Before you start any training program, you must make sure that it is safe for you to begin. First, take the PAR-Q questionnaire on the bottom of the page to see if you should check with your doctor before beginning. Remember, it’s always wise to consult your doctor if you’re suffering from an illness or any injuries.
Test your fitness
When starting a fitness program, it’s useful to see how your muscular fitness measures up by counting, how many repetitions you can perform or how many seconds you can hold a contraction.
The three exercises shown here will assess your muscular endurance in the lower, middle, and upper body. Record your results, noting the date, and after three months of training, repeat the tests. When you reassess yourself, perform the same version of the exercise. Before attempting the exercises, warm up first by moving briskly for five minutes. If you are just beginning to exercise, or coming back to it after a long break, you may prefer to perform your first assessment after two or three months of exercising on a regular basis.
Slide down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and hold the position for as long as you can. (If you cannot slide all the way down, go as far as you can.)
|Excellent||90 seconds or more|
|Poor||less than 30 seconds|
Crunch with Scoop
Count how many crunches you can do consecutively without resting. This is not a full sit-up. Lift your head and shoulders no higher than 30 degrees off the mat.
|Excellent||50 reps or more|
|Poor||20 reps or less|
Inhale as you bend your elbows, lowering your chest to the floor. Exhale as you push up to the starting position. Count how many you can do consecutively without a rest.
|Excellent||20 reps or more|
|Poor||10 reps or less|
PAR-Q AND YOU A questionnaire for people aged 15 to 69
|_||_||1 Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?|
|_||_||2 Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?|
|_||_||3 In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?|
|_||_||4 Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?|
|_||_||5 Do you have a bone or joint problem (for example, back, knee, or hip) that could possibly be made worse by a marked change in your physical activity?|
|_||_||6 Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (for example, water pills) for your blood pressure or heart condition?|
|_||_||7 Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?|
If you answered YES to one or more questions
Talk with your doctor by phone or in person BEFORE you start becoming much more physically active or BEFORE you have a fitness appraisal.
Tell your doctor about the PAR-Q and which questions you answered YES.
- You may be able to do any activity you want—as long as you start slowly and build up gradually. Or, you may need to restrict your activities to those which are safe for you. Talk with your doctor about the kinds of activities you wish to participate in and follow his/her advice.
- Find out which community programs are going to prove safe and helpful for you.
If you answered NO to all questions
If you answered NO honestly to all PAR-Q questions, you can be reasonably sure that you can:
- start becoming much more physically active—begin slowly and build up gradually. This is the safest and easiest way to go.
take part in a fitness appraisal—this is an excellent way to determine your basic fitness so that you can plan the best way for you to live actively. It is also highly recommended that you have
your blood pressure evaluated. If your reading is over 144/94, talk with your doctor before you start becoming much more physically active.