The Importance of a Baseline Assessment in Creating a Physical Fitness Plan
Like a road map, your physical fitness plan describes your strategy to achieve your personal fitness goals, such as your ideal weight and body shape.
You may hire a professional to better fit your plan’s workout schedule and meal planning to your physical fitness level as well as with your age, your medical condition, and your lifestyle.
Alternatively, you may also create your own fitness plan that fit a beginner’s physical fitness level after you’ve done extensive research into the best diet foods for either losing weight or gaining muscles, the right methods in controlling your calorie intake, and the kind of exercises you can do at home or in the gym with or without gym equipment.
Ultimately, your physical fitness level guides you or your fitness trainer in creating your physical fitness plan.
Actually, your physical fitness level is assessed from your baseline scores in your initial fitness tests.
Baseline scores serve as points of comparison against other fitness test scores taken each month to mark your progress.
When looking at a line graph of the scores, you’ll immediately know how much you’ve improved within six months and in what areas you’ve shown the most and least changes.
Thus, the preliminary assessment of your physical fitness level plays a crucial role in forming your fitness strategy and measuring your plan’s success.
During this preliminary phase, a personal assessment is as reliable as any professional assessment from a doctor or a fitness training professional. Measuring and recording the scores require no special training.
Participants simply need a stopwatch or a watch with a second hand, a measuring tape or yardstick, a notepad, a pocket calculator, and a pen. For convenience, you may use electronic BMI scales or a body fat analyzer instead of manually calculating your BMI from your waist circumference, weight, and height.
The first three of the physical fitness tests consist of easy tasks that you can perform singlehandedly. The tasks include checking your pulse rates while at rest and after a brisk walk through 1.6 kilometers, calculating your body mass index, and measuring your waist circumference.
However, you should ask a friend or a family member to assist you during tests for physical endurance and for flexibility.
You’ll need to go through two types of physical endurance tests. During the first test, ask your assistant to count the number of full push-ups you can do until your arms won’t hold your body up anymore.
During the second test, ask your friend to use a wristwatch or stopwatch to track the number of minutes that you took to finish a mile-long hike. For the latter, brisk walking may be done on a treadmill or around the oval track at the nearest public stadium or at your school’s sports field.
To test your flexibility, start by sitting on the floor with legs extended in a relaxed position. Ask your friend to tape a yardstick or a measuring tape on the floor between the subject’s legs. Mark the 15th inch from the juncture of your thighs as your benchmark.
Next, bend forward and reach out as far as you can while keeping your arms and legs straight. Later, you should remain still as your friend checks the farthest point that your fingertips touched.
Aside from the physical fitness tests, your fitness assessment also considers your age, gender, height, weight and medical history. If you’ve mostly led a sedentary lifestyle, then you should start with low-intensity exercises, such as jogging or brisk walking, for at least 30 minutes each day before you move on to moderate-intensity activities, such as aerobics or dance.
Later, you’ll have enough stamina and strength to perform high-intensity workouts that will help you lose weight and tone your body faster. Of course, a physical fitness plan is more effective when you also watch your calories, stop smoking, keep your body hydrated, and get enough sleep.