Fitness has three main components: aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. Each is important to measure because they give an overall picture of the health of your body, and there are many ways to measure fitness testing without equipment. All that is needed for most activities is a tape measure, a stopwatch or kitchen timer, a pad of paper, and a pencil.
Pushups measure the strength of the upper body. Men can do the standard style pushups with only hands and feet on the ground. Women can have knees on the ground, which decreases the exertion on the arms. For this test, do as many pushups as you can correctly.
Fitness testing has different standards for men and women (and also based on age.) For a man between the age of 30-39, the goal for the minimum number of pushups to reach a good fitness level is 34. For women of the same age range, the level for good fitness is 30.
One-Minute Sit-Up Test
Sit-ups measure abdominal muscle strength and endurance, which is important for core stability and support of the back. Begin by lying on the floor with the knees bent at a right angle, feet flat on the ground, and hands resting on the thighs. Do not put your hands behind your head or neck and pull, or you risk damage to your neck. Sit up so that your hands touch the top of your knees and then lower. Do as many of these as possible for one minute.
For men between the ages of 36 to 45, the goal is to accomplish 35 sit-ups in one minute. Women should be able to do 27 sit-ups.
Sit and Reach Test
This test measures the flexibility of the hamstrings and the lower back. It is best to do this test after you are warmed up. Sit on a flat surface with the legs stretched out in front of you and the soles of your feet on a flat surface, such as a step or a low table. Place a ruler or tape measure between your legs on the flat surface. Place one hand on top of the other and reach forward slowly. At the point of your greatest reach, measure the number of inches you can reach beyond your feet.
For a good level of flexibility, men should be able to reach at least 2.5 inches beyond their feet and women 4.5 inches.
There are two ways to measure aerobic fitness: one is the step test and the second is the one-mile walk. For the step test, you will need stairs or a sturdy box that is 12-inches high. Step on and off the stair with both feet for three minutes maintaining the four beat cycle of “up, up, down, down” with your feet. At the end of the 3 minutes, check your pulse. The lower your heart rate, the more fit you are.
Men between the ages of 36 to 45 should try to lower heart rate to 83 beats per minute. Women should set a goal of reaching 90 bpm.
For the one mile walk test, ensure you can map out a flat route that you can walk continuously without stopping for a full mile. Walk at a brisk speed, but do not break into a jog. Keep track of the time that it takes you to walk the full mile. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear to prevent injury.
Women between 30 and 39 should be able to walk one mile in 14 to 15 minutes. Men should aim for 13 to 14 minutes.
Improving Your Scores
The best measure of fitness gains is the improvement achieved over time. Use these tests every three months and track your improvements in each area. The results can help you plan your workouts to improve in each area of fitness.