Sedentary lifestyle? If you are not living on the Serengeti or in the Arctic you are most likely familiar with what this article talks about. You are probably taking the car to work in the morning then taking the elevator up to your office floor where you sit at your desk for most of the time.

Modern day conveniences like elevators or cars have made life very sedentary for most of mankind. The little physical activity a person nowadays gets mostly comes from going walking across the street to a restaurant or bar and has amounted to the increase in child- and adult obesity problem as well as to many other modern day disease such as Type II diabetes or stroke.  

The WHO recently published a paper stating sedentary lifestyle is now the #1 cause of death in the western world. On the upside the outcomes can be a now used as a tool for getting a grasp on this reality. Hopefully the prescription of physical activity and referrals to personal trainers, fitness coaches, gym facilities and athletic clubs will now be widely addressed by GP’s and specialists across the world, the way it should have long before this paper was due.

The following steps are a good way to assess your physical condition (and its insufficiency): 

  • Take 3-4 flights of stairs (3-4 floors that is).
    You are ok in case you are you able to perform this activity without getting out of breath. If you get out of breath your cardiovascular condition and leg strength are not sufficient.
  • Go for a hike to a nearby small mountain or hill (not the Mount Everest or Annapurna).
    If you arrive to be picked up by the helicopter for return, your physical endurance is probably insufficient.
  • The Ruffier Functional Test
    The efficiency of your cardiovascular fitness can be measured by using this test, which addresses the functional state of your cardiovascular system.
  1. Sit for 5 minutes and rest. After 5 minute take measure your heart rate and write it down under S1.
  2. After measuring your heart rate and writing it down, you perform 30 squats in 45 seconds. Measure your heart rate immediately after the last squat and write it down under S2.
  3. Then sit for 1 minute calming down your heart rate and after exactly 60 seconds measure your heart rate again and write it down under S3.

Calculate the Ruffier Index (RI) as follows  (S1+S2+S3 – 200) / 10

RI Evaluation:

0 – 3,0 Excellent cardiovascular condition
3,1 – 7,0 Good cardiovascular condition
7,1 – 12 Average cardiovascular condition
12,1 – 15 Poor cardiovascular condition
Over 15 Very poor cardiovascular condition

If you have scored anywhere between 7,1 and 15 you should increase the amount of daily physical activity.
If you have scored 15 or more you should see a physician or expert personal trainer before getting started with exercise.  30 minutes of walking on a daily basis is not considered physical exercise and should be part of a healthy routine for weight control and disease prevention.