As athletes and cyclist, its important to learn how you feel at different levels of exercise. You may hear professional cyclist talk about “sensations” to describe how they feel after a stage or a one day race.
Although, we train with power or heart rate or both its important to get a sense of what your actually feeling when at different levels of training and or racing.
When you are in tune with these feelings or sensations, you can get a better handle on how your training is going in terms of training too hard, not enough or just the wrong way. You can also tell if you are coming down with something or if there has been too much stress in your life.
In any case, you will get an idea that something has to change or be looked into more seriously.
If you have been off the bike for a while or even if you would like to start cycling for exercise and your now a “senior citizen”, you might want to perform these 6 functional fitness assessments that you can do at home. These are recommended by the fitness expert Dean Anderson.
Now, these self test are not a substitute for a thorough medical evaluation and clearance for exercise. Make sure you check with your doctor to make sure your ok to start any kind of exercise program.
These six test are age-related performance comparisons and have been adapted from the “Senior fitness Test Manual”, @1999 R.E. Rikli and C.J. Jones.
These test measure functional fitness: strength, power, agility, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Research has demonstrated that a senior’s performance on these assessments is a reliable indicator of his or her risk for having or developing functional limitations that will negatively affect quality of life.
If your scores fall in the “High Risk Zone” or below the average (see table below), starting a program of regular exercise can aid in reducing your risk.
Arm Curls: The purpose of this test is to assess upper body strength needed to perform regular household chores and other daily activities involving lifting and carrying things like groceries and grandchildren, opening containers, and more. Description: Complete as many one-arm biceps curls as you can in 30 seconds, holding a hand weight of five pounds (if you’re a woman), or 8 pounds (if you’re a man).
High Risk Zone: Completing less than 11 curls in 30 seconds with good form
30-Second Chair Stands: The purpose of this test is to assess lower body strength required for daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of chairs, cars, and the bathtub, and maintaining balance. Description: Sit in a standard chair with a firm seat (such as a dining chair), with arms folded across chest and hands on opposite shoulders. Stand up and sit down as many times as possible in 30 seconds, without using hands for support.
High Risk Zone: Less than 8 unassisted stands in 30 seconds
2-Minute Step Test: The purpose of this test is to assess aerobic endurance, which is important for walking, stair climbing, and performing many daily activities for an extended period of time. Description: Stand facing a wall, and put a pencil mark or piece of tape on the wall at a height that is halfway between the top of your knee and the top of your hipbone. Begin stepping in place, raising each knee up as high as the wall marker each time. Step for two minutes, and record the number of full steps taken, counting both right and left legs together as one step.
High Risk Zone: Less than 65 full steps in 2 minutes
Chair Sit and Reach Test: The purpose of this test is to assess lower body flexibility, which is important for proper walking gait, balance, and other common movements such as getting in and out of cars. Description: Sit with buttocks on front edge of firm chair. Extend one leg straight in front of you, with heel resting on floor. Bend forward at waist, keeping arms straight, reaching hands towards toes. Stretch forward as far as possible without pain. Have a partner measure the distance (in inches) between the tips of your fingers and the tips of your toes.
High Risk Zone: Women with two inches or more between fingers and toes and men with four inches of distance or more
Back Scratch: The purpose of this test is to assess shoulder flexibility, which is important for movements such as brushing hair, putting on clothes over the head, putting on a car seat belt and more. Description: With one hand, reach behind your back and slide hand up towards opposite shoulder as far as possible. With opposite hand, reach back over same shoulder and try to come as close as you can to touching the tip of other hand. Have a partner measure the distance between your hands.
High Risk Zone: Women with two inches or more between hands and men with four inches of distance or more
8-Foot Up and Go Test: The purpose of this test is to assess agility and dynamic balance, which is important for tasks requiring quick maneuvering, such as getting off a bus, or getting up from a chair to answer the phone, etc. Description: Measure out a distance of 8 feet from the edge of a chair, and put a marker there. Sit in the chair, and time yourself as you stand up, walk to the marker and back, and sit back down.
High Risk Zone: More than 9 seconds to complete this test.
If you’re scores are in the high risk zone (listed above) or below the averages listed in the chart, it will be very important to do some exercises designed to help you improve the functional abilities associated with that task. And even if your scores are above average now, a regular exercise program (cardio, strength, balance and flexibility training) is the best way to keep them there as you get older.