Fitness Level

Fitness Level man

What is fitness level? Your fitness level means your body’s ability to withstand a physical workload (how much) and to recover in a timely manner. There have been numerous studies (mostly for men) about fitness in relation to health over the years showing positive effects of exercise on health. A new one in 2005 included nearly 6,000 Chicago-area women who underwent exercise stress tests as part of the St. James Women Take Heart Project. Rush University researcher Martha Gulati, MD, led the team that analyzed the data. The researchers designed a simple chart that lets you see how your personal fitness level matches up with the fitness of other people your age. To use the chart, you have to know how much exercise you're able to do. This can be learned in a gym, using a treadmill or the Fitness Test from Health Reviser, which is a computer test that uses your own physiological data to analyze your fitness level. Dr. Gulati noted that ‘having a good fitness level for one's age predicts better survival. If you are below the fitness level for your age, you are more likely to die.’ Gulati found that women double their risk of death if they can’t exercise at 85% of the level normal for their age. (Gulati's study appears in the Aug. 4, 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.)

Why is it important to know your fitness level?


The most important reason is for your health.

Sportsmen/women and professional athletes would benefit greatly from knowing their current fitness level. They are pretty much in training all the time and it would help them get the most efficient use of their exercise sessions (i.e. the need to exercise with more or less intensity on any given day, or take a day of rest to prevent strain or injury). Also, knowing their fitness level would help them plan their exercise strategy with the goal of a championship meet, match, run, etc. The same benefits would apply to a regular person planning their daily/weekly exercise routine. Avoiding overtraining, undertraining and injuries is important to everyone.

What methods are used to determine fitness level?


Fitness Level woman
  • Fitness charts like the one mentioned earlier in this article developed by the researchers of the St. James Women Take Heart Project. It lets you see how your personal fitness level matches up with the fitness of other people your age.
  • A home step test (loosely based on the Canadian Home Fitness Test) is another simple test that allows you to gauge fitness level. This test is designed to measure your cardiovascular endurance. Using a 12 inch high bench (or a similar sized stair in your house), step on and off for 3 minutes. Step up with one foot and then the other. Step down with one foot followed by the other foot. Try to maintain a steady four beat cycle. It's easy to maintain if you say "up, up, down, down". Go at a steady and consistent pace. At the end of 3 minutes, remain standing while you immediately check your heart rate by taking your pulse for one minute.
    When you find a pulse, count the number of beats you feel within a one minute period. You should always use your fingers to take a pulse, not your thumb, particularly when recording someone else's pulse, as you can sometimes feel your own pulse through your thumb.
  • Fitness level check with a doctor. You can have your fitness level checked by your doctor at your next visit.

The best test and by far the most accurate is Health Reviser's Fitness Test.

Fitness Test. You simply plug in the USB pulse wave sensor to your computer, attach the ear-clip to your earlobe or a finger, sit down, relax and follow the simple instructions on your screen. Your physiological data is monitored in just 3 minutes. During the test you are prompted to stand up, which is needed to collect information on your body’s reaction to a physical action. Fitness Test Tool has a very sensitive device that monitors your body’s physiological response and the recovery time. Health Reviser then compares your results with thousands of people in order to give you a detailed report about your fitness level. The tool also records your data and allows you to track your progress day by day, week by week. The information you get can help you plan your fitness strategy according to your overall state of wellness on any given day, which helps prevent overtraining, undertraining and injuries. Fitness Test from Health Reviser is the fastest and most reliable fitness level calculation tool in the healthcare market today.

In conclusion:

An individual’s fitness level is much more important than most people realize. Pamela S. Douglas, MD, a Duke University researcher, says, "We doctors usually look at electrocardiograms [EKGs] and other tests to see heart trouble -- but it turns out how long you can exercise is almost as important. If you are well, how long you can exercise is more important than any other variable in determining how long you live." Douglas warns that many people who think of themselves as active are getting much less exercise than they need. That's why she says pedometers are a great idea. The devices measure how many steps you really take in a day.

One final note: According to the research done by Kramer et al. (1999), Chodozko-Zaijko (1991), Van Boxtel et al. (1997) and Etnier et al. (1997), physical fitness has a positive impact on cognitive performance. So not only does your physical health benefit from exercise, your brain does also.

References

  1. Chodozko-Zajko, Wojtek J. (1991). Physical fitness, cognitive performance, and aging. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 23(7),868-872.
  2. Etnier, Jennifer L., Salazar, Walter, Landers, Daniel M., Petruzzello, Steven J., Han, Myungwoo, & Nowell, Priscilla. (1997). The influence of physical fitness and exercise upon cognitive functioning: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 19(3), 249-277.
  3. Kramer, Arthur F., Hahn, Sowon, Cohen, Neal J., Banich, Marie T., McAuley, Edward, Harrison, Catherine R., Chason, Julie, Vakil, Eli, Bardell, Lynn, Boileau, Richard A., & Colcombe, Angela. (1999). Ageing, fitness and neurocognitive function. Nature, 400(6743), 418-419.
  4. Van Boxtel, Martin P. J., Paas, Fred G. W. C., Houx, Peter J., Adam, Jos J., Teeken, Joep C., & Jolles, Jellemer. (1997). Aerobic capacity and cognitive performance in a cross-sectional aging study. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 29(10), 1357-1365.

Measure Your Fitness Level with Fitness Test

Fitness Test

With Fitness Test software, you can check your fitness level in just three minutes. All you need to do is to install the fitness software and then take the ear clip, plug it into your computer, and then attach it to your ear. In just a few minutes, you will get a detailed assessment of your fitness and whether you are on the right track. Honest and comprehensive, the Fitness Test allows you to increase your fitness and reach the goals you have set for yourself.

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Fitness Test benefits:

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Whether you're a beginner or a well trained athlete, lifting weights may or may not be what move you up to the next fitness level.
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