How Physically Fit Are You? Take This Quiz From The National Exercise For Life Institute

Every new year an estimated 90 million Americans make health and fitness-related resolutions.

Regular physical activity is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle-it prevents disease and enhances quality of life. Unfortunately, in the United States an estimated 250,000 deaths per year can be attributed to lack of regular physical activity.

Regular exercise (20 to 30 minutes a day, three or four times per week) reduces your risk of death from all causes-including cardiovascular disease and cancer-by about 60%.

Based on scientific evidence from The Cooper Institute For Aerobics Research, The National Exercise For Life Institute recommends increased physical activity as part of everyone’s daily routine. The first step is finding out just how fit you are!

The questions here will help you determine how much “formal” (i.e. walking, aerobics, rowing, cross-country skiing, Nordic Tracking) and “informal” (i.e. activities around the house, walking instead of driving) activity you perform regularly.

For each question below, give yourself a score in the space provided. After completing all the questions, total your points and check your score for an estimate of your current fitness level. Then, develop a plan to increase your activity and get fit for life!

1. In the past week, how many times did you continuously exercise in an aerobic activity for at least 20 minutes? (i.e. walking, rowing, swimming, cycling, jogging, cross-country skiing)

Give yourself 1 point for each time. Points ___

2. How many stretching or flexibility sessions have you participated in during the past week? (Each session should last five to ten minutes and should include all of your body’s major muscle groups.)

Give yourself 1 point for each time. Points ___

3. Do you have a fitness goal of a certain number of days per week, miles per week, or minutes per week?

Yes, and I achieve my goal most weeks: 2 points

Yes, I’m working towards it: 1 point

No: 0 points

Points ___

4. Do you ordinarily climb stairs instead of using an elevator or escalator when going up one or two floors?

Yes: 1 point

No: 0 points

Points ____

5. On average, how many hours of television do you watch daily?

Less than 1 hour, or “I use my exercise equipment while watching”: 2 points

1 hour: 1 point

At least two hours: 0 points

Points ___

6. How active are you at work?

Very active; walking or moving most of the day: 2 points

I take short walks during coffee breaks: 1 point

Totally inactive; (sit at desk): 0 points

Points ___

7. Do you engage in manual work around the house doing repairs, housekeeping, mowing the lawn, or gardening?

Yes: 1 point

No: 0 points

Points ___

8. In the past month, have you tried any of the following fitness activities: cross-training? circuit training? interval training?

Give yourself 1 point for each

Points ___

9. How many strength training sessions have you participated in during the past week?

Give yourself 1 point for each

Points ___

10. Do you know your: resting heart rate? target heart rate? cholesterol level? blood pressure? ideal weight?

Give yourself 1 point for each “yes”

Points ___

11. What kinds of foods did you consume for dinner last night?

Mostly fresh, lowfat foods: 2 points

Combination of fresh and processed foods: 1 point

Fast food: 0 points

Points ___

12. How do you usually get to work?

Walk/bicycle at least 1 mile: 2 points

Drive but park far away and walk the remainder: 1 point

Drive and park as close as possible: 0 points

Points ___

Your Total Point Score: _____

If you scored:

0-6 points: Your fitness level is most likely below average. Your activity level is too low to offer any health benefits.

7-14 points: Your fitness level is about average. If most of your points came from daily activities, we encourage you to add some aerobic activity to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

15-30 points: Congratulations! You are already living the “fitness lifestyle.” Consider adding different activities or varying your program to maintain interest and motivation. Examine your activities to see if you have a good balance of aerobic activity, flexibility, and strength.

31-40 points: Your activity level indicates that you are probably training competitively for a particular sport or competition. If you are feeling good, then continue enjoying your activities. But remember, your risk of injury increases significantly with extremely high activity levels. It is possible that you are overtraining, so listen to your body and cut back if needed.

* * *

Free information on the benefits of exercise and getting started in an exercise program is available from The National Exercise For Life Institute, funded by NordicTrack. Call (800) 358-3636, or write: NEFLI, P.O. Box 2000, Excelsior, MN 55331-9967.

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