Self-analysis of your current activity level along with fitness testing results provides helpful baseline information. Reflecting on your current status is a good starting point. If you are already active, be encouraged to continue and to find additional ways to maintain or improve your fitness. If you have realized shortcomings or are unhappy with some of your fitness assessment results, do not be discouraged. No matter what your current level of fitness is, you can always improve. This is true whether you are currently inactive or already active.
Fitness assessments are helpful to provide evidence of improvement over time. Repeating the fitness assessment periodically can provide objective evidence of your improvement, or can show you areas that may need some extra attention. If you are a beginner, you may want to include assessments more frequently (every two to four months) because the feedback can be used to help you adjust your program. If you are a more established exerciser, you will not experience substantial changes and thus may need or want to conduct assessments only a couple of times per year. Charting your scores along with the ranking for each assessment lets you watch for progress over time. If you aren’t seeing improvement in a particular area, you may need to increase your focus on that fitness component. If you are already at a good level of fitness, then seek to maintain your fitness in that area.
Although the scores and rankings from fitness assessment are useful in establishing a baseline as well as in marking your progress, your reasons for becoming active are not likely linked to a number on a chart. More likely, your wake-up call was realizing that lack of fitness prevents you from engaging fully in life activities. Consider the following examples:
• Do you find yourself breathless going up a short flight of stairs?
• Do you avoid social or recreational situations that may involve physical activity?
• Are you unable to keep up with peers in recreational activities or sport competitions?
• Are you unable to lift a full bag of groceries from your vehicle?
• Do you struggle to hold your child or grandchild?
• Are you limited in your recreational pursuits by a lack of strength?
• Are you unable to reach over your shoulder to fasten a zipper?
• Do you find it difficult to look behind you to check for traffic when driving?
• Do you have to modify your movements (e.g., a golf swing) to compensate for
limited joint mobility?
• Do you find yourself unsteady when moving quickly from one position to another?
• Are you prone to falling?
• Are your clothes tighter than they were last year?
• Do you feel unhappy with your appearance because of weight gain?
• Does added body fat limit your enjoyment of recreational activities such as jogging or cycling?
Although assessing each of the components of fitness is encouraged, acknowledge that you are more than a score! Your quest for improved health and fitness relates to how you function on a daily basis. Make the changes you need to fulfill your potential. The scores or rankings provided by the fitness assessments are simply intended to help you monitor your progress.