Size refers to body fat. This is related to fitness, but not perfectly. It is possible to be fit AND fat and activity levels are more important than weight loss in people who just can’t lose weight.
All you need to do is move.
Stamina is aerobic capacity. It’s a good indication of cardiovascular (heart-lung) fitness. It can be increased by regularly moving at increasing levels of intensity.
A simple home screening question is: “Do you regularly (ie. daily or almost daily) carry out exercise for the sole purpose of improving your health. or increasing your physical fitness.” If the answer is ‘yes’, you’re likely to have an acceptable level of stamina.
Strength is the ability of a muscle to produce force on contraction. Strength is improved through resistance type activities like weight lifting, rubber straps, aquarobics, exercise machines etc.
A good test for overall strength is either the strength of abdominal muscles (tested by doing full, bent leg sit-ups) or the quadriceps of the thighs (tested by standing from a chair to your full height in one movement). Test how many of each of these you can do in 20 seconds. More than 12 of either is a reasonable test of strength of these muscle groups.
Suppleness is another name for flexibility. It refers to the ability to stretch muscles through their full range. Suppleness is improved by stretching or in such activities as yoga. As the hamstrings (behind the thighs) are a large muscle group that are important for bending and moving, a measure of the ability to stretch these isa good indication of overall flexibility.
Sitting on the floor, slowly reach forward to see if you can reach between your feet. If you can do so, or if you can exceed this, you are adequately flexible. If you can’t, you need some more stretching exercises.
Stability is important for preventing falls, particularly in older people. It is an indication of the ability of muscles and joints to work in harmony in daily movement.
A simple measure of stability is to stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Imagine a T sign across the shoulders and down the mid-line of the body. If this wavers, during leg standing, it indicates a lack of stability. To makes sure of this, then close the eyes for 30 seconds and check
if it can be done without wavering. Stability is increased by learning how to stand on one leg like this for longer.
Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim
For more information on weight loss for men, check out Professor Trim.