Many of you guys out there walk around assuming you’re fairly healthy. You eat mostly nutritious food, and you get some exercise more days than not. That’s good enough, yes? Wouldn’t it be cool if there were some simple physical fitness tests you could perform—in the comfort of your own home—to confirm this? Read on.
Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network published an article relating a man’s future cardiovascular health to the number of push-ups he is able to do. The authors wanted to answer the question:
“Is there an office-based objective measurement that clinicians can use to assess the association between fitness and cardiovascular disease risk?”
In a 10-year study of 1104 adult male firefighters from Indiana, they discovered that men who were able to complete 40+ push-ups were 96% less likely to have a cardiovascular event (heart failure or cardiac arrest) than those who were able to do fewer than 10 push-ups. That is a significant difference, doncha think?
Admittedly, more studies with a wider variety of men would be incredibly useful in making this no-cost fitness test common during an annual doctor’s office visit—or just to gauge yourself periodically. But I find it quite exciting that such cost-effective, self-health tests are being considered.
It got me wondering if there were similar types of physical fitness tests men could do to keep tabs on their overall health. This Men’s Health article lists “3 Fitness Tests You Should Be Able to Pass.”
- Height-to-Weight Ratio: Ideally, when you measure your waist, it should be no more than half your height in inches. Anything more than that and you increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and inflammation issues. Keeping this ratio in check has been associated with increased life expectancy.
- Plank Test: If you’re able to hold a perfect plank for at least 2 minutes, you have a fairly strong core. Your core muscles are responsible for virtually every movement you make, so keeping them healthy and strong is crucial. If you aren’t able to make the 2-minute mark with your plank, some focused core training could be invaluable.
- Sit & Rise: Without using your hands or knees for support, try sitting down on the ground, and then stand back up. You can take your time completing this test, but do your best to avoid using your hands or knees. A study of 2,000 people between the ages of 51 and 80 showed an association between a longer life and passing this fitness test.
If your results make you fear the worst for yourself, it’s time to shift your thinking. Rather than looking at it with a doomsday mentality, consider it a wake-up call for some truly focused goal setting. Can’t do 40 push-ups or a 2-minute plank? With the “30 Day Push-up or Plank Challenge,” you’ll start slowly and work your way up to a respectable level of strength in just 30 days. You’ll even get a rest day here and there.
As a self-healther, I love finding easy things I can do to check-in with myself from time to time. By staying on top of how you fare with simple physical fitness tests like these, you can discover in which areas you should focus your time, to live your healthiest life.
Image from iStock/AndreyPopov.