Once you've decided whether you should obtain medical clearance before making a change in your exercise program, the next step is to assess your current level of physical fitness. The tests presented here will enable you to make a relatively simple assessment of cardiorespiratory endurance (CRE), muscular endurance, and flexibility. The results from these tests can help show you what to focus on as you develop a fitness program.


Age:  yrs.

Sex: 

Part I. Cardiorespiratory Endurance

1.5-Mile Run-Walk Test

Don't attempt this test unless you have completed at least 6 weeks of some type of conditioning activity and, if indicated by Wellness Worksheet 70, have obtained medical clearance. You may want to practice pacing yourself prior to taking the test to avoid going too fast at the start and becoming fatigued before you finish. Allow yourself a day or two to recover from your practice run before taking the test. Before beginning this test, warm up with some walking, easy jogging, and stretching exercises.

  1. Ask someone with a stopwatch, clock, or watch with a second hand to time you.
  2. Take the test on a running track or course that is flat and provides measurements of up to 1.5 miles. Cover the distance as fast as possible, at a pace that is comfortable for you. You can run or walk the entire distance or use some combination of running and walking.
  3. Note the time it takes you to complete the 1.5-mile distance. Your time: : (minutes:seconds)
  4. Cool down by walking or jogging slowly for about 5 minutes.
  5. Determine the rating for your score by consulting the table below. If you are unable to complete the entire 1.5 miles, consider yourself very poor in CRE.

Standards for the 1.5-Mile Run-Walk Test (minutes: seconds)

Women Superior Excellent Good Fair Poor Very Poor
Age: 18-29 11: 00 or less 11: 15-12: 45 13: 00-14: 15 14: 30-15: 45 16: 00-17: 30 17: 45 or more
30-39 11: 45 or less 12: 00-13: 30 13: 45-15: 15 15: 30-16: 30 16: 45-18: 45 19: 00 or more
40-49 12: 45 or less 13: 00-14: 30 14: 45-16: 30 16: 45-18: 30 18: 45-20: 45 21: 00 or more
50-59 14: 15 or less 14: 30-16: 30 16: 45-18: 30 18: 45-20: 30 20: 45-23: 00 23: 15 or more
60 and over 14: 00 or less 14: 15-17: 15 17: 30-20: 15 20: 30-22: 45 23: 00-24: 45 25: 00 or more
Men            
Age: 18-29 9: 15 or less 9: 30-10: 30 10: 45-11: 45 12: 00-12: 45 13: 00-14: 00 14: 15 or more
30-39 9: 45 or less 10: 00-11: 00 11: 15-12: 15 12: 30-13: 30 13: 45-14: 45 15: 00 or more
40-49 10: 00 or less 10: 15-11: 45 12: 00-13: 00 13: 15-14: 15 14: 30-16: 00 16: 25 or more
50-59 10: 45 or less 11: 00-12: 45 13: 00-14: 15 14: 30-15: 45 16: 00-17: 45 18: 00 or more
60 and over 11: 15 or less 11: 30-13: 45 14: 00-15: 45 16: 00-17: 45 18: 00-20: 45 21: 00 or more
SOURCES: Formula for maximal oxygen consumption taken from McArdle, W. D., F. I. Katch, and V. L. Katch. 1991. Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, pp. 225-226. Ratings based on norms from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas, Texas, The Physical Fitness Specialist Manual, revised 1993. Used with permission.

12-Minute Wheelchair Performance Test

  1. Warm up before taking the test. Take the test on a track or course that is flat and provides exact distance measurements in miles.
  2. Travel at a steady pace, as fast as possible without undue fatigue, for the entire 12 minutes. Cool down after the test is over.
  3. Record the distance you traveled in miles, using a decimal figure. Distance traveled: miles

Ratings for the 12-Minute Wheelchair Performance Test

Distance (miles) Fitness Level
Below 0.63 Poor
0.63-0.86 Below average
0.87-1.35 Fair
1.36-1.59 Good
Above 1.59 Excellent

SOURCE: Franklin, B. A., et al. 1990. Field test estimation of maximal oxygen consumption in wheelchair users. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 71: 574-578. Copyright 1990 The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. Used with permission.



Part II. Muscular Strength and Endurance

The Curl-Up Test

Place 12-inch strips of tape or Velcro 3 inches apart on a mat or other testing surface. Try a few curl-ups to get used to the proper technique and warm up your muscles.

  1. Start by lying on your back on the floor or mat, arms straight and by your sides, shoulders relaxed, palms down and on the floor, and fingers straight. Adjust your position so that the longest fingertip of each hand touches the end of the near strip of Velcro or tape. Your knees should be bent about 90 degrees, with your feet about 1218 inches from your buttocks.
  2. To perform a curl-up, flex your spine while sliding your fingers across the floor until the fingertips of each hand reach the second strip of Velcro or tape. Then, return to the starting position; the shoulders must be returned to touch the mat between curl-ups, but the head need not touch. Shoulders must remain relaxed throughout the curl-up, and feet and buttocks must stay on the floor. Breathe easily, exhaling during the lift phase of the curl-up; do not hold your breath.
  3. When someone signals you to begin, perform as many curl-ups as you can at a steady pace with correct form. Continue until you drop your pace or are unable to maintain correct form.
    Number of curl-ups performed with correct form:

Ratings for the Curl-Up Test

Number of Curl-Ups
Men Very Poor Poor Average Good Excellent Superior

Age:
 
