Author Topic: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?  (Read 24873 times)

DougStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« on: February 27, 2014, 05:48:11 PM »
In the spirit of Jacob over at Early Retirement Extreme, I'd like to start a list of physical activities a healthy homo sapien should be able to perform.  I'm sure many can (and will!) argue with this benchmark, but let's use it as a starting point.

Quote
I am not especially talented in the physical department, yet I would consider it normal to, without preparation and prior training other than your daily commute, to be able to run 10 miles, walk 30 miles, and bike 50 miles.

The major downfall of Jacob's list is that it only includes cardio/endurance activities, and this would lead to a very weak upper body.  I would like to expand upon this list, but keep it to more "primitive" things if possible.  For example, rather than bench your body weight (this requires gear), do 100 pushups.  One other amendment I'd like to make is that rather than these being "without preparation", I would prefer them to be "a constant state of fitness, not a peak".

Please, help me expand upon this list, or suggest adjustments where it may be unrealistic in either direction.

A healthy homo sapien should be able to:
ORIGINAL LIST:
  • Run 10 miles
  • Walk 30 miles
  • Bike 50 miles
  • Complete 100 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 3(?) minutes

UPDATED LIST:
  • Run 5 miles in 45 minutes
  • Walk 15 miles @ 20 min/mile assuming flat terrain
  • Bike 25 miles @ 15 mph assuming road bike and flat terrain
  • Swim 1 mile
  • Complete 50 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 2 minutes (I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back spine)
  • Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)
  • Bench Press Bodyweight x5
  • Touch your toes without bending your knees
  • Move your belongings down a flight of stairs / into a moving truck (excluding furniture / or with help of a friend)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 10:15:25 AM by DougStache »

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2841
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 05:56:53 PM »
Are these all to be done without stopping?

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 06:11:00 PM »
PHILOSOPHY TIME

one item:
the capability for their body/mind to support anything they want to do. I wouldn't even say "need", since that comes off to me as a little too SHTF/prepperesque, and those people will "want" that capability on their own.

obviously that list is going to be different for everybody. some people are never going to want to walk 30 miles. some people are never going to want to lift heavy things. not much sense IMO in me prescribing my list to everybody else.

not that I even have one

DougStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 06:12:59 PM »
Are these all to be done without stopping?
No, this is not a pentathlon.  ;)

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4608
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 06:26:56 PM »
Swim one mile without drowning.
10 pull ups maybe?

Arguably, there should be a speed component to running. There is a huge difference in fitness in say, running a 10K in 60 minutes vs 45 minutes.

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3198
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 06:35:09 PM »
A healthy homo sapien should be able to:
  • Run 10 miles
  • Walk 30 miles
  • Bike 50 miles
  • Complete 100 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 3(?) minutes
Speaking as a healthy 53-year-old who's been Navy fit for his entire life:  you're gonna have to break this down by age categories.

I'm capable of doing all of those things right now, and I could probably finish them between breakfasts, but the price of physical recovery would be hellacious.

Our dojang's black belt qualification test is 100 pushups in two minutes, and 100 situps in two minutes (separate events).  Those requirements were independent of age.  The two-mile run varies from an eight-minute mile pace for the teens to ten-minute miles for us geezers.

Dr. Doom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
  • Age: 42
  • Location: East Coaster
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 06:46:46 PM »
  • Run 10 miles
  • Walk 30 miles
  • Bike 50 miles
  • Complete 100 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 3(?) minutes

So I'm a pretty healthy guy -- I work out 6 out of 7 days a week for a min. of 45 minutes, heavy sweating, no excuses -- but parts of this list skew toward "Extreme Fitness" and away from "healthy."

If I have to exercise and also go to work for the day, then halving the above cardio goals seems about right, e.g. run 5 miles, bike 25.  Otherwise I won't be doing much at the office.  If pressed, like survival was at stake, I could do any of the above, but it'd be a struggle and I wouldn't enjoy doing routines like that on a regular basis.

To measure "health" i.e. reasonable fitness, rather than extreme fitness, I'd halve all of the above goals.   Also agree with comments about intensity and age adjustments.

+1 on Paul's pull-up comment.  Highly underrated exercise, like squats for your upper body.  10 is about right for health. 

