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When exercising and working the body, understanding your individual fitness level is important. The fitness level of an individual’s body is simply that body’s ability to withstand a given amount of physical work. Everyone’s fitness level will vary—especially between males and females—so taking the time to learn the body’s fitness level is important. With that knowledge, planning a daily or weekly routine of exercises that will be specifically beneficial to the individual can be accomplished. Learning the fitness level of their bodies will also help individuals begin a fitness plan that is neither too easy nor too hard for them specifically.

The first step to fitness level assessment is to measure the total weight of the body. Being underweight or overweight is unhealthy for the body, so try stepping onto a scale in the morning for the most accurate reading. In the morning, food has had a chance to digest and the body has been well-rested the night before. To find the most accurate reading of total body weight, weigh the body at the same time each day and take the average reading for the body’s total weight.

Once the body has been weighed, the next step is to find the body’s BMI, or Body Mass Index. The BMI is a measurement of body fat based on the weight and height of the body. The equation to use for finding the BMI of the body is:

BMI = weight ÷ height2 × 703

First, divide the weight, in lbs, by the height, in inches squared. As an example, someone who is 5 feet tall is 60 inches. So to square 60 inches, multiply 60 by 60 to get 3600. If this person is also 100 lbs, then the equation would be: 100 ÷ 3600 × 703. This person’s BMI is 19.52. Another option is to use a BMI calculator. As a reference to find out how healthy the body is, consider the following values:

Below 18.5 – Underweight
18.5-24.9 – Normal weight
25 and above – Overweight

Some other fitness level assessments include finding the body’s resting heart rate and then the heart rate after walking for a mile; recording how long it takes to walk or jog a mile; finding the number of push-ups the body can do in a minute; recording how flexible the body is by measuring how far forward the arms can reach while sitting with legs extended; and measuring the circumference of the waist. Using all of these forms of assessment will aid each individual in the establishment of his or her own fitness plan.