How fit are you? See how you measure up

Ready to start a fitness program? Measure your fitness level with a few simple tests. Then use the results to set fitness goals and track your progress.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But knowing the specifics can help you set realistic fitness goals, monitor your progress and maintain your motivation. Once you know your starting point, you can plan where you want to go. Get started with the simple assessment below.

Gather your tools

Generally, fitness is assessed in four key areas: aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. To do your assessment, you'll need:

  • A watch that can measure seconds or a stopwatch
  • A cloth measuring tape
  • A yardstick
  • Heavy-duty tape
  • A scale
  • Someone to help you record your scores and count repetitions

You'll also need a pencil or pen and paper to record your scores as you complete each part of the assessment. You can record your scores in a notebook or journal, or save them in a spreadsheet or another electronic format.

Aerobic fitness: Heart rate at rest

Your heart rate at rest is a measure of heart health and fitness. For most adults, a healthy heart rate is 60 to 100 beats a minute.

To check your pulse over your carotid artery, place your index and middle fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery, located on the palm side of your wrist below the thumb.

When you feel your pulse, look at your watch and count the number of beats in 10 seconds. Multiply this number by 6 to get your heart rate per minute. Let's say you count 15 beats in 10 seconds. Multiply 15 by 6 for a total of 90 beats a minute.

Aerobic fitness: Target heart rate zone

The target heart rate zone is an increase in your heart rate — 50 to 75 percent of the maximum heart rate for your age — great enough to give your heart and lungs a good workout.

You can use the target heart rate zone as a guide for making sure your exercise is intense enough. If you are not reaching your target zone, you may need to increase the intensity. If you are achieving a target rate in the lower end of the target rate zone, you can set goals for gradually increasing your target.

If you already exercise regularly, you can stop to check your heart rate periodically during an aerobic workout. If you do not exercise regularly, you can do a simple test by checking your heart rate after a brisk 10-minute walk.

Target heart rate zone
Age Target heart rate zone: Beats a minute Maximum heart rate: Beats a minute
25 98-146 195
35 93-138 185
45 88-131 175
55 83-123 165
65 78-116 155

Aerobic fitness: Running or jogging test

Another strategy to assess your aerobic fitness is to time yourself on a 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) run or jog. The following times are generally considered indicators of a good fitness level based on age and sex. A lower time generally indicates better aerobic fitness, and a higher time suggests a need for improvement.

Good fitness results based on timing of 1.5-mile run
Age Women: Time in minutes Men: Time in minutes
25 13 11
35 13.5 11.5
45 14 12
55 16 13
65 17.5 14

Muscular strength and endurance: Pushup test

Pushups can help you measure muscular strength and endurance. If you're just starting a fitness program, do modified pushups on your knees. If you're generally fit, do classic pushups. For both types:

  • Lie facedown on the floor with your elbows bent and your palms next to your shoulders.
  • Keeping your back straight, push up with your arms until your arms are extended.
  • Lower your body until your chin touches the floor.
  • Do as many pushups as you can until you need to stop for rest.

The following counts are generally considered indicators of a good fitness level based on age and sex. If your pushup count is below the target number, the target can serve as a goal to work toward. Counts above the targets indicate better fitness.

Good fitness results for pushup counts
Age Women: Number of pushups Men: Number of pushups
25 20 28
35 19 21
45 14 16
55 10 12
65 10 11
March 14, 2017 See more In-depth