Tracking Your Fitness Levels

Exercise Physiology & Fitness Tracking

This article is a brief about Exercise Physiology & Fitness Tracking. One of the most common reasons people come to see one of our Exercise Physiologists is “I want to get a bit fitter”. The reasons for wanting to get fitter can range from being able to keep up with the grand kids, to being able to perform better in their chosen sport, or to be able to make the jobs at work or around the house a bit easier.

While the reasons for wanting to improve their fitness can vary, the first step is always the same: we have to measure your baseline fitness level. Without knowing your starting point, it is impossible to know whether you are improving. With appropriate equipment, Exercise Physiologists are trained to conduct various different types of tests that can be used to measure your fitness levels (Exercise Physiology & Fitness Tracking). However, there are also ways that you can do this from around your own home so that you can keep track of your improvements.

As you get fitter, your cardio-respiratory system is able to work more efficiently. So, say for example you might have been able to walk 1km in 15 minutes at a heart rate of 140 beats per minute. As you become fitter and your heart and lungs become more efficient, you might be able to now walk 1km in 13 minutes, still at a heart rate of 140 beats per minute. Essentially as your cardiorespiratory system begins to adapt, you can now cover more distance without having to work any harder. And you can use this same principle to track improvements in your fitness at home by following these steps:

1. Find yourself a course that you can use as your ‘testing track’. Preferably it should be relatively flat should be paved.

2. Choose and measure the distance you are going to use (e.g. 1km through to 5km depending on your own fitness levels and goals). An easy way to measure your chose path is to jump onto google maps and check the directions between your own address and an address at the end of the track, which will give you the distance between these points. Keep changing addresses until you have the desired length. (If you prefer to swim, choose a set distance in laps that you would like to use as your testing distance). As you get fitter you will need to lengthen your testing distance to make sure you can continue to see improvements as they occur.

3. Choose your desired intensity that you would like to complete the test at by selecting a number between 0-10, where 0 is nothing at all, and 10 is the hardest you can work (usually between a 5-7 is a good starting place; see the attached scale for reference). Try to maintain this intensity for the test and when you retest (results from completing the test initially at a 5/10 and then at an 8/10 won’t be comparable).

4. Time how long it takes to complete your chosen track.

5. Keep a record of your trials, using something like this:

Exercise Physiology Fitness Tracking Functional Health Gold Coast

6. Always record your perceived intensity out of 10 even though you are trying to keep it the same, that way when you look back over your times you can see how close you were able to maintain it.

The improvements that we make in our fitness happen gradually, which often means that we never notice our progress and give ourselves enough credit for improving from week to week.

Monitor Performance

Keeping a track of how you are performing over a set distance using this ‘time trial’ each fortnight or month can be a great way of showing your progress. Likewise, if you notice that you are not improving, this can be a great way of flagging that maybe you need to reassess what you are doing and make some changes to ensure that you are making progress towards your fitness goals.

Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology & Sports Massage

So remember that Physio Broadbeach | Functional Health can support you when it comes to Exercise Physiology & Fitness Tracking. We have a team of specialists who can provide all Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Sports Massage services at both our Biggera Waters and Broadbeach locations on the Gold Coast.

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