“Nick, I don’t understand something. How do you identify as a runner when you’re built like a house?!” 😂the truth is I identify as an athlete. A hybrid athlete. My conception of fitness ranges across endurance, strength, body fat percentage, flexibility, and balance. Identify as whatever you want but always seek to strike a balance when it comes to health & fitness. I will list what I believe anyone who aspires to be fit or indeed calls themselves ‘fit’ should be able to do.
Fitness & health standards
Resting Heart Rate ❤️🔈
This gives you a measure of your aerobic fitness. Those with fancy gadgets such as fit bits or heart rate monitors already know their resting heart rate. Compare it with the readings below to determine whether you're fit.
Men = 18-45y ≤ 65 BPM, 46y+ ≤ 67 BPM
Women = 18-45y ≤ 69 BPM, 46y+ ≤ 73 BPM
The heart is a muscle, and your most important muscle at that. Barring a medical condition a lower reading indicates a stronger, more efficient heart.
NB: ≤ means less than or equal to.
12 min Cooper test 🏃🏿♂️🏃🏾♀️
This also gives you a measure of aerobic fitness. Find a flat track or treadmill and run as hard as you can for 12 minutes. That’s it. Once done record your distance and compare it to the readings below. The further you go in the allocated time, the fitter you are.
Men =18-29y ≥ 2.8kms || 30-39y ≥ 2.4kms || 40-49y ≥ 2.1kms || 50+y ≥ 2kms
Women = 18-29y ≥ 2.4kms || 30-39y ≥ 2kms || 40-49y ≥ 1.9kms || 50+y ≥ 1.7kms
NB: ≥ means more than or equal to.
Body Mass Index
This measurement seeks to assess whether you're at an appropriate body weight for your height. Use this calculator to assess yours. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, and other adverse health conditions
NB: the exception to higher than normal (overweight) BMI readings is bodybuilders. These individuals will typically have higher readings on account of muscle mass. If this isn't you then bweshako umubili (reduce your weight).
Body fat percentage
Excess body fat is non functional weight. I rely on the US Navy Seals body fat measurement to determine my body fat levels. Grab some measuring tape and measure your neck and waist. Use this calculator to obtain a result. Once you have your results proceed to compare them with the recommendations below.
Men = 12-18% at all adult ages
Women = 15-24% at all adult ages
Got a belly? The belly must go! You can additionally utilize running as a weight loss tool, avoid sugar bombs and learn to understand nutrition labels if you have a few extra kilos to lose.
This is the strength required to conduct daily activities. Testing comprise of push ups, sit ups and pull ups. Perform each set of exercises for 2 minutes and record how many repetitions you completed. Compare your results to the readings below.
Push ups Men = 18-39y ≥ 50 || 40-60y ≥ 40 || 60+ ≥ 30
Push ups Women = 18-39y ≥ 40 || 40-60y ≥ 30 || 60+ ≥ 20
Sit ups Men & Women = 18-39y ≥ 50 || 40-60y ≥ 40 || 60+ ≥ 30
Pull ups Men = 12-20 repetitions at all adult ages
Pull ups Women = 8-12 repetitions at all adult ages
Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to perform a split😅. Perform a 'sit & reach' test. Sit on a flat surface, legs extended in front of the body, toes pointing up and feet slightly apart, with the soles of the feet against the base of a wall. Place a ruler on the ground between your legs. Place one hand on top of the other, then reach slowly forward. At the point of your greatest reach, hold for a couple of seconds, and measure how far you have reached. Here's a visual representation of the test. Below are the targets that a flexible individual would hit.
Men = 22 centimeters or more at all adult ages
Women = 24 centimeters or more at all adult ages
Neglect flexibility and ma bonzo yako yaza yuma (your bones will dry up and stiffen).
Stand on one foot with other foot bent and close your eyes. Try to hold this position for as long as you can. Anything above 20 seconds is an indication of decent balance for either gender.
Men & Women = 20 seconds or more.
Ultimately fitness is health, and that just isn’t one single thing and numbers don't lie. What do yours say? If things don't add up let's talk about it.