Quiz: How Active Are You Really?

How much time you spend at the gym isn’t the only way to gauge your fitness level. What you do—or don’t do—at home or at work can be telling. Take this quiz designed by Larysa DiDio, a personal trainer and owner of PFX Gym in Pleasantville, New York, to find out how actively you’re living. Grab a pencil to jot down your points, and let’s get started:

How many days a week do you do cardiovascular exercise, such as walk or jog?
0 to 1 day per week (1 point)
2 to 4 days per week (2 points)
5 to 7 days per week (3 points)

How long do your cardio sessions last?
Up to 15 minutes (1 point)
16 to 30 minutes (2 points)
More than 30 minutes (3 points)

How often do you strength train?
0 to 1 day per week (1 point)
2 to 3 days per week (2 points)
4-plus days per week (3 points)

How often do you take exercise classes like yoga or Pilates?
0 to 1 day per week (1 point)
2 to 4 days per week (2 points)
5 to 7 days per week (3 points)

When you have the choice of taking the stairs or the elevator, which one do you choose?
Stairs (1 point)
Elevator (0 points)

How do you get to work?
Drive (0 points)
Ride public transportation (1 point)
Walk or bike (2 points)

How many hours do you spend at the computer or watching TV each day?
3 or more hours (0 points)
1 to 2 hours (1 point)
Less than 1 hour (2 points)

How much time do you spend each day on household chores that make you sweat?
None (0 points)
Less than an hour (1 point)
1 to 2 hours (2 points)
2 or more hours (3 points)

Do you care for young children or grandchildren every day?
No (0 points)
Yes, up to 1 hour a day (1 point)
Yes, 1 to 2 hours (2 points)
Yes, 2 or more hours (3 points)

4 to 10 points: Consider starting an exercise program. Get the okay from your doctor, then start walking for 10 to 20 minutes three to four times a week. Increase the time you walk by 10 percent every week thereafter. Keep your heart rate in check by using the talk test—you should be able to talk to someone (but not at length), and you should be slightly out of breath. That will ensure that you’re working hard enough to get results—but not so hard that you’ll suffer an injury. Also, don’t forget about strength training, which helps increase lean-body mass, keeps your weight in check, and may even lower bad cholesterol levels. Start with three- to eight-pound weights and do two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions three times a week, suggests DiDio. Beginners can start with four to five different exercises. Check out a strength-training video at your local library or purchase one online (try www.gaiam.com, or www.collagevideo.com).

11 to 18 points: Great start. Now it’s time to amp up the program you’re on. Increase your walking speed, choose a hillier course or add weight to your body (wear a weight vest rather than carry weights; the latter isn’t good for your joints). Consider interval training, where you alternate between walking and jogging. For every minute you jog, rest for two minutes. Take your strength training to the next level by adding more exercises to your routine (advanced strength trainers can handle eight to ten different exercises).

19 to 24 points: Keep up the good work! You’re totally on the right track.


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