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.
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.
Standards for the 1.5-Mile Run-Walk Test (minutes: seconds)
12-Minute Wheelchair Performance Test
Ratings for the 12-Minute Wheelchair Performance Test
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.
Ratings for the Curl-Up Test
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.
Ratings for the Push-Up and Modified Push-Up Tests
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
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.)
Ratings for Sit-and-Reach Test
*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
Use the information in this summary chart to help choose activities for your fitness program.