Physical things all men should be able to do at 40

It’s the new 30, after all – and someone’s got to keep the Dad-Strength legends going.

No need to hop onto one those heart rate machines at Boots, if you really want to know if your fitness is up to scratch just take our quick test.

We asked the almost 40-something Joel Snape, editor-at-large at the brilliant Men’s Fitness magazine, to set some markers for good health in your fourth decade.

Jog up an escalator

They’re there for good reasons: babies, the elderly, school trips and people who don’t know how to pack efficiently. You, as a self-