Measuring Overall Fitness
Are you fit? Wouldn't it be great to be able to answer this question simply with a yes or no answer, or to give a simple score of your overall fitness? It is not that easy. First of all, what is fitness? Fitness is hard to define, so it makes this often asked and debated topic equally difficult to answer. Fitness is a variable thing, you can be fit for one sport or activity but not for another. A very fit marathon runner would struggle in a sprinting race, and vice versa.
Not only is fitness hard to define, it is equally hard to measure. We have a large collection of fitness tests, which measure all aspects of fitness. We have identified about 10 factors that should be considered when assessing overall fitness. However, there is no one test that can be done to measure all of these and give you a measure of overall fitness. What is needed is a way of combining the scores from these tests into a single meaningful measurement.
There have been many attempts to come up with a single measure of fitness based on the results of a range of tests. We discuss a few of these solutions below and come up with some ideas ourselves.
- SPARQ Rating System — SPARQ is an acronym for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. It is a scoring system designed to measure sport-specific athleticism, by combining and weighting the results from various tests in each of the areas of speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness using a sport specific formula.
- FitnessAge — an online fitness assessment tool used by health professionals to conduct a series of physical tests on an individual or group, then record the results and calculate the FitnessAge of a person (find out if you have the fitness level of a 45 year old?).
- BioAge - Similar to FitnessAge, the BioAge test determines an estimated 'biological' age based on behavioral tests (smoking, alcohol consumption, nutrition, stress) as well as physical (VO2max, mobility, lung function, strength, core endurance) and metabolic (blood pressure, body composition) assessments.
- Holistic index of Fitness, Sporting Talent & Aptitude (HiFSTA) — A methodology for creating a fitness index for school children.
- Polar BodyAge — a fitness assessment developed by the heart rate monitor makers Polar which determines your physical body age with a few simple tests. Although a single fitness measure is determined, the results of the individual tests are also presented.
- The Fitness Quotient — a questionnaire which gives a measure of fitness based on the answers to 10 simple questions.
- Energy Test — an online tool to determine the client's Energy Index, a factor of a person’s healthiness, the body’s physical performance and total energy level.
- Athletic Standard Index — combines the test scores of three speed/power fitness tests to a simple AS Index.
- JCR Test — a combined score from three tests: Jumping, Chinning and Running
- RealFit — an online fitness testing and tracking website that generates a single RealFit score for athletes in any sport based on the analysis of results of 13 tests over 6 categories of fitness.
- WiiFit BodyAge — the Wii Fit Age index is an estimation of your biological age, calculated based on the balance-test results using the Wii system, taking into consideration your actual age.
- F45 playoffs — an ultimate fitness test from F45: 10 stations, 45 seconds work per station, 15 seconds rest, 10-minute test, 100 points per station (maximum 1,000 points).
- Rogers Physical Fitness Index — an early attempt to create a single fitness index based on scores from a range of mostly strength fitness tests.
- McCloy Physical Fitness Test — an early version of a single strength index, adapted from Rogers. There is also a simple modern version.
- Universal Fitness Index - An index devised by Topend Sports to generalize fitness testing results into a single measure of fitness (details to come)
- ACSM American Fitness Index Program (AFI) - an initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine that aims to quantitatively measure the overall health and fitness level of American metro areas. Scoring is by comparing various indicators to the national average. The Personal Health portion measures the health habits of metro area residents, including their fitness, diet, chronic health problems, and access to health care.
- SF-36v2 Health Survey - the world's most widely used tool for assessing the health of general and specific populations. It is a 36-question survey designed to measure your overall health, which takes about 5 minutes to complete.
- The Non-Exercise Fitness Test - using simple measurements and a regression equation