Ted Talks: How Do You Measure Strength?

By Ted Spiker

Strength —like beauty and perfect guac— is in the eye of the beholder. After all, one person’s strong is another person’s weak. Sure, there are universal standards for some medical categories (blood pressure, cholesterol and the like), and those benchmarks serve as one data point that can reveal something about our overall health and risks.

But strength? How do you measure the fortitude of a person? Strength —physical or mental— is relative to you and your ability to improve over time, not compared to anyone but yourself. With full understanding that strength means different things to different people, isn’t it time to come up with some standardized testing? WHY YES IT IS.

Strength test

Results: If you checked 10 or more boxes, congratulations! It means absolutely nothing. Or does it?

Ted Spiker (@ProfSpiker) is the chair of the University of Florida department of journalism, as well as a health and fitness writer. He is the author of DOWN SIZE, a book about the science and soul of weightloss and dieting.