You could also add burpees, which are pretty rough.  Doing 100 in one session is brutal.

prodarwin

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 302
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 06:57:17 PM »
10 pullups
Body weight bench press x 5

Stats for females would be different I'd guess.

Side note:  I did see a girl knock out ~19 pullups at the Tough Mudder I went to a few months back.  It was hot

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2014, 07:07:08 PM »
Perhaps ability to deadlift a certain percentage of body weight?

Mostly I just wanted to chime in to agree philosophically with this idea.  I am certainly not athletic but sometimes it feels like getting to my thirties without becoming overweight or suffering any injuries has put me in the top echelons of physical capability.  "You walk twenty blocks to work??"  Or the fact that my job is fairly physically easy but we get given jurisdiction over a lot of things because apparently most people are "unsafe at any speed" when it comes to walking over obstacles, lifting anything over ten pounds, climbing a ladder, etc.

I am all for making accommodations for the handicapped, but it seems like we now need to baby-proof the entire world.

One of my pet peeves is the philosophy that people are at their physical peak in high school.  I think the majority of people are "late bloomers" who develop their coordination and/or strength later.  However, by that time, they have decided they lack physical prowess and/or that physical activity is punishment. 

DougStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 08:29:49 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.  Being a moderately healthy 28 year old, I naively disregarded the age aspect.  I'm going to make this list for someone who is ~30 and halve the values as suggested.  If there is a wide variety of activities on the list, I think halving it makes a lot of sense.  What other exercises/benchmarks could be added?

  • Run 5 miles in 45 minutes
  • Walk 15 miles
  • Bike 25 miles
  • Swim 1 mile
  • Complete 50 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 2 minutes (I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)
  • Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)
  • Bench Press Bodyweight x5

Mostly I just wanted to chime in to agree philosophically with this idea.  I am certainly not athletic but sometimes it feels like getting to my thirties without becoming overweight or suffering any injuries has put me in the top echelons of physical capability.  "You walk twenty blocks to work??"  Or the fact that my job is fairly physically easy but we get given jurisdiction over a lot of things because apparently most people are "unsafe at any speed" when it comes to walking over obstacles, lifting anything over ten pounds, climbing a ladder, etc.
This is one of the main reasons I'm constructing this list.  Your point is very true, especially in office jobs.  People at work cannot imagine the fact that I bike 9 miles each way to work, because their life consists of sitting and walking to their car, but I think nothing of it.

prodarwin

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 302
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 08:42:06 PM »


The pullup # is scary.  For every one of us that can do 20 pullups there are 20 people who can't do one?  And for everyone who can do 10, there are 10 more people who can't do one?

It takes a lot to bring the average down to just 1.

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3172
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2014, 08:55:27 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.  Being a moderately healthy 28 year old, I naively disregarded the age aspect.  I'm going to make this list for someone who is ~30 and halve the values as suggested.  If there is a wide variety of activities on the list, I think halving it makes a lot of sense.  What other exercises/benchmarks could be added?

  • Run 5 miles in 45 minutes
  • Walk 15 miles
  • Bike 25 miles
  • Swim 1 mile
  • Complete 50 pushups within five minutes
  • Hold a plank for 2 minutes (I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)
  • Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)
  • Bench Press Bodyweight x5
[/b]
[/list]

Mostly I just wanted to chime in to agree philosophically with this idea.  I am certainly not athletic but sometimes it feels like getting to my thirties without becoming overweight or suffering any injuries has put me in the top echelons of physical capability.  "You walk twenty blocks to work??"  Or the fact that my job is fairly physically easy but we get given jurisdiction over a lot of things because apparently most people are "unsafe at any speed" when it comes to walking over obstacles, lifting anything over ten pounds, climbing a ladder, etc.
This is one of the main reasons I'm constructing this list.  Your point is very true, especially in office jobs.  People at work cannot imagine the fact that I bike 9 miles each way to work, because their life consists of sitting and walking to their car, but I think nothing of it.

I think the strength measures need to be adjusted for gender, as well as age.  I can deadlift 110% of my bodyweight, but my bench press is paltry, like maybe 75# (I usually do other exercises rather than strict bench), can't do unassisted pullups, and strict pushups are really difficult.  And I'm doing a dumbbell row with 40#, which is way more than I see most other women in the gym touch, ever.

