Measuring Your Fitness Progress

If you’ve been exercising regularly, you’ll soon be able to tell when it’s time to move ahead in your activities.

How Can I Tell if I’m Getting More Fit?

If you’ve been exercising regularly, you’ll soon be able to tell when it’s time to move ahead in your activities. Signs that you’re making fitness progress are:
A senior black man takes a drink of water during his outdoor working

  • You have more energy.
  • Your overall mood and outlook on life have improved.
  • It’s easier to do your usual daily activities.
  • Climbing a couple of flights of stairs or lifting the same amount of weight is getting easier.
  • It’s easier to get in and out of your car.
  • You can get down on the floor and play a game with your grandchildren, and get back up again more easily when the game is over.
  • You’re sleeping better at night.
  • You have less pain when you move around.
  • You notice improvement in the symptoms of an ongoing health condition.

How Often Should I Check My Progress?

Do these simple monthly tests to see if you are continuing to progress and need to update your goals. Each month, you will likely see an improvement.

Endurance. Pick a fixed course and see how long it takes to walk that distance. As your endurance improves, it should take less time.
Upper-body Strength. Count the number of arm curls you can do safely in 2 minutes.
Lower-body Strength. Count the number of chair stands you can do safely in 2 minutes.
Balance. Time yourself as you stand on one foot, without support, for as long as possible. Stand near something sturdy to hold on to, in case you lose your balance. Repeat on the other foot.
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?