 
 
 
 
 
16-19 Below 48 48-57 58-64 65-74 75-93 Above 93
20-29 Below 46 46-54 55-63 64-74 75-93 Above 93
30-39 Below 40 40-47 48-55 56-64 65-81 Above 81
40-49 Below 38 38-45 46-53 54-62 63-79 Above 79
50-59 Below 36 36-43 44-51 52-60 61-77 Above 77
60-69 Below 33 33-40 41-48 49-57 58-74 Above 74

Women

Age:
 
 
 
 
 
 
16-19 Below 42 42-50 51-58 59-67 68-84 Above 84
20-29 Below 41 41-51 52-57 58-66 67-83 Above 83
30-39 Below 38 38-47 48-56 57-66 67-85 Above 85
40-49 Below 36 36-45 46-54 55-64 65-83 Above 83
50-59 Below 34 34-43 44-52 53-62 63-81 Above 81
60-69 Below 31 31-40 41-49 50-59 60-78 Above 78

SOURCE: Ratings based on norms calculated from data collected by Robert Lualhati on 4545 college students, 16-80 years of age, at Skyline College, San Bruno, California. Used with permission.


The Push-Up Test

In this test, you will perform either standard push-ups or modified push-ups, in which you support yourself with your knees. The Cooper Institute developed the ratings for this test with men performing push-ups and women performing modified push-ups.

  1. For push-ups: Start in the push-up position with your body supported by your hands and feet. For modified push-ups: Start in the modified push-up position with your body supported by your hands and knees. For both positions: Your arms and your back should be straight and your fingers pointed forward.
  2. Lower your chest to the floor with your back straight, then return to the starting position.
  3. Perform as many push-ups or modified push-ups as you can without stopping. Number of push-ups: or number of modified push-ups:

Ratings for the Push-Up and Modified Push-Up Tests

Number of Push-Ups
Men Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
Age: 18-29 Below 22 22-28 29-36 37-46 47-61 Above 61
30-39 Below 17 17-23 24-29 30-38 39-51 Above 51
40-49 Below 11 11-17 18-23 24-29 30-39 Above 39
50-59 Below 9 9-12 13-18 19-24 25-38 Above 38
60 and over Below 6 6-9 10-17 18-22 23-27 Above 27

Number of Modified Push-Ups
Women Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
Age: 18-29 Below 17 17-22 23-29 30-35 36-44 Above 44
30-39 Below 11 11-18 19-23 24-30 31-38 Above 38
40-49 Below 6 6-12 13-17 18-23 24-32 Above 32
50-59 Below 6 6-11 12-16 17-20 21-27 Above 27
60 and over Below 2 2-4 5-11 12-14 15-19 Above 19

SOURCE: Based on norms from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas, Texas, The Physical Fitness Specialist Manual, revised 1993. Used with permission.

Part III. Flexibility

Sit-and-Reach Test

For this test, use a modified Wells and Dillon flexometer or construct your own measuring device using a firm box or two pieces of wood 12 inches high attached at right angles to each other. Place the box or wood device against a wall and attach a metric ruler to measure the extent of reach. With the low numbers of the ruler toward the person being tested, set the 26-centimeter mark of the ruler at the footline of the box. (Individuals who cannot reach as far as the footline will have scores below 26 centimeters; those who can reach past their feet will have scores above 26 centimeters.)

  1. 1. Warm up your muscles with a low-intensity activity such as walking, and then perform slow stretching movements.
  2. 2. Remove your shoes and sit facing the flexibility measuring device with your knees fully extended and your feet flat against the device about 4 centimeters apart.
  3. 3. Reach as far forward as you can, with palms down, arms evenly stretched, and knees fully extended; hold the position of maximum reach for about 2 seconds.
  4. 4. Perform the stretch two times, recording the maximum reading to the nearest 0.5 centimeters: cm.

Ratings for Sit-and-Reach Test

Rating/Score (cm.)*
Men Needs Improvement Fair Good Very Good Excellent
Age: 15-19 Below 24 24-28 29-33 34-38 Above 38
20-29 Below 25 25-29 30-33 34-39 Above 39
30-39 Below 23 23-27 28-32 33-37 Above 37
40-49 Below 18 18-23 24-28 29-34 Above 34
50-59 Below 16 16-23 24-27 28-34 Above 34
60-69 Below 15 15-19 20-24 25-32 Above 32
Women          
Age: 15-19 Below 29 29-33 34-37 38-42 Above 42
20-29 Below 28 28-32 33-36 37-40 Above 40
30-39 Below 27 27-31 32-35 36-40 Above 40
40-49 Below 25 25-29 30-33 34-37 Above 37
50-59 Below 25 25-29 30-32 33-38 Above 38
60-69 Below 23 23-36 27-30 31-34 Above 34

*Footline is set at 26 cm.

SOURCE: Ratings from Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. 1998. The Canadian Physical Activity, Fitness and Lifestyle Appraisal: CSEP's Plan for Healthy Active Living, 2nd ed. Ottawa: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Adapted with permission from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.


A Summary of Your Fitness

Components and Tests Rating
Cardiorespiratory endurance
      1.5-mile run-walk test or
      12-minute wheelchair performance test
Muscular strength and endurance
      60-second sit-up test
      Push-up or modified push-up test

Flexibility
      Sit-and-reach test

Use the information in this summary chart to help choose activities for your fitness program.