Little Nell

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 09:24:24 PM »
homo sapiens is the the way to write it. There is no such word as sapien.

I was told by a professor that everyone should, in their lifetime, build a wall, write a book, raise a child. YMMV.


Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 09:26:16 PM »
I don't think you're going to get one list that fits all, because even healthy people's bodies vary too much.  As for instance, I probably could walk until I fell asleep (especially on fairly level ground), and bike until my butt got sore, but my running is limited to trotting maybe half a mile with the horse at a time.  (In large part because when I'm not with the horse, I'm carrying a pack with water, dog bowl, extra layers of clothing, &c, and I've never found one that doesn't bounce uncomfortably when I run.)

Likewise, when I get back to having two arms that can bear weight, I could probably do the pushups & planks, but I simply can't do a standard situp: shoulders are too heavy, and legs too short, so I wind up doing ab crunches instead.  And distance swimming is hard for me: where most people float, I sink.

Quote
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 09:28:34 PM by Jamesqf »

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 09:40:55 PM »
Yeah, different people have different abilities. I also noticed that this list seems to focus on strength and stamina, but nothing about flexibility. For example, I have a tough time with traditional pushups, but find full back bridge pushups much easier, whereas other people might have the opposite experience. I can also do the splits and I think cartwheels are easy and fun, but someone else might struggle with those, while breezing through some things that I find more difficult. I notice this a lot in my martial arts class. If we do a certain exercise you may think one person is much fitter and more capable than the others, but then we start training something else and it's another person's time to shine.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8767
  • Registered member
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2014, 09:48:15 PM »
Read some more ERE: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/attaining-the-right-weight.html

Quote
So what is the “right weight”. It is whatever weight where you can do the following. Suppose you’re a guy and weighs 175lbs. Then I think you should be able to lift a total of 5000 pounds from the ground to overhead (no need to floor or deadhang it, just move the weight from somewhere under your knees to a 0.1 second lockout) in ten minutes. That’s like 50 reps of 100lbs. I would consider that decent. If you can do 10000lbs I would consider that amazing (you’re a better man than I then). If you weigh more, just scale linearly e.g. 200lbs turns into 200/175*5000=5714lbs. Women on a weight to weight basis should reduce this by about 25% for physiological reasons (different body compositions), so if you’re a 130lbs woman, the number is 5000*130/175*(1-0.25)= 2785lbs from the ground to overhead in 10 minutes.

That said, I certainly couldn't run for an hour without stopping (10 miles would be at least that long for most people)

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28015
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2014, 09:55:57 PM »
+1 to all those saying it depends on the person.

I think Russ summed it up perfectly:
PHILOSOPHY TIME

one item:
the capability for their body/mind to support anything they want to do. I wouldn't even say "need", since that comes off to me as a little too SHTF/prepperesque, and those people will "want" that capability on their own.

obviously that list is going to be different for everybody. some people are never going to want to walk 30 miles. some people are never going to want to lift heavy things. not much sense IMO in me prescribing my list to everybody else.

not that I even have one

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

fadedsunrise

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2014, 10:32:09 PM »
As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.

Tacosrocket

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Colorado
  • Stop looking at my personal text, gosh
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2014, 10:41:17 PM »
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go its whole life believing it is stupid.

I can't even imagine mustering up the desire to bike 25 miles, forget doing it. I could work for 10 and be satisfied, maybe. You don't need to be competitive in order to be happy with the shape you're in.

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2841
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2014, 12:03:38 AM »
Are these all to be done without stopping?
No, this is not a pentathlon.  ;)

Nice.  No, I meant - for example - running 10 miles without stopping to walk.  If so, I think these are over the top goals.  A healthy human should probably be able to do one of those, but not all.

 As an example, consider varsity athletes (high school or college).  These are probably the healthiest people out there, and yet very few could run 10 miles without stopping.  Even when I was in top form for soccer, and could play a 90 minute game without a sub, I'm pretty sure I could never run 10 miles at a time.  The only people I know who can ran cross country, or now run for fun.  That's great for them, but pointless for everyone else.  And 100 push-ups are great, but I think the only people I know who could do that in two minutes or so were (male) gymnasts.  I've known a number of elite female gymnasts, and at most one could do 100 push-ups at a time.  If this measure doesn't work for essentially half of humans, it can't be a very good measure of what a healthy person can do.

