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The 3-Minute Step Test

A DIY Fitness Assessment


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  • This is a helpful assessment but the article fails to explain a couple of things. 1. You must measure your heart rate BEFORE you start as well as immediately after, otherwise how do you know what your HR should be returning to? 2. What are the numbers in the chart? Are they the number of seconds it takes to return to "normal"? It doesn't say. 3. As has been observed by others, leg length is going to make a difference. I'm short - a 12" step is going to be harder work for me than a tall person with long legs - obviously. I guess the key here is not to take too much notice of the chart and focus on whether your results are improving rather than comparing yourself with other people. - 10/7/2016 12:39:49 AM
  • I used my tool box that doubles as a step. Handy thing.... it stores my tools and is exactly 12 inches high. I don't exactly understand the chart. Is that the heart rate you start with or the seconds for it to return to normal. - 3/26/2016 10:56:07 AM
  • I recommend using an ad blocker, very simple to do. I am not troubled by ads. They find other ways to get ads delivered to you but they don't cover up the articles. - 2/9/2016 1:59:58 PM
  • I bought a step from Canadian Tire two years ago. And I have only used it twice. But I would say go at your own pace if you need. Mine came with a dvd and I sure cannot keep up with it. So I go at my own pace until I get better. I don't usually go by my heart rate. But it sure reminds me to get my step out and now that I think of it I should just leave out so its there, then maybe I will use it more. I'm glad that I read this article now I know what I need to do when I don't feel like doing anything, which is almost every day. But I might just use my step. thanks
    - 2/9/2016 5:54:08 AM
  • Okay, I've noticed other people realized this too: this article says to take your heart rate RIGHT after the 3-minutes of takes longer than 2 seconds (providing that's how long it takes you to sit down on the bench/step) for your heart rate to return to normal. - 2/5/2016 10:26:19 AM
  • Opening the article in Safari helps with the chart being covered by ads (it's not in Safari).

    But I have to say, of all the fitness tests, this one is the least helpful because of the recommendation to always use a 12" step. A 5'1" person will have to use a LOT more cardio effort than a 6'5" person. Male or female. I'm talking leg length and the amount of effort it takes to raise that leg from the ground up to a 12" step. It's easier for taller people, and therefore the charts should really be broken down into height or leg length, not just age and male/female. - 10/26/2015 2:45:49 PM
  • Definitely doesn't work for those of us who are on certain heart meds. - 7/23/2015 12:34:34 PM
  • I agree with the women, their chart is covered by an AD. If you pull up the "print" option under the "MORE" button, it will give you a "pop-up" window that you can see the chart without the ad. .... as a side note, this article seems incomplete. - 2/21/2015 10:33:29 AM
  • The ads cover the chart for women. How are we supposed to read it? - 1/30/2015 8:58:39 PM
  • The ads cover the chart for women. How are we supposed to read it? - 1/30/2015 8:58:27 PM
    It says the test is to see how fast your heart rate returns to normal but it only has you measure your heart rate after the exercise, before it returns to normal, and it does not have you chart your normal heart rate. Very poor instructions/explanations. - 1/29/2015 7:24:52 PM
  • This is an informative article. The chart for women, however, is blocked by advertising (I'm viewing this on my desktop computer).

    Would be so much more useful/helpful if the information was viewable.
    - 1/29/2015 10:27:39 AM
  • Another test where the chart for women in my age range is blocked by the How Fit Are You? link. - 9/28/2014 10:53:53 AM
  • I can tell by how easier it is to recover after walking that my fittiness level is improving. I know I need to up the pressure when I get to the point I am not breathing hard after walking. - 9/2/2014 3:16:13 PM
    Did I miss where it said to determine normal? ? - 5/11/2014 2:18:18 PM

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