It’s easy and tempting to focus on the number on the scale and say you want to get to some magical weight – the weight you will be where all your dreams come true, when all your clothes fit like they ought to, when crowds part as people admire you, where you can eat anything you want to without a care in the world. (Sorry, I don’t think that place exists)
I have a goal weight and you probably do too. I do cardio and run and bike and strength train all in an attempt to get to that goal weight because I think my fitness level will be so much better then – it’s easier to run/bike uphill if I’m not dragging excess body weight along with me and I hope to achieve good muscular strength on the journey to that goal weight, muscles that will help me to do all the things I want to, and do them more efficiently.
There is a popular misconception that you just have to get skinny and some people try to achieve that goal by dieting only – so they eat less and exercise never. Mistake! Sure you will drop pounds if you eat less than your body needs. But being skinny isn’t the focus. The focus has to be on getting to your body’s healthiest level.
Sure, its entirely possible to get to a goal weight without being able to do the things you really want to do with your body, but that’s not fitness. Physical fitness is the ability to use your body to accomplish specific tasks.
Here are 7 ways to measure your physical fitness that have nothing to do with your weight.
- A popular test for Balance is for you to stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 30 seconds. Can you do it?
- The Mile Run tests your ability to run continuously for a mile, without stopping, and hopefully without feeling like you’re going to pass out. If you were in danger and needed to run away from someone chasing you, or if you needed to run to help someone else who was in danger, could you?
- How hard is it for you to Transition Between Activities? After you’ve completed an activity, can you move on to something else without having to sit down and take a rest?
- Flexibility is the ability to move your joints through their normal range of motion. Yoga poses test our ability to move limbs and stretch muscles.
- Rise Unsupported – If you were sitting or lying on ground, could you get up and into a standing position without using your hands for support? The chair test is used for seniors but the floor test is great modification for everyone else.
- The Pull Up is the ultimate test of muscular strength. It involves holding on to a bar to support your body weight just by upper strength. Imagine hanging off a ledge, gripping the edge of the ledge with your fingers and not being able to pull yourself to safety. The pull up is actually harder the more you weigh but if you weigh a lot and have strong chest and arm muscles, it won’t matter as much.
- Coordination tests your ability to move different muscle groups at the same time to synchronize movements. Swimming is an excellent test for coordination, especially since foot motion and strokes are at different speeds. Jumping rope is a also a coordinated activity, Click to watch a https://www.youtube.com/embed/iZamtJlKKt4” target=”_blank”>you-tube video of double-unders, where you skip the rope twice for every time you jump.
It’s not just about how much your body weighs. What matters more is how much you can do with your body, and your overall health.
Each week, I usually post specific goals but this week, I am focusing on getting closer to some of these benchmarks of physical fitness. My specific fitness goal this week is to complete a set of double-unders.
Did I miss anything? What is one activity that you consider to be the benchmark of healthy body?