If otherwise very healthy athletes can't do most of these, I don't think they're good measures of activities that healthy humans should be able to do.  I'm not sure what the lines should be, but they need to include people generally acknowledged as healthy.

galliver

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1891
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2014, 12:17:47 AM »
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I don't hike as often as I'd like but my bf and I walked about 14-15 miles along the Chicago lakefront last September (flat, but on concrete), and then did a 14-15 mile hike just before New Years in California (not sure what the elevation change was, but it was 6 miles steeply uphill to start), and both times definitely started to hurt at the end. Now, we aren't in the best shape we could be, but I do go to the gym a couple times a week typically, to run, swim, rock climb, and/or work with a personal trainer. I'm nowhere near an athlete and I have some extra pounds, but I'm not a blob.

In high school, when I wasn't an athlete either, but I did hike more regularly (typically in the 5-10 mile range), I did the Purdue Outing Club Adventure Race with my mom and two of her friends. One of whom was in excellent shape. The race course is ~48 miles as the crow flies. You probably cover more like 50-60 over 48 hours with minimal sleep. By the end of that ALL of our quadriceps were shot and we were literally hobbling. I was fine 2 maybe 3 days later; fit friend was probably fine the next day.

I think, and I'm not an expert on anatomy by any stretch, that after a few hours of exercise, unless you exercise that long on a regular basis, you hit a wall on your muscular endurance. Just because you can run for 1-1.5 hr or bike for 4 doesn't mean you can walk for 8-10 without repercussions...am I wrong?

galliver

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1891
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2014, 12:34:37 AM »
For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8767
  • Registered member
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2014, 02:43:37 AM »
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.

greaper007

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1129
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2014, 03:54:09 AM »
For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.

Thank you.   I'm in reasonably good shape and could probably bike 50 miles if I tried, I've run half a marathon, but I don't think I've ever walked that far.

Still, I'm not built like a runner or a power lifter.   I'm somewhere in between.    I think I got really lucky not getting an injury when I trained for my half marathon so I (wisely) decided not to train for the full event.

I think things like this list are half of whats wrong with the idea of fitness in America.   We're either grossly obese or obsessed with ridiculously extreme events.    We should strive for something in between.   Aim to be able to carry moderately heavy objects from your house to the car, to be able to walk a reasonable distance, say three miles.   And strive to live an injury free lifestyle.   

The last one is what I take to heart.   My father has had something like 10 surgeries related to sports injuries from his childhood.   He cracked his knee cap in half wrestling in college, and couldn't stop running (he said no other cardio gave him as good as a high) in his 30s and 40s, so he had to have an artificial knee replacement in his early 50s.   His back is screwed up from pulling Gs and having to eject, he had elbow surgery from throwing curve balls too early.   And most of all, he and my uncles are all shorter than me because they cut weight in high school to wrestle in more competitive weight divisions.   

My goal now is to stay in moderately good shape by lifting weights and doing cardio 3-4 days a week.   I think it's working.   I'm 6' 178, I look fine without my shirt on.   Most importantly though, I don't push it and I've never had a sports related injury beyond a sprained ankle (pushed it on a 14er).

Big Boots Buddha

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
  • Age: 38
  • Location: NE China
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2014, 03:56:54 AM »
As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.

The splits thing is pretty cool. I work on my flexibility for squats (my hips are tight) but thats extreme.

Its also such a big difference between men and women with strength I often forget.

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5338
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2014, 05:38:24 AM »
I agree with those that said Age/Gender play an important role in this as well. And everybody had different strengths /weakeness's depending on there body type and muscle twitch.

The one thing I would however incorporate is some kind of Core stuff.  Even something as simple as Burpies. A person should be able to do 25 and the more fit you get you can add a medicine ball. Running stairs for cardio. Shorter intense workouts are better than lolly gagging walking for 30miles.  I do think you should be able to bench your weight ten times for men.  But I would consider as I said some Core stuff besides holding a plank to round out your cardio and strength stuff.

