Are You Really in Good Shape? 15 Ways You Can Tell
Ever run (or walk, let’s be honest) up a flight of stairs and are so winded by the time you reach the top you reminisce on everything you’ve done to make you endure this kind of shame? You think, “Man, I am so out of shape.” Well, you’re probably right. Even if you work out consistently or pride yourself on eating healthy, there most likely is still room for improvement.
If you’re curious about how strong and fast you really are, we have some ideas as to how you can put yourself to the test. Here are 15 ways to tell if you’re really in shape.
1. You get two hours of moderate to vigorous exercise per week
Well, yes, technically you are in shape. Switch up your workouts, challenge yourself, and set a limit of two hours of exercise or more per week. According to Mayo Clinic, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, which can include briskly walking or even mowing the lawn. For vigorous activity like running or higher-intensity aerobics, the recommendation is 75 minutes. Make sure to hit these guidelines at minimum, but for peak fitness, push for more vigorous activity when possible (just always remember to take rest days, too).
If you don’t exercise this much, not to worry — incorporating beneficial interval training is a perfect place to begin a fitness regimen.
2. You can touch your toes easily
This usually comes with a great workout regimen and can also increase coordination. If you want to test yourself to see if you are physically fit, try touching your toes or stretching your arms across your body; if your muscles tighten or pull, it may be time to hit up your local yoga studio.
If you’re looking to increase your flexibility at home, Nerd Fitness recommends adding stretching into your gym routine. Try holding a hamstring stretch for 30 seconds three times a week, and you should start to see results within the month.
3. You can hold a plank for 60 seconds or more
This is a sign of strong abs and lower back. The plank is touted as one of the best full-body exercises you can ever do. If you can hold a plank for about a minute or longer, you are in pretty good shape. Want to know if you’re in really good shape? Go for two, or try any of these plank variations for even more of a challenge.
4. You can finish a two-mile run
Doesn’t this sound enticing? The two-mile run is a fitness test used by the U.S. military to test fitness. Jason Fitzgerald, founder of strengthrunning.com, told Health, “It’s long enough to challenge your endurance, but short enough to allow you to really push yourself.”
If you’re struggling to run two miles, not to worry — Verywell has a beginner’s running program that can help you work up to two miles. And, don’t forget the importance of cross-training — biking, swimming, and other aerobic activities can help shave your time and prevent injuries.
5. You sleep like a baby
Believe it or not, increased sleep is a sign if you are in shape or not. According to Psychology Today, exercise can strengthen your circadian rhythm and help those who struggle with insomnia. If your quality of sleep is suffering and you’re not regularly active, try incorporating some moderate activity, like a brisk walk, into your daily routine.
6. You can do 20 lunges
Great for your core, legs, and butt, lunges utilize a lot of different muscles. This is why they’re so tough. If you can do 20 lunges without falling over or wobbling too much, chances are you’re in fantastic shape.
Need an even bigger challenge? Check out these lunge variations that will really test your balance and lower body strength. You can add a dumbbell in each hand for extra added resistance, too.
7. You have a healthy BMI
Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Many people who undergo fitness training have their BMI measured before and after their training to see their level of improvement. WebMD outlines the following BMI guidelines so you can see where you fall.
Underweight: less than 18.5
Healthy: 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight: 25 to 29.9
Calculating your BMI online is a good start, but keep in mind it has limitations. By simply entering your age, height, and weight, you won’t be distinguishing between fat and muscle. If you’re serious about fitness, a trainer at your local gym or a doctor will be able to more accurately calculate your body fat percentage using special scales or other methods.
8. You can do 27 push-ups
Push-ups are everyone’s worst enemy, but they signal how in shape you are. This tried-and-true exercise utilizes your own body weight to push yourself and is the ultimate sign of fitness. If your traditional push-ups are flawless, try push-up jacks for additional cardio or diamond push-ups for more work on your triceps.
