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The REAL Test for Physical Fitness

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 September, 2015, 10:30am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 September, 2015, 11:22am

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A so-called “fitness” test, the Belly Button Challenge, has gone viral on social media. To act this out, one needs to twist the arm round the back to touch the belly button with the fingertip from the other side (of the arm). According to Eyckle Wong, manager for the Physiotherapy Department at Matilda International Hospital (MIH), not only is there no medical evidence to prove that such a movement can reflect the level of health and fitness, the twisting and yanking can easily cause bodily injury. The only plausible explanations that some people may be able to complete the movement could be due to a person’s comparatively supple shoulder, a longer-than-usual arm, or a thin upper arm.

Proper ways to assess fitness

To perform a proper health check, health care professionals will measure a person’s weight, height, blood pressure, as well as results from blood analysis or imaging tests. In addition to a health assessment, a physical fitness assessment will provide a more scientific picture on a person’s physical fitness level.

At MIH, physiotherapists conduct and supervise the physical fitness assessments. The subject will go through different prescribed activities to measure his or her physical condition, like body composition, muscle strength and endurance, lung capacity, agility, and suppleness.

Intensity of activity decided by age and individual health condition

A strong body requires a normal weight and muscle strength, and the ability to sustain an activity for a period of time (endurance). In daily life, it is easy to train ourselves to attain a stronger body, such as walking, jogging, or taking up other medium intensity aerobic activities. 

How intense an activity a person can take up differs according to age, and can be measured, and monitored, by heart beats per minute. A medium intensity target heart rate would be within a 60 percent to 80 percent range of the maximum heart rate. To find out one’s own target heart rate for medium intensity exercise, subtract one’s age from 220, and multiply by 60 or 80 percent.

The commitment to clock up at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week and to maintain a balanced diet is already going a long way to keeping diseases at bay, whilst an annual health assessment programme helps measure health status, and manage risks early.

The Physiotherapy Department at Matilda International Hospital provides treatment, post-surgery rehabilitation and body strengthening services. To book a consultation, please call 2849 0760 or email [email protected].