BPA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1191
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2014, 05:51:26 AM »
Hauling $60 worth of groceries up three flights of stairs.
Cycling 10 km (the furthest store I shop at/place I go regularly) regardless of headwind.
Enough flexibility so that when I'm doing housework/yardwork I'm not grunting.
Sprinting for the bus when necessary.
Running 5k without losing bladder control.
Yay!  I can do those things and hope not to lose them.  Will keep working at it.


And used to be:  pushing two toddlers in a double stroller uphill for 2 km  (up part of the Niagara Escarpment) on our way from the park.  :)

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2014, 06:13:20 AM »
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?
not 30, but I did a casual 20 last fall. I took a weekend trip to Chicago via bus to meet a friend, and so the day I came back I walked from our hotel to the bus stop there (4-5 miles), then from the bus stop in Madison back to my apartment out in the sticks (a little over 15). This was carrying a very large, heavy, and not at all ergonomic courier bag, and in a pair of Chucks which are by no means good walking shoes. Felt good enough afterward to ride my bicycle to work the next day. I'm very confident I could do 30 unencumbered without any problem, even though the only exercise I get is my daily bike commute.
Quote
I think, and I'm not an expert on anatomy by any stretch, that after a few hours of exercise, unless you exercise that long on a regular basis, you hit a wall on your muscular endurance. Just because you can run for 1-1.5 hr or bike for 4 doesn't mean you can walk for 8-10 without repercussions...am I wrong?

kinda sorta. there's a wall somewhere, but the intensity of walking is sooooo low that if your regular daily walk isn't noticeably difficult then you can probably do it for a very long time. an endurance limit for running or biking is much more apparent because you're working at least 3-4 times harder. also, much of an endurance limit is mental. recovery is a whole different issue. for example, nords could probably walk 30 miles just as easily as anybody else here, but self-admittedly his recovery time would be a little longer. Once you get into the swing of doing something, it doesn't necessarily hurt until you're stopped for a while.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 06:35:35 AM by Russ »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14042
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2014, 06:23:52 AM »
Typically, once a person gets past the "I'm a noob and every kind of exercise works wonders for me" phase of training they specialize in something.  Specializing in strength will limit your ability in cardio training since you will carry more mass on your frame.  Specializing in cardio type training will limit your strength since your body will eat away at your muscle.  With cardio there is also the difference between short bursts of explosive exercise and long regular repetition.  Both of which force different adaptations.  You also have people who specialize in being generalists . . . those who are OK at a bunch of things but excel at none.

None of these adaptations is inherently bad or good.  But it makes it virtually impossible to set any meaningful type of across the board 'exercise standard'.  The best you can aim for is to compare standards for a particular activity broken up by weight, age, and sex.


DougStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2014, 06:46:39 AM »
I added the updated list to the original post, since most folks are commenting on the 10-30-50 metrics a lot since they've been amended; I agree, those were quite extreme for a baseline.

As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.
Thank you for bringing up flexibility.  This is one of my personal weak points, something I always overlook, and something I need to work on.  I will add "touching your toes without bending your knees" to the list.

-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
This is an awesome "functional" metric.  Adding this to the list.

I think things like this list are half of whats wrong with the idea of fitness in America.   We're either grossly obese or obsessed with ridiculously extreme events.    We should strive for something in between.   
Actually, I am trying to avoid precisely what you are concerned with here.  The updated list (not the original 10-30-50) should much better meet your criteria.  This includes having the ability to: bike across the average town for an errand, explore a city by foot, maintain an elevated heart rate for about an hour, having functional strength and a stable core (this will help prevent injury in day to day tasks like gardening and moving things).

I am not trying to divvy us up into a gold bucket and a brown bucket; really, I am trying to set goals.  For example: running/biking/pull ups come easy to me, however my flexibility is lacking.  Swimming I can do but have to train for.  I probably could not hold a 2 minute plank if I got down on the ground right now.  Although a year ago I could bench my body weight, that's pretty damn unlikely today.  This shows me things that I need to work on, and I'm hoping others can get the same out of it.

Drew

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2014, 06:49:08 AM »
I could do the last half of the updated list without breaking a sweat.  The first half of the list I could probably do each one individually, but I would be dying and sucking wind/puking when I finish.  Do I get extra points for benching my bodyweight for 23 reps? :)

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28015
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2014, 07:18:40 AM »
I added the updated list to the original post, since most folks are commenting on the 10-30-50 metrics a lot since they've been amended; I agree, those were quite extreme for a baseline.

