February Fit Tip #1: Measure Your Fitness

A lot of us think of fitness as synonymous to cardiovascular fitness. If we’re not running or cycling or going strong on the elliptical, then we’re not really working out. If we’re not drenched in sweat by the end of an exercise program, we’re not really going to reap any long-term benefit.  After all – no pain, no gain. Right? There’s more to being fit than meets the eye and drips off the body in the form of sweat. There are five components of fitness used by health clubs and schools as testing measures. These include cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Your program should incorporate each of these elements of fitness. And if you fall below established guidelines for your age in one or more of these categories, then pay close attention to the component(s) of fitness that need a little TLC. With data points to understand your current fitness level, you can create a better and more precise plan for getting yourself in shape. You’ll also have a baseline to help gauge all the improvement you’re about to make. MOVE  #1: If you belong to a health club or YMCA, work with a fitness professional to measure each of these elements of fitness. A personal trainer is another wonderful resource, if the funds allow. If you can’t afford either of these, then carry out some tests at home.  SparkPeople has a series of four fitness tests that are simple to do without any pricey equipment needed. Then create a fitness program tailored to your needs. If you can’t figure it out alone, be sure to ask for help.

Melinda Hinson