Self-care starts with staying healthy. Find ways to stay healthy this winter with our self-care guide to cold and flu.
×
Health

How fit are you?

12 November 2019 in Health

You don’t need to have the stamina and strength of an athlete to be in good shape. If you lead an active life, you may be fitter than you think.

Being fit isn’t just about how fast you can run or how many flights of stairs you can climb without getting out of breath - factors like flexibility and muscle strength also play a role.

So do you know how fit you really are? Take this 9-question quiz to find out.

Quiz: How fit are you?

Question: Do you do 150 minutes or more of moderate aerobic activity each week?

Moderate aerobic activities include fast walking and cycling. These activities raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster. You can still talk, but you can't sing the words to a song while doing them.

Answer: Physical activity guidelines recommend that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. If you struggle to fit long exercise sessions into your week, you can hit this 150-minute goal by doing 30 minutes of exercise on 5 days every week.


Question: Do you do 75 minutes or more of intense aerobic activity each week?

Intense aerobic activity can include fast swimming, running or football.

Answer: Physical activity guidelines recommend that adults do 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity each week. You don’t have to do this in addition to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, simply choose which you prefer. The general rule is that 1 minute of intense activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.


Question: Do you do strength-building exercises on at least 2 days a week?

Answer: Strength-building exercises are an important part of an effective fitness routine because good muscle strength is needed:

  • for daily movement
  • to build and maintain strong bones
  • to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure
  • to help maintain a healthy weight

Muscle-strengthening exercises include:

  • lifting weights
  • squats, lunges and push-ups
  • working with resistance bands
  • heavy gardening (digging and shovelling)
  • yoga or pilates

Question: Take your pulse for 60 seconds while you are at rest. Is it between 60 and 100 beats per minute?

Answer: Your heart rate at rest is a measure of heart health and fitness. Taking your pulse is a good way to check your heart rate. A healthy heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute.


Question: Go for a fast-paced 10-minute walk. At the end of 10 minutes, take your pulse for a minute. Is it between 98 and 146 beats per minute?

Answer: Just as your heart rate at rest is a measure of how fit and healthy you are, your heart rate after exercise can indicate how fit you are. A healthy adult should have a heart rate of 98 to 146 beats per minute after exercising.


Question: How many push-ups can you do without stopping to rest?

If you're new to exercising, you can modify the push-ups by keeping your knees on the ground. If you're generally fit, do classic push-ups.

Answer: Push-ups are a good measure of your muscle strength and endurance. Women with a good level of fitness should be able to do:

  • 20 push-ups when they are 25 years old
  • 19 push-ups when they are 35 years old
  • 14 push-ups when they are 45 years old
  • 10 push-ups when they are 55 years old or older

Men with a good level of fitness should be able to do:

  • 28 push-ups when they are 25 years old
  • 21 push-ups when they are 35 years old
  • 16 push-ups when they are 45 years old
  • 12 push-ups when they are 55 years old or older

If your push-ups count is lower than the target number for your age, that’s a sign you need to work on your muscle strength. If your push-ups count is at or above the target, your fitness level is likely to be good.


Question: How many sit-ups can you do in 60 seconds?

Answer: Seeing how many sit-ups you can do in 60 seconds tests the strength and endurance of your abdominal muscles.

Women with a good level of fitness should be able to do:

  • 39 sit-ups when they are 25 years old
  • 30 sit-ups when they are 35 years old
  • 25 sit-ups when they are 45 years old
  • 21 sit-ups when they are 55 years old

Men with a good level of fitness should be able to do:

  • 44 sit-ups when they are 25 years old
  • 40 sit-ups when they are 35 years old
  • 35 sit-ups when they are 45 years old
  • 30 sit-ups when they are 55 years old

Question: Sit on the floor with your legs straight and reach forward to touch your toes. How far can you reach?

Answer: This sit-and-reach test measures the flexibility of the back of your legs, hips and lower back. Flexibility is an important measure of fitness.

Women with a good level of fitness should be able to reach as far as:

  • 21.5 inches (55cm) at 25 years old
  • 20.5 inches (52cm) at 35 years old
  • 20 inches (51cm) at 45 years old
  • 19 inches (48cm) at 55 years old

Men with a good level of fitness should be able to reach as far as:

  • 19.5 inches (50cm) at 25 years old
  • 18.5 inches (47cm) at 35 years old
  • 17.5 inches (44cm) at 45 years old
  • 16.5 inches (42cm) at 55 years old

Question: Stand with your feet apart and hands on your hips. Lift one leg off the floor and bend it at the knee. How long can you hold this position for?

Answer: If you can hold this position for at least 30 seconds, you have good balance. Balance is an important measure of fitness.

Are you as fit as you think?

If you hit the recommended target for each question, well done. You have a good level of fitness. Maintain this by continuing with a regular fitness programme that includes aerobic, balance, flexibility and strength-training exercises.

If you fell short of the recommended target for any of the questions above, don’t worry. This article is the first in a series that will show you how to improve or maintain fitness by working physical activity into your life.

There are many ways to build exercise into your daily routine. Remember that small, unplanned bursts of activity throughout the day count towards increasing your overall fitness levels.

Top

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.