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Fit for life


February 2009

Itís February. Do you know where your health and fitness goals are? You made a plan over the holidays to start with a clean slate in 2009, and integrate healthy eating, exercise and wellness into your daily life. Did it happen? Are you still feeling inspired? Itís natural to stray from these well-intentioned New Yearís resolutions, but now is the time to get back on track. On the next few pages, you will find inspiring stories of weight loss (and gain), self-esteem, physical and mental challenges and ways for you to adopt a healthier lifestyle. So, get off the couch and do something for your body, mind and soul.

Answer these 20 questions to find out how fit you are

Everyone has different ideas about what it means to be fit. For some itís about bench pressing 300 pounds without breaking a sweat or hitting the gym with religious zeal six days a week. Others consider weekend yard work adequate for a healthy lifestyle.

Daily exercise is a good start, but being fit is about more than making it around the track or cranking off a dozen bicep curls. Itís also about eating the right foods, getting enough sleep and learning how to handle stress.

Take Mís fit quiz and find out whether your daily habits hit the fitness mark or fall short.

1. How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat per day?

1 vegetable serving = 1/2 cup cooked veggies or 1 cup raw veggies; 1 fruit = 1 small apple, banana or 1 cup berries

a. 1 or 2 (1 point)

b. 3 to 6 (2 points)

c. 7 or more (3 points)

d. I donít have them every day (0 points)

2. How many servings of dairy foods ó not including high-fat cheese ó do you eat or drink?

1 serving of milk = 8-ounce glass; 1 serving of yogurt = 3/4 to 1 cup

a. 3 or more (2 points)

b. 1 or 2 (1 point)

c. I donít have dairy foods(0 points)

3. How many servings of proteins (beans, nuts and meats) do you eat per day?

1 serving = about an ounce

a. none (0 points)

b. 1 to 3 servings (1 point)

c. 4 or more servings(2 points)

4. How many 8-ounce glasses of water do you drink per day?

a. I donít drink water, just soda and juice (0 points)

b. 1 to 4 (1 point)

c. 5 to 7 (2 points)

5. How many times a week do you have take-out or eat at restaurants?

a. every day (0 points)

b. 1 to 2 times a week(2 points)

c. 3 to 4 times a week(1 point)

6. How often do you have breakfast?

a. only on the weekends(0 points)

b. every day (2 points)

c. 3-4 times a week (1 point)

7. What do you consider a healthy breakfast to have every day?

a. blueberry muffin (1 point)

b. mocha latte (0 points)

c. yogurt and fruit (2 points)

8. When youíre hungry, do you typically reach for:

a. bag of potato chips(0 points)

b. unbuttered popcorn or a rice cake (1 point)

c. apple (2 points)

9. If you went out on a track for one mile, would you:

a. walk, with occasional rests (0 points)

b. run the whole way(2 points)

c. combination of run/walk(1 point)

10. How many push-ups can you do in a minute?

Use proper form. Men should use the standard "military style" pushup position with only the hands and the toes touching the floor. Women have the additional option of using the "bent knee" position. To do this, kneel on the floor, hands on either side of the chest and keep your back straight. Do as many push-ups as possible until exhaustion. Count the total number of push- ups performed.

Male Ė average

Age 17-19: 19-34 push-ups Age 20-29: 17-29 push-ups Age 30-39: 13-24 push-ups Age 40-49: 11-20 push-ups Age 50-59: 9-17 push-ups Age 60-65: 6-16 push-ups

Female - average

Age 17-19: 11-20 push-ups Age 20-29: 12-22 push-ups Age 30-39: 10-21 push-ups Age 40-49: 8-17 push-ups Age 50-59: 7-14 push-ups Age 60-65: 5-12 push-ups

a. Results fell within my age range and gender (1 points)

b. Results were above the average for my age (2 points)

c. Results were below the average for my age (0 points)

11. How many sit-ups can you do in a minute? Use proper form described below.

Lie on a carpeted floor with your knees bent at approximately right angles, with feet flat on the ground. Your hands should be resting on your thighs. Squeeze your stomach, push your back flat and raise high enough for your hands to slide along your thighs to touch the tops of your knees. Donít pull with your neck or head and keep your lower back on the floor. Return to the starting position.

