Physical Fitness for Men
If you have come to this site, you are likely thinking about starting a physical fitness program. If you are healthy enough to exercise, there's no time like the present to begin. And the benefits of exercise
are so numerous as to change your life both positively and dramatically. Of course, you are looking for a physical fitness program that suits you as an individual. The following should be the process of selecting a program:
- Determine if you are healthy enough to exercise. Our exercise risk questionnaire will help you know whether you are ready to start exercising or whether you need a physician’s clearance to begin.
- Read and understand our physical fitness definition to establish a basis for setting your fitness goals.
- If you are healthy enough to start a fitness program you might want to determine how your starting fitness level compares to that of other men your age. Therefore, we have posted the following tests you can use to compare your physical performance to that of other men your age and to gauge your progress as you become more fit:
An alternative is to take the President's Challenge Adult Fitness Test. It was released in May of 2008 by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, an organization established by President Eisenhower in 1956 to promote physical fitness in the U.S. The test provides on-line scoring of subtests that include walking or running, pushups, half-situps, sit-and-reach flexibility, and body composition via both BMI and waist measurement. Results are provided in terms of age-specific percentile rankings.
You might wish to take some of the fitness tests in the Eurofit for Adults test battery that was developed in the 1990s to assess health-related fitness of European adults. It includes some interesting and useful tests such as:
- A 2-kilometer (1.24-mile) walking test
- An endurance shuttle run at increasing speed
- Flexibility tests for the torso and shoulder
- A hand-grip strength test
- A balance test
If you want to compare your performance to military standards we have posted testing procedures and scoring tables for the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). This test scores you based on the number of pushups you do in 2 minutes, the number of situps you do in 2 minutes and your time for a 2-mile run, with several minutes rest between test components. However, the Army is in the process of developing a new test battery to more closely simulate the physical demands of combat.
- Select a program based on your health, current physical fitness level, age, goals, time constraints, and available equipment as explained in more detail below. See our general fitness routine guidelines.
- Begin the appropriate exercise program.
- If an exercise movement causes pain, select an alternate exercise from the list of equivalent exercises provided. "Working through" pain increases injury risk.
- Adjust the intensity (e.g. weight lifted, speed of movement) of the workout so that it is challenging but not exhausting or painful.
- Add variation to the program every few weeks by following the recommendations we will have for substituting exercises and altering exercise intensity and volume. Modify the program according to the recommendations provided on a regular basis to avoid physical and emotional staleness.
In selecting a workout program appropriate for you, it is essential to take the following factors into consideration:
- Your Health: Obviously, some people with serious health problems are not capable of exercising at all, and we cannot provide medical clearance over the internet. However, we do provide an
exercise risk questionnaire
that assesses your risk factors for exercise. Based on the results, you will know whether you need a physician’s clearance before you begin an exercise program. It is essential that you get a physician’s clearance before exercising if your risk profile determines you need one.
- Your Current Physical Fitness Level: In order to select the appropriate program for you, it is very important to know what kind of shape you are in right now. To avoid injury or even illness, one should never jump into an overly-advanced exercise program. If you are healthy enough to start exercising, as determined by minimal risk factors in your profile or medical clearance by your physician, we will provide exercise tests to determine the intensity level at which you should start working out.
- Your Age: Your current physical condition is more important than your age in deciding what type of exercise program you should pursue. However, age must be considered because the body loses some resiliency with advancing age and we become injured more easily and heal more slowly. Increases in exercise intensity should become more gradual as we age to allow us to adapt without injury. Even with gradual changes one can expect major improvements in physical fitness over a period of time.
- Your Goals: Your goals must be a prime consideration when deciding what kind of workout you will do. For example, a great workout program for a young, healthy, man seeking to improve his athletic performance is inappropriate, unrealistic, and even dangerous for a middle-aged, sedentary man just seeking to improve his health and physical capabilities within a tight work and family schedule. One must also choose realistic goals. Not every man has the genetic makeup to become an Olympic athlete, no matter how dedicated he is to working out and practicing his sport. Yet any man healthy enough to exercise can greatly improve his health, physical capability, and appearance through a regular workout routine.
- Your Time Constraints: Some high-level athletes and exercise enthusiasts have the time and inclination to devote several hours a day, 6 days a week, to working out. But most of us don’t have the time or desire to exercise that much. Ideally, to make steady and reasonably-paced gains in physical fitness and health you should try to schedule at least five 30-60 minute exercise sessions per week. But if you can’t, some exercise is better than none at all. Thus, we will provide exercise programs involving various levels of time commitment.
- The Equipment Available to You: For various reasons, some of us don’t have access to specialized exercise equipment. While equipment can facilitate the rate and degree to which physical fitness can be improved, it is possible to get reasonable fit without equipment or by using ordinary objects around us for exercise purposes. Thus, we will present total body workouts requiring little or no equipment as well as weight lifting workouts involving barbells, dumbbells and exercise machines.
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