Fitness basics (23)
- Tool: Target heart rate calculator
- Fitness training: Elements of a well-rounded routine
- Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity
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Stretching and flexibility (3)
- Stretching: Focus on flexibility
- How fit are you? See how you measure up
- Hamstring injury
Aerobic exercise (13)
- Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health
- Rev up your workout with interval training
- Walking: How to start a walking group
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Strength training (9)
- Fitness ball exercises: How-to video collection
- Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier
- Functional fitness training: Is it right for you?
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Sports nutrition (3)
- Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts
- Performance-enhancing drugs: Know the risks
- Water: How much should you drink every day?
How fit are you? See how you measure up
Assess your flexibility: Sit-and-reach test
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|Assessing flexibility in the legs, hips and lower back|
The sit-and-reach test is a simple way to measure in general fashion the flexibility of the backs of your legs, your hips and your lower back. Here's how:
- Place a yardstick on the floor. Secure it by placing a piece of tape across the yardstick at the 15-inch (38-centimeter) mark.
- Place the soles of your feet even with the mark on the yardstick.
- Ask a helper to place his or her hands on top of your knees to anchor them.
- Reach forward as far as you can, holding the position for two seconds.
- Note the distance you reached.
- Repeat the test two more times.
- Record the best of the three reaches.
Estimate your body composition: Waist circumference and body mass index
With a cloth measuring tape, measure your waist circumference just above the hipbones. Record your waist circumference in inches or centimeters in your notebook or journal.
Then determine your body mass index (BMI) — an indicator of your percentage of body fat — through a BMI table or online calculator. If you'd rather do the math yourself, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared and multiply by 703. Or divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. (To determine your height in meters, divide your height in centimeters by 100). Record your BMI with the rest of your scores in your notebook or journal.
Monitor your progress
Now that you know your fitness level, keep track of your progress. Take the same measurements six weeks after you begin your exercise program and periodically afterward. Each time you repeat your assessment, celebrate your progress — and adjust your fitness goals accordingly. Share your results with your doctor or personal trainer for additional guidance. Your results may even inspire you to sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA).Previous page
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- Your guide to physical activity and your heart. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/phy_active.pdf. Accessed Nov. 30, 2010.
- About BMI for adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_BMI/about_adult_BMI.htm. Accessed Nov. 30, 2010.
- Standard and modified push-up. President's Challenge Program. http://www.adultfitnesstest.org/testInstructions/muscularStrengthAndEndurance/pushups.aspx. Accessed Nov. 30, 2010.
- 1-mile walk. President's Challenge Program. http://www.adultfitnesstest.org/testInstructions/aerobicFitness/1MileWalk.aspx. Accessed Nov. 30, 2010.
- The sit-and-reach test. President's Challenge Program. http://www.adultfitnesstest.org/testInstructions/flexibility/sitandreach.aspx. Accessed Nov. 30, 2010.
- BMI and waist circumference. President's Challenge Program. http://www.adultfitnesstest.org/testInstructions/bodyComposition/bmiAndWaistCircumference.aspx. Accessed Nov. 29, 2010.
- Adult fitness test. President's Challenge Program. http://www.adultfitnesstest.org. Accessed Nov. 30, 2010.