9. You have a low resting heart rate
While you should aim to get your heart pumping during exercise, a low heart rate at rest is a good indicator you’re in killer shape. According to Berkeley Wellness, your resting heart rate tells you the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re sitting still. A normal range is between 50 and 100, though most people’s resting rates lie between 60 and 80 beats per minute. While an unusually low heart rate in an inactive person can indicate a heart condition, most athletes have very low resting heart rates.
You can also measure your level of fitness by how long it takes your heart rate to drop down to normal when you’ve finished exercising. The fitter you are, the faster you recover.
10. You can easily walk up five flights of stairs
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but unless you’ve tried walking or running up five flights of stairs recently, you may have forgotten how taxing the task can really be. Harvard Health Publications explains thoracic surgeons used to ask patients to climb five flights of stairs without stopping or using the railing for balance to see if they were fit enough to have lung surgery. While we have more modern ways of determining a patient’s health now, this stair method is still a good test of your cardiovascular endurance.
Don’t have five flights of stairs to climb? Grab a stair-stepper and a stopwatch, then see how many times you can step up and down in a minute. Check your heart rate — is it above your target rate, or could you keep going?
11. You can rise from sitting on the ground with no assistance
This is a test you can try anywhere at any time, and you can certainly learn a lot about your physical fitness by trying it. All you have to do is sit down on the floor (not on your knees), then stand up without using your arms, knees, or other parts of your body for assistance. Dr. Mercola’s site explains this test demonstrates your muscular strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. If you have trouble getting up with no help, you’ll want to focus on building your strength and practicing coordination skills like balancing on one foot or planking while lifting a leg or arm.
12. You can hold a wall sit for over a minute
You can also try this test in the comfort of your own home — but don’t think it’s easy to perform. To get into a wall-sit position, stand with your back against a wall and squat down. Your back should be straight and your thighs should be parallel to the floor with knees at a 90-degree angle. Topend Sports says men who can hold a wall sit for over 100 seconds and women who can hold it for 60 seconds are in excellent shape.
This exercise tests your strength endurance in your lower body, particularly in your quads. If you’re having trouble holding the position, try weighted squats and lunges to build more muscle.
13. You can jump at least 8 feet
Here’s a true test of your physical fitness from Men’s Health: See how far you can jump without a running start. Start with your toes on a line, feet shoulder-width apart. Then, bend your knees as you swing your arms backward for momentum, then swing them forward and jump as far as you can. Mark where you landed from the back of your heels and measure the distance. The average person can jump about 6 feet, but those in excellent condition can jump 8 feet.
This test measures your power, which is really just a combination of your level of strength and speed. If you want to improve your results for this test, try incorporating weighted hip thrusts, squats, and kettlebell swings for more explosive movements.
14. You can run 200 meters in less than 30 seconds
Just about anyone can run 200 meters easily, but this is a test of speed. According to Life by Daily Burn, you can test your power and speed by sprinting 200 meters and seeing how long it takes. Olympic champion Usain Bolt can run 200 meters in less than 20 seconds, so we’re betting you’re not that fast. If you can run the distance in less than 30 seconds, however, you should be impressed with yourself.
Need to increase your speed? Try doing treadmill sprint intervals on days when you’d normally do steady-state cardio at the gym. Also, weighted squats will help you increase muscle in your lower body, which will also enhance your speed.
15. You can do more than 60 crunches in one minute
Crunches are a staple in any ab routine, but have you counted how many you can do (with good form, of course) in one minute? To start this test outlined by SparkPeople, get in proper crunch position — keep feet flat on the floor with your heels about 18 inches away from your behind. Place hands at your sides rather than behind your head, palms facing down. You’ll keep your hands on the floor for this test, as it requires you to engage the abs more and you won’t be able to cheat by pulling up on your neck.
If you can do 60 crunches in 60 seconds, you’re in excellent shape. Even if you can only do 45, you’re still looking good, though there’s always room for improvement.
Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler