DCU Professor Niall Moyna joined Off The Ball on Tuesday to discuss health, fitness and his standardized fitness test.
Ireland does not have a standardized fitness test.
Despite our collective health being such an important thing, there is nowhere for people to find out exactly how fit they are. Niall Moyna hopes to change that by outlining his fitness test. The DCU professor joined Joe Molloy on Off The Ball to discuss in detail the importance of our health and fitness.
Dr. Moyna's fitness test breaks down into five simple components.
- Waistline measurement
- Balance test
- Lower body strength test
- Upper body strength test
- Aerobic endurance test
This is not a complicated or overly difficult test to do. You can do it at home in your living room, you don't need to go to a gym or visit a personal trainer.
For the waistline measurement there are a number of key details to understand:
- Make sure you haven't eaten a large meal in the last hour
- Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips
- Bring your two feet directly under your hips, toes pointing straight ahead
- If you have a partner, place your hands on your opposite shoulders and allow them to do the measurement
- Wrap a tape measure (or a non-stretchy string) around your waist, halfway between these points (Do the measurement in front of a mirror and make sure the tape is straight and even and not twisted)
- Breathe out naturally before taking the measurement
- Record the measurement in either centimetres or inches
- Repeat the measurement and make sure you are accurate to one cm
- If your waist is larger than 102cm for men and 94cm for women, then we would advise you to have your waist professionally measured
Whether a man or a woman of any age, your waistline should be no more than half the length of your height.
For the balance test, you will need a stopwatch or the stopwatch on your phone.
- Remove your shoes and socks
- Cross your arms and raise your preferred leg. Hold the position for 30 seconds with your eyes open (do this to ensure you can safely perform the rest of the test)
- Repeat the same task for 30 seconds with your eyes closed
- Your time is up when you lose balance, open your eyes or your elevated foot touches the floor
- You can take three attempts and record your best score
Men and women have the same standards in the balance test, so anyone who reaches eight seconds or more at any age is in a good position. Anyone over 30 must reach seven seconds and anyone over 40 must reach six seconds. One second drops per decade, so 80+ year olds only have to stay upright for two seconds.
For the lower body strength test, you will need a chair and timer.
- Sit in the middle of the chair
- Place your hands on opposite shoulders so they cross your chest
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Keep your back straight and keep your arms against your chest
- On "Go," rise to a full standing position and then sit back down again
- Repeat this as many times as possible for 30 seconds
Men in their 20s should reach 24 repetitions in 30 seconds and women should reach 23. The number drops two repetitions per decade, so a 70-year-old man should get 14. But 80+ year old men and women are only expected to get up and down 10 times in 30 seconds.
For the upper body strength test, there is no timing involved and you will not need any equipment. Men must do full push-ups but women do modified push-ups. Regular push-ups have four points of contact with the floor, each hand and each foot with a straight back. Modified push-ups also have four points of contact with the floor but with each hand and each knee.
Each push-up requires the participant to reach a right angle with their elbows or touch their chest to the floor. Each participant does as many push-ups as possible until exhaustion.
Men in their 20s are expected to do at least 21 push-ups and women in their 20s are expected to do at least 14. Men in their 30s must do 16 push-ups, whereas women are expected to do 12. In your 40s, men must do 12 and women do 10. Everyone over 50 is expected to do less than 10 push-ups.
For the aerobic endurance test, participants can run, walk or jog.
The goal of this test is to travel as far as you possibly can in 12 minutes. You will need a fitness wearable to track your distance or you can measure laps of a local running track. Running tracks are typically 400 metres.
Men in their 20s must reach 2.4 kms in 12 minutes, whereas women must reach 2 kms. Women stay at 2km until they turn 40, at which point the expectation drops to 1.9km, then 1.8km and 1.7km. The minimum for a woman of any age is 1.5km. Men must reach at least 2km until they turn 60.
Dr. Moyna's fitness test is a threshold test. You are expected to reach the minimums outlined for your age group, but how far you go above them is indicative of your health too. So long as you can reach the minimums, you should have no major concerns about your fitness. But if you are below the minimums, then you need to consider your lifestyle and health.