Assessing Your Fitness Level For Safe Exercise

What does it mean to take stock of your fitness level, and why is that a good idea? Assessing your fitness level involves evaluating your current fitness level to find out how your body reacts to a particular physical workload and how long it takes to recover.

Think about how you see one person your age easily run a few miles every day, while others aren’t even able to walk a few minutes. Generally speaking, the difference between the two individuals would be the difference in their fitness levels.

Assessing your Fitness Level for Safe Exercise

If your goal is to improve your fitness level, prevent weight gain, enjoy better health, or just lower your cholesterol levels, regular exercise is where it all begins.

However, if your body isn’t up to the stress of exercise and you don’t know it, you could cause yourself even more problems.

We have all heard about or known someone who had a heart attack while taking out the garbage or shoveling snow, right?

Part of that comes from simply not realizing how low their fitness level is or how far out of shape we’ve become.

It’s easy to spend years on the sofa and still have the idea that you have the body of an eighteen-year-old.

Chances are, you don’t.

Why Assessing Your Fitness is Crucial

Even if you don’t have anything so serious as a sudden heart attack while running for exercise, there’s another problem.

Starting from the sofa as if your muscles are in great shape when they aren’t can put you out of commission for weeks while you recover from muscle pain and soreness.

A huge percentage of people never exercise at all.

Most of that group relies on the idea that they are fit and healthy without exercising on purpose. The rest of them simply despise the thought of physical activity and avoid it regardless of their fitness level.

That’s why it’s crucial to determine how fit you are before starting a new exercise program to avoid potentially harmful effects.

Find Your Fitness Level

If you are aware that you need to make some lifestyle changes that include adding low impact exercise and are wondering if it’s safe to get started, read on.

The first logical step to starting any exercise program is assessing your fitness level. And you can make that assessment without any special machines or equipment.

5 Components of Fitness

Determining your level of fitness involves testing your body in each fitness component at different levels of intensity.

A way to understand and measure the intensity of aerobic activity is by understanding intensity and how physical activity affects heart rate and breathing.


You must first test your body in each fitness component before determining your fitness level.

There are five components to take into consideration when evaluating your fitness level. These components are:

1. Cardiovascular (aerobic) Endurance

The term “cardiovascular endurance” describes how well your heart, lungs, and blood vessels transport oxygen to your body’s tissues and muscles under stress. It also has to do with how well these muscles and tissues are able to use the oxygen they are given.

2. Muscle strength (hypertrophy)

Muscle strength measures the amount of force generated by performing an action.

3. Muscle Endurance

Muscle endurance refers to the muscle’s ability to perform repeated actions without becoming fatigued.

4. Flexibility

Flexibility measures each individualjoint’ss ability to perform full range of motions.

5. Body Composition

Body composition refers to the make-up of your physical body. This includes height, weight, bone structure, and water, muscle, and fat percentages.

Ways to Test Each of the 5 Fitness Components

Cardiovascular Endurance

There are several ways to test cardiovascular endurance. These include the Vo2 Max, Mile Run/Walk, PACER, and standardized table measurements.

If you have access to trained personnel and the right equipment, the Vo2 Max is the best test. Most people, however, opt to do the mile run/walk test.

Time yourself running a mile and see where you fall in relation to other people your age and gender.

Muscle strength

Muscle strength can be tested in a few different ways. When performing these tests, each muscle is tested separately.

A maximal strength test (also known as the “one rep method” or “1RM”) is used to determine the maximum amount of force a muscle can generate with a single action. Some prefer a 10-repetition test (10RM).

This test measures whether or not a given muscle can repeat a specific action 10 times. Muscles on both sides of the body can be compared to assess muscular balance.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance, like muscle strength, can be assessed using the 1RM and 10RM.

In addition to these tests, muscular endurance can also be assessed using the Batter Test Method, the Absolute Muscle Endurance Test, and calisthenic exercises.

Calisthenic exercises are the most commonly used as they evaluate both physical endurance and body mass. The most common calisthenic exercises tested are push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.

The test involves counting the number of completed actions in a set amount of time and comparing the result to a statistic table for your age and sex.


There are two main categories of flexibility tests. These are the indirect method and the direct method.

Using linear measurements from one segment to another or from an external object constitutes the indirect method.

The direct method is generally conducted with the use of a goniometer or flexometer.

These tests measure angular displacements between adjacent segments or from an external reference point. The most commonly used flexibility test is the sit-and-reach test (an indirect method).

Exercises To Improve Your Fitness Level

  • Cardiovascular Endurance- Walking, jogging, swimming laps, cycling, and aerobics
  • Muscle strength– Weight training, power lifting, compound exercises, body-weight exercises.
  • Muscle Endurance- Cardiovascular exercises, any weight training exercises, and interval weight training.
  • Flexibility– Strength training, yoga, and pilates.
  • Body Composition- Any exercise.

The best way to figure out your fitness level is to look at how you stack up against the norms for your age and rank in any given activity.

Don’t overlook the fact that a health professional should be consulted before you begin any weight loss program or fitness regimen.

Checking in on your physical condition before starting any exercise regime just makes sense.


Assessing your fitness level is the first step to determining how fit you are.

Evaluating your fitness involves testing your body for each fitness component. The Vo2 Max, Mile Run/Walk, PACER, and standardized table measurements are some of the best ways to measure fitness.

Calisthenic exercises are the most commonly used as they evaluate both physical endurance and body mass.

There are several other ways to assess your physical fitness, including with push-ups and pull-ups. A Dexa scan is the most accurate for assessing body composition.

By assessing each fitness component, you can determine your level of fitness. Don’t overlook the fact that a health professional should be consulted before you begin any weight loss program or fitness regimen.

Assessing your fitness level before starting any exercise regime just makes sense.

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