Thanks for leaving the original list.  Drives me nuts when people edit an OP and then half the subsequent discussion doesn't make sense because it's based on the old, removed info.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

MustachianAccountant

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
  • Age: 41
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2014, 07:32:49 AM »
As a female martial arts student, my goals are this:
1. full side splits
2. full front splits, both sides
3. deadlift 100% bodyweight
4. squat 100% bodyweight
5. at least 1 actual pullup

Unfortunately, I seem to have the hardest time with pullups. My upper body just seems to keep shrinking the more I workout, whereas I'm getting to somewhere like 75% of bodyweight for both lower body exercises. I am 85% to one front split, but barely past 50 on the other two flexibility exercises.

Like all things, I guess I'm just deficient.

One of the best things for pullups (all upper body, really) is to get into rock climbing. Apologies if you don't have a rock gym near you.
The mix of mental problem solving required to get up the wall + total body strength + flexibility is workout zen for my wife and I.

MustachianAccountant

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
  • Age: 41
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2014, 07:39:50 AM »
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.

There's a section of the Appalachian Trail called the "Quad State." You start in VA, go through WV, MD, and end in PA. The challenge is to be in 4 states in a 24 hour period. It's not particularly challenging terrain, but it is ~45 miles in 24 hours.

I tried it once. I got ~35 miles in ~16 hours, and I was DONE. And I am reasonably healthy. 30 miles, while doable, is an "Extreme" challenge, not "Normal Activity."

jba302

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 623
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2014, 08:00:45 AM »
I like to think of my fitness goals in terms of things I think I should be able to without feeling like I'm going to die and/or be useless the next day. Some generally useful things that have actually come up in the past are-
-carry a pack 1/3 my bw for 10 miles over difficult terrain
-fireman's carry my BW for... I dunno, half mile?
-have the balance to walk across a single-plank bridge
-push my car 400m
-sprint 800m (this one might happen someday)
-pick up my wife / kids off the ground and carry them to the car 100-200m
-chop and buck a reasonable tree
-do somewhat of a splits / have the general flexibility to do things without risking strains

I figure if I squat 2x bw, deadlift 3x bw, ohp bw, bench 1.5x bw, and do my HIIT training (someday...) I should be a pretty physically useful individual.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10774
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #35 on: February 28, 2014, 08:19:43 AM »

One of my pet peeves is the philosophy that people are at their physical peak in high school.  I think the majority of people are "late bloomers" who develop their coordination and/or strength later.  However, by that time, they have decided they lack physical prowess and/or that physical activity is punishment.

Thank you!! this is one of the MOST misunderstood concepts in human physiology.  People constantly cite that "peak" fitness occurs during the late teens, and then use examples from certain sports (e.g. the average age of the US Olympic squad is about 16 years old) or stats about the general public to 'confirm' their belief that peak fitness happens so early.
People don't weaker in their early 20s because of their biology, they get weaker because of our lifestyles.
Some examples - all of the top 10 finishers at the '13 boston marathon were over 26 (4 of them were >30).  The average age of MLB pitchers is over 27, and many have their most dominant years in their early 30s.  Tour de France finalists are even older.  (Admittedly drugs probably played a factor with both catagories in recent decades).  The gold in nordic combined skiing at the Sochi olympics went to Havard Klemetsen, age 35. On the more finesse side, the average age of PGA golfers is over 35,

The examples are everywhere; well trained athletes in their late 20s and early 30s routinely dominate younger participants. In our 20s and 30s we get out of shape because of our lifestyles, not our biology.

adesertsky

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 78
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2014, 08:27:44 AM »
This makes way more sense.  I've been running for a few years -5ks to half marathons plus x-training via trail biking- and have never been able to do 5 miles in 45 minutes (maybe 46 or 47, though, but only after training).  I wouldn't expect a healthy person with no prior training to just pick up and do that unless they had a natural inclination for it.

For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2014, 12:42:25 PM »
The examples are everywhere; well trained athletes in their late 20s and early 30s routinely dominate younger participants. In our 20s and 30s we get out of shape because of our lifestyles, not our biology.