Male Ė average

Age 18-25: 35-38 sit-ups Age 26-35: 31-34 sit-ups Age 36-45: 27-29 sit-ups Age 46-55: 22-24 sit-ups Age 56-65: 17-20 sit-ups Age 66+ : 15-18 sit-ups

Female - average

Age 18-25: 29-32 sit-ups Age 26-35: 25-28 sit-ups Age 36-45: 19-22 sit-ups Age 46-55: 14-17 sit-ups Age 56-65: 10-12 sit-ups Age 66+ : 11-13 sit-ups

a. Results fell within my age range and gender (1 points)

b. Results were above the average for my age (2 points)

c. Results were below the average for my age (0 points)

12. Take a measuring tape and place it snugly around your waist. Make a note of the circumference of your waist. Your waist can be a good indicator of your abdominal fat.

Male: 40 inches

Female: 35 inches

a. Based on my gender my waist is above the figures listed (0 points)

b. Based on my gender my waist is below the figures listed (1 point)

13. Calculate your Body Mass Index.

BMI is used to determineobesity. You can calculate your BMI through this simple math equation or go to the National Institutes of Healthís BMI calculator at

BMI = weight in pounds x 703 height in inches≤

a. BMI is less than 18.5(1 point)

b. BMI is 18.5 to 24.9(2 points)

c. BMI is 25 to 29.9 (1 point)

d. BMI of 30 or greater(0 points)

Underweight = <18.5 Normal weight = 18.5-24.9 Overweight = 25-29.9 Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

14. Sit on a chair with one leg extended out front and the other leg bent. Reach forward toward the extended leg. Can you touch your toes? If not, can you:

Male: Come within 4 inches Female: Come within 2 inches

a. Nope, not even close(0 points)

b. Can reach within guidelines, but itís a struggle(1 point)

c. Not a problem (2 points)

15. From a standing position, arms to the side, raise one foot. Time how long you can hold the position without losing your balance. Switch sides. Can you do 10 seconds on both sides?

a. Nope, not a chance(0 points)

b. Yes, but itís a struggle(1 point)

c. Not a problem, I could go longer (2 points)

16. Without holding onto the railings, can you climb 20 stair steps in 40 seconds?

a. No (0 points)

b. Yes, but itís a struggle to get there within 40 seconds (1 point)

c. Not a problem, I could do more (2 points)

17. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

a. 7 to 9 hours (2 points)

b. less than 4 hours (0 points)

c. 5 to 7 hours (1 point)

18. When youíre stressed, what do you do to get rid of tension?

a. smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol in excess (0 points)

b. watch TV (1 point)

c. exercise, meet up with friends, meditate or write in a journal (2 points)

19. Take your resting heart rate.

Typically you want to take this while seated in an upright position in a straight back chair; and be rested, relaxed and comfortable. The best time to take your resting heart rate is in the morning after youíve woken up. The most common places to measure heart rate are at the wrist (radial artery) and the neck (carotid artery). Place your index and middle fingers together on the opposite wrist, about 1/2 inch on the inside of the joint. Feel for a pulse and then count the number of beats within a one minute period.

a. Resting heart rate between 65 to 100 beats per minute(1 point)

b. Resting heart rate between 50 to 65 beats per minute(2 points)

Explanation of scoring: Resting heart rate usually rises with age, and itís generally lower in physically fit people. According to the YMCA fitness assessment 50-65 beats per minute would indicate a physically fit person.

20. Determine your target heart rate. Your target heart rate allows you to measure your fitness level. You should take your pulse and determine your heart beats per minute as you exercise. You want to stay within 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. For example, if youíre 40 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 180 beats per minute. See the table provided by the American Heart Association to determine youíre at your target heart rate.

a. Iím above my maximum heart rate (0 points)

b. I am below my maximum heart rate, but still not within my target heart rate (1 point)

c. I am within my target heart rate (2 points)

Are you fit?

0-13 Couch Potato. Yikes, itís time to learn about how to change your lifestyle. Your diet consists of sweets, not fruits and veggies, youíre not getting enough sleep and the only exercise you get is lifting the TV remote. Make sure to visit with a doctor before starting a new physical regimen. A physician, nutritionist or personal trainer can help put you on the path to a better, healthier life.

14-27 Average Joe. Trying not to fall off the wagon. OK, OK. Not bad, but itís time to focus on ways to improve. Maybe you work out regularly, but your diet and sleep habits are off. Perhaps, that new job has you working long hours and itís hard to get to the gym. Remember, itís not just about eating right or occasionally exercising. To hit the triple crown you need to have: a healthy diet, regular exercise and plenty of sleep.

28-40 Superstar. You eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise and people probably notice. When it comes to those stressful situations, your healthy habits help you navigate lifeís little problems with ease.

YMCA Fitness Test Assessment
National Institutes of Health-National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
American Heart Association Discovery Health and Dr. Pam Peekeís "Fit to Live" book