Get Ready! Find Your Exercise Starting Point

Want to be more physically active? The key to being successful and safe is to build slowly from your current fitness level. Here’s how to find your fitness starting point.

STEP 1: Answer the following questions:

Start line on the highway

STEP 2: Test your current fitness level for all 4 types of exercise:

  • Endurance. Pick a fixed course—once around the block or from one end of the mall to the other. Time how long it takes you to walk it.
  • Upper-body strength. Count how many arm curls you can do safely in 2 minutes.
  • Lower-body strength. Count how many chair stands you can do safely in 2 minutes.
  • Balance. How long can you safely stand on one foot? (Stand next to something sturdy you can hold on to if you lose your balance.)
  • Flexibility. For this test, sit toward the front of a sturdy chair, and stretch one leg straight out in front of you with your heel on the floor and your toes pointing up. Bend the other leg and place your foot flat on the floor. Slowly bend from your hips and reach as far as you can toward the toes of your outstretched foot. How far can you reach before you feel a stretch?

STEP 3: Write down your results

Download and fill out the Find Your Starting Point Activity Log to document your starting point. You’ll find space to track your normal activity levels for a few days—try and choose a few weekdays and one weekend day.

Once you start exercising, use the Monthly Progress Test to check in and see how you are improving, and celebrate your successes!