Fit for Life: How Do You Compare? | Reader's Digest

Fit for Life: How Do You Compare?

Learn about the new web test that can show you how to rate your fitness level and develop a plan that works for you.

By Ted Spiker from Reader's Digest | October 2008
Woman Doing Push-Ups A 40-year-old woman should be able to complete 33 push-ups -- without stopping. How many can you do?

When the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recently launched its Adult Fitness Test, you might have had horrific flashbacks: the gym teacher, the stopwatch, the shorts. But giving yourself a new test at adultfitnesstest.org will help you compare yourself with others your age and design a get-fit plan. Here are some goals for healthy 40-year-old men and women and our advice on how to get there.

The Test: Push-ups

The Goal: Women (on knees): 33 without stopping, Men: 40 without stopping

Our Tips to Boost Your Score (gradually, to prevent injury): Work your chest and triceps three days a week. Vary the push-ups by doing them on an incline or decline, or do some chest flies or chair dips, says personal trainer Kelli Calabrese, author of Feminine, Firm & Fit.

The Test: 1.5-mile run

The Goal: Women: under 12 minutes, Men: under 10 minutes

Our Tips to Boost Your Score (gradually, to prevent injury): Walk/run three times a week, and do non-impact activities like swimming or cycling on the other days. Add a day of interval training (going faster than your normal pace with periods at a much slower pace).

The Test: Half sit-ups

The Goal: Women: 60 in a minute, Men: 65 in a minute

Our Tips to Boost Your Score (gradually, to prevent injury): Do a variety of abdominal exercises three days a week. “Core strength is so important because it improves posture, can reduce back pain, and may help stop a fall as we age,” Calabrese says.

The Test: Sit and reach

The Goal: Women: 9 inches beyond heels, Men: 8 inches beyond heels

Our Tips to Boost Your Score (gradually, to prevent injury): After warming up, Calabrese says, increase flexibility by doing the yoga pose downward dog: Position your body in an inverted V, with your hands and feet on the ground and your butt in the air.