Are You Fit Enough for Your Future?

Are you as fit as a 30-year-old? Find out your body’s age.

by Elena Rover

 

 

 

Dip Test (Illustration: Kagan McCleod)

Strength: Dip Test

Strong muscles not only make your life easier, they also boost your metabolism. "Those hungry muscle cells chew up calories at two to three times the rate of fat cells," Peeke says. Other benefits: Muscle-building workouts toughen your bones and tone your flab.

Dip Test

Sit on a sturdy chair (not one with wheels!) and slide your butt off, gripping the front edge of the chair with both hands to support yourself. Make sure your arms are straight, your butt is in front of the seat and your legs are straight in front of you. Then bend your elbows to 90 degrees and press back up; repeat as many times as you can. If you get to 15, you’re finished.

Your Score/Biological Age

Reps
Body Age

13 to 15
20s

10 to 12
30s

8 to 9
40s

5 to 7
50s

3 to 4
60+

Fitness Rx

What works: Classic strength-training moves, including the triceps dip test you just performed. (It firms the back of your arms and shoulders.) Build more power with weightlifting machines, dumbbells, and bodysculpting and/or boxing classes.

How often: Two 30- to 60-minute strength-training sessions a week.

 

Core: Bicycle Test

The muscles in your abdomen, back, and hips make up your core, which holds you upright and allows the upper and lower body to work together. To keep this important area functioning well, you need to do more than crunches, Peeke says. You must develop hip flexibility, tone the side and lower abdominals, and strengthen the lower back.

Bicycle Test

Lie on your back, knees over hips, feet dangling in the air. Place your hands behind your head (keep elbows open wide and don’t lace the fingers). Try to touch your right elbow to your left knee as you fully straighten your right leg to hover above the ground. Return to the center position without touching your shoulders to the floor. Switch sides, and repeat. Take at least two seconds to do each side. Each time you touch elbow to knee on both sides, counts as one rep. Keep count until you can’t do another set. If you get to 20, you’re finished.

Your Score/Biological Age

Reps
Body Age

17 to 20
20s

13 to 16
30s

10 to 12
40s

8 to 9
50s

5 to 7
60+

Fitness Rx

What works: The bicycle test, which works all your abdominal, side, and midsection muscles, as well as the hip muscles. Other core-building activities: Pilates, yoga, dance, martial arts, and core-focused classes at the gym.

How often: Three 30- to 60-minute sessions a week.

 

Flexibility: Reach Test

Flexible muscles and joints help you maneuver better in the world (for example, looking over your shoulder to back the car out of the driveway). What’s more, stiff joints and tight muscles can also set you up for injury: Reach beyond your range and you risk getting a sprain or strain.

Reach Test

Sit on the floor with your right leg straight in front, foot flexed. Place your left foot against your inner right thigh, left knee open to the side. See how far you can reach toward the toes of your right foot. Using a tape measure, quantify your success: If your hand can reach beyond the toes of your flexed foot, measure by how many inches. If your hand doesn’t reach your foot, measure the distance between the fingertips and foot as a negative (for instance, if your fingers are 2 inches short of reaching your toes, count that as -2). If you can reach the toes but no farther, give yourself 0. Repeat on the other side. You’ll end up with two scores, and one side will probably be more flexible than the other. That means you need to work on the tighter side more, with the goal of becoming equally supple on both sides. Reaching even a quarter inch farther is a worthwhile improvement.

Your Score/Biological Age

Inches
Body Age

3
20s

2
30s

1
40s

0
50s

-1 or less
60s

Fitness Rx

What works: The reach test targets every muscle on the back side of the body, from your foot to your neck. Round out your routine with stretches that work the muscles on your front and sides. Peeke also suggests yoga.

How often: Ideally, one 10- to 30-minute session a day.

 

Balance: One-Leg Balance Test

You need it every time you step from one foot to the other, so this is an essential if you want to be able to walk when you’re 80.

One-Leg Balance Test

Stand near a wall or chair so you can get support fast if you wobble. Balancing on your right leg, move your left foot onto your calf. Then start the timer and see how many seconds you can stay in that position with your eyes closed. Repeat on the second side. You’ll end up with two scores, and one side will likely be better than the other. Work harder to improve the weaker side so that you become more stable.

Your Score/Biological Age

Seconds
Body Age

16 to 20
20s

14 to 15
30s

12 to 13
40s

10 to 11
50s

8 to 9
60+

Fitness Rx

What works: Balancing on one foot while brushing your teeth is a good way to improve stability. After you master that move, try standing on a small firm pillow or a wobble board. You’ll also improve if you take up skating, yoga, hiking, or dancing.

How often: One 5- to 10-minute session at least twice a week.

 

Cardiovascular Endurance: Step Test

When your cardiovascular system is fit, blood carries oxygen to your muscles as you need it. That means you can run for a bus without feeling as if you’re going to die. Cardio fitness is associated with maintaining a healthy weight and heart.

Step Test

Using a timer, step up and down on a curb or a step for three minutes. Stop, then count your pulse for 15 seconds, placing two fingers (not your thumb) on the inside of your wrist. Multiply by 4 to find your beats per minute.

Your Score/Biological Age

Beats per Minute
Body Age

105 to 107
20s

108 to 110
30s

111 to 113
40s

114 to 116
50s

117+
60s

Fitness Rx

What works: Aerobics, cycling, running, and walking. No matter what you choose, step it up by doing interval training, in which you increase your intensity in one spurt (start with 15 seconds, then build up to one minute), then go easier for the same duration.

How often: Three 30- to 60-minute sessions a week.

Originally published in MORE magazine, April 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

First Published Thu, 2009-05-21 09:06

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http://www.more.com/health/fitness/are-you-fit-enough-your-future