Start your regime with fitness testing
When you finally decide to exercise, few of you will take the time to measure, weigh, or test your body for strength and flexibility before you start renovation. It’s not easy to face the truth, but you need something to compare to when you finish the reconstruction.
Here are a few simple tests to determine your present – maybe decrepit – condition, and how to correct it. I’m not saying these tests are accurate or that they are going to work for you. But you never know – there might be a giggle in here somewhere.
• Test your fat. Take a pinch of the stuff around your waist and under the upper arm (the part that hangs down where your triceps should be). If you can pinch more than 1 inch when you tighten the muscle, you have more fat than you need. Every one-fourth inch over the 1 inch represents 10 pounds of excess fat.
Next, consider whether your body is changing. Did your chest slip and your waist become the biggest part of you? Parts of the body seem to soak up fat faster than others. Test yourself in the water. Do you float without any air in your lungs? Float on your back and let the air out of your lungs. Time how long it takes before you sink. After exercising for three months and trading your fat for muscle, try again and see if you have cut down on your float time.
• Lungs: It isn’t easy to test lung capacity without technical testing equipment. However, you can test your lung expansion and ability to hold your breath. Measure your chest at exhale and inhale positions, and see how long you can hold your breath. Forty-five seconds on the hold is good, and a chest expansion of 2-3 inches is great.
• Flexibility: This is an area in which women excel. Flexibility can help prevent and relieve stiffness. It helps prevent injury from sudden, unexpected movements. So how supple are you?
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and place your heels apart against a ruler. Slowly bend from the waist and reach between your heels. Place a marker on the floor where you touched and measure the distance between the ruler and your mark. If your mark is beyond the heels – 2 3/4 inches for a female or 2 inches for a male – you fall in the excellent range. Anything below the heels is considered in the fair to poor range. Over the age of 45, deduct 1/4 inch.
• Strength testing: Hook your toes under the couch, sit on a soft cushion, bend your knees, and place your hands behind your head. Count your sit-ups. An excellent mark for ages 30 to 40 is 35 sit-ups for men and 27 for women. The number goes up and down five points for every 10-year span.
Well, how did you do? Even if you consider yourself fit, try the testing and see just how fit you really are.
— Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.