How fit are you for your age? Try these simple tests to see how you measure up

3 July 2023

Dr Grace Rose from UQ's School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences spoke to House of Wellness about flexibility and strength indicators.   

These days, social media feeds are full of 90-year-olds completing gymnastic routines and 70-year-olds blitzing ninja warrior-style obstacle courses.

It’s unfair to pit ourselves against these outliers, but seeing them does beg the question: What’s the actual expected level of activity at each stage of life?

According to the World Health Organisation, physical inactivity is among the leading risk factors for death from noncommunicable disease.

Those who are not active enough have a 20-30 per cent greater chance of death compared to those who get sufficient exercise.

Should a person in their 40s be able to run 5km? What about their balance, flexibility and strength?

Squats and push-ups are useful indicators of your strength.

Dr Rose says a good benchmark of functional lower limb strength is that you should be able to complete 10-20 bodyweight squats, and more than this if you are in your 20s or 30s.

“An easy way you can measure your upper body strength and endurance is with a 30-second push-up test,” Dr Rose says.

“Women who are 40 years of age should be able to complete about 15 push-ups from the knees or seven from the toes, and men should be able to complete 15 push-ups from the toes – more if you are under 40 and less if you are over 40.”

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