How fit are you? Self magazine offers a quick self-test and exercise challenge to help you find out. Here is an excerpt.
Let's face it: The scale can give you a number. But to tell whether your body can power you through a busy workday, a Spinning class and a night out dancing — not to mention a long, healthy life — you need to know your fitness level. So how best to measure it?
SELF went to top exercise experts to show you how you rate on the official charts, then we mixed in some lifestyle questions to give you the big picture. As you get fitter, retest yourself anytime to see how far you've come. If you do the SELF Challenge, we guarantee you'll not only ace this exam but do it in a bikini.
Do the five simple self-tests below, then click here to take the quiz:
Five simple self-tests
Push-ups: Lie facedown on floor, legs straight with toes curled under (no dropped knees, sorry) and arms bent so palms are flat on the floor directly beneath shoulders. Press up, keeping body in a straight line from head to ankle. Do as many in a row as you can — no time limit — and note the number.
Sit-ups: Keep your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Your shoulder blades should come up one third of the way to sitting upright. Do as many as you can in one minute or until you say uncle, whichever comes first! Write down the number.
Wall sit: Stand with your back against a wall, feet hip-width apart about 12 inches away from wall. With feet planted, slide down until knees form a 90-degree angle. (Pretend you're in a chair.) Hold as long as you can, and time yourself.
Sit-and-reach: Grab some masking tape and a yardstick. Place the yardstick on the floor, then take a foot-long piece of masking tape and stick it across the 15-inch mark to form a cross. Sit on the floor with legs extended in front of you on either side of the yardstick—the zero end facing you—so that bare heels touch the 15-inch tape mark. Keep feet slightly apart. Reach forward with both hands, bending at hips, and see the farthest mark your fingertips touch. Can you touch two inches past your heels? That means your reach is 17 inches. Measure your reach and make a note of the number.
1.5-mile dash: Map out a 1.5-mile loop — at the high school track, toward the nearest Starbucks — and lace up. Your mission: Cover the distance as fast as you can by walking, jogging, running or some combo, and time yourself.
Now, click here to take the quiz: http://www.self.com/magazine/polls/quiz_howfit/quiz_howfit
Excerpted from SELF Magazine, March 2007, "How Fit Are You?" By Allison Glock. Photographs by Jorg Badura.