Even beyond that, it's still much more lifestyle/lack of training than mere age.  I'm well beyond that age, and as far as I can tell, the only major difference is that it takes longer to get everything 'warmed up'.  Where in my 20s, I'd just head out on say a stiff uphill hike, now it takes around a quarter to half a mile to hit a nice easy stride that I can keep up all day.

Just as an example, last weekend I went out for a hike up a fairly small (but nice view from the top) local mountain with a couple of my regular hiking/horse riding friends.  While I've never been so rude as to ask their ages, both have grandkids.  They brought along 3 college age kids who wanted to go on the hike, too.  First half mile, they were bouncing around impatiently.  Halfway up, they gave up and headed back to their car, while us 'old folks' strolled on up to the top.

Mrs WW

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2014, 02:12:26 PM »
I see a confusion between healthy and fit here. My grandparents and their friends can be used as examples:

All extremely healthy except the long time smokers, they were throughout their WHOLE adult lives up into at least their late eighties able to:

bike for very long distances 20 kilometers or so (this would be done for transportation, to go see a friend that lived where the bus didnt go or to go to the best blueberry wood to pick etc), going up steep hills and walking them when too heavy.

Turn a potato field (back yard kind) in a day and plant it the next

Bend down and pick something up from the floor without sitting down or loosing balance.

Swim across the lake in the summer because thats what they did very summer.

All these things that they had always been able to do; and never running a dedicated kilometer or weight lifting a kilo in their lives. Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

To me thats healthy, the rest is merely icing on the (fitness) cake!

If I could add something to the modified list it would be

"have the ability to make love for as long as you like without ever having to think about if you can handle it fitness wise." this would be a life long goal.

galliver

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1891
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2014, 02:51:12 PM »
Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2014, 03:20:30 PM »
Just wondering who here has actually walked 30 miles (fairly) continuously recently?

I once hiked all day.  Can't remember how many actual miles.  But yes, it hurt.  The blisters more than the muscles.

There's a section of the Appalachian Trail called the "Quad State." You start in VA, go through WV, MD, and end in PA. The challenge is to be in 4 states in a 24 hour period. It's not particularly challenging terrain, but it is ~45 miles in 24 hours.

I tried it once. I got ~35 miles in ~16 hours, and I was DONE. And I am reasonably healthy. 30 miles, while doable, is an "Extreme" challenge, not "Normal Activity."

I was going to offer the Appalachian trail as my context of reference too.  Many people I met considered 20 to be a good day.  If you did 20 milers for three days, you were considered to be hauling pretty well and could be understandably pooped each night.  However, that is with a fully loaded pack and rough terrain.  With someone else carrying your water and snacks and on level terrain, 30 seems more reasonable.

Maybe a good list would let you choose 3 out 10 or something.  3 of the things you have to be capable of the "extreme" (e.g., 30 miles), the rest you just have to hit a lower baseline.  That would allow for the specialization of your particular physiology.  It might also allow for gender differences.

Mrs WW

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2014, 03:39:15 PM »
Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.

Nope, just move around a lot more, all the time. If you're stuck at a desk, get up and move about every fifteen minutes, or even just adjust your posture, stretch your arms or whatever. Work at an adjustable desk so that you can stand up, if you want a real workout stand on a balance plate. This kind of movement should only benefit your mental capacities and abilities and thereby the advancement of society!

I work a high stress, high performance job that has the potential to tie me to a desk with a computer for long days on end, but I also work with an increasing number of a new kind of office space that benefits the workers personally and job-performance wise as well as the economy of the company. Google activity based workspace/workplace/working if you want to know more. (I'm an architect btw)

I believe that a large amount of movement in every day life is the very humble foundation of health that we all can build for ourselves. Dedicated exercise is great, but its not the only path to a healthy and strong body.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 03:41:12 PM by Mrs WW »

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2014, 03:40:01 PM »
So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.

Even with a desk job, you can find opportunities for little bits of physical activity throughout the day.  How many of your fellow desk employees take an elevator for a floor or two, instead of the stairs?  Or spend time driving around the parking lot to avoid walking a few extra steps?

wtjbatman

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1313
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Missouri
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2014, 09:44:00 PM »
I can lift a hundred pounds right up over my head.

