (220-your age = Maximum Heart Rate in bpm – aim anywhere for 70-85% of the max heart rate for vigorous exercise)
- Recovery Heart Rate (how quickly your heartbeat drops one minute after cessation of exercise – the faster the better)
To measure your heart rate, find a pulse point and count the number of beats within a 15 second time period. Multiple by 4 to get your beats per minute. Take at rest, after your cardio event, and a minute after your cardio event.
Now personally I’m not sure how much stock to put into heart rate but after reading the WebMD article, I’m going say it can’t hurt to track it and aim for a better recovery period.
So I’ve got plenty of ways to measure my fitness. Now to start improving my fitness.