Nords

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3198
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Oahu
    • Military Retirement & Financial Independence blog
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2014, 10:08:06 PM »
Quote
What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
I finally dragged up that oft-repeated Heinlein quote:

Quote
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2014, 10:24:15 PM »
I finally dragged up that oft-repeated Heinlein quote:

Proof that you haven't been reading the whole thread.  I posted the quote yesterday :-)

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2014, 10:28:22 PM »
Work hard, keep moving all day long (no sitting or lying about accepted until evening falls) and lift the heavy things that come across your path without thinking. Go do the hard things, but do not bemoan them, just do, go, pick up, climb or whatever and enjoy yourself doing it. And keep doing it until you're old and have a real excuse not to.

So...are you saying we should all have manual labor jobs? I mean, that might do for a healthy lifestyle and obviously we need some of that. But I believe to contribute to the advancement of society we need mental labor, too. And what you've described isn't really compatible with desk jobs.

I feel like this would require an MMM-style crusade to convince people otherwise.  As someone who does not have a desk job it is annoying to me that people assume I do not do mental labor simply because I am also working with my hands and body.  Mental labor doesn't have to equal desk job, that is how society has defined it.  For centuries privilege and education and mental labor have been tangled together and I think the drive to distinguish a mental laborer from a "lower" physical laborer is what has caused us to strip mental labor of as many aspects of physical effort as possible even when it's completely unnecessary.  Sure, most mental labor is not going to require as much exertion as ditch digging, but think of any school teacher you know.  Using your brain doesn't have to mean turning off your body any more than all physical activity is mindless.

*(warning, general rant, may be responding to more far-reaching things than covered by your actual comment.)

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2014, 10:33:18 PM »
I finally dragged up that oft-repeated Heinlein quote:

Proof that you haven't been reading the whole thread.  I posted the quote yesterday :-)

or you're not just on my ignore list ;-)

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #48 on: March 01, 2014, 03:42:48 AM »
For the record, I would put it like this. A healthy teenage to middle age person should be able to:

-Jog 2 miles continuously at their own pace (less than 40 mins, because that's walking)
-Walk/hike 5 miles (8 if flat) in under 3 hours
-Move their own stuff up/down a flight of stairs, not including furniture (Lift&carry a U-haul "small box" of books)
-Do 20 sit ups, any style.

This is the lower limit of my perception of 'healthy.' If someone can't do something like this, then either
(a) their longest walk/physical activity is around the grocery store once a week, clearly not healthy
(b) they are physically unwell in some way that interferes, therefore not fitting the 'healthy person' criteria exactly (e.g. asthma makes cardio difficult, I hear).

I think the 10-30-50 criteria are more for someone who is very active and fit.

This sounds a lot more reasonable. I might also add that if you are under 60 and can't comfortably climb up to the fifth floor without stopping there is something wrong with you. Sadly I've seen that...

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1888
  • Age: 40
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: What should a healthy homo sapien be capable of?
« Reply #49 on: March 01, 2014, 10:32:55 AM »
Quote
Run 5 miles in 45 minutes
Walk 15 miles
Bike 25 miles
Swim 1 mile
Complete 50 pushups within five minutes
Hold a plank for 2 minutes (I'm advocating planks over sit ups; sit ups destroy your back)
Perform 10 pull ups (no kipping!)
Bench Press Bodyweight x5

Love the thread.

Firstly I would say if we are looking to define a standard it should be a STANDARD, no whining like 'oh but I am a weight lifter so I get out of the running part' a standard is a standard.  I would advocate a universal standard for men under say 40 and slightly different numbers for women under 40.  Then above that pull things back a bit. 

Also I might remove the biking and almost definitely the swimming as these are not 100% testing fitness but are in large part testing if you have trained to bike or trained to swim in past.

I have swam enough to have a half decent front crawl but unless you have spent real time in the water even if you know how to swim you probably dont have the efficiency or technique to swim that far.  This would be like adding body weight clean and press to the list, unless you have a good bit of experience with Olympic lifts you are just not going to be able to do it.

I have known strong runners (with ok marathon times) that were dead after five miles the first time on a bike, uses totally different muscles and unless you have put in the miles you just wont have those muscles.

With a days notice I could probably do most on the list, pullups I would probably drop off the bar around 6-7 (or start kipping :-) ) and my bench press is probably 50# below my body weight.  I think it fair to give the test with a two day warring, that would be a hard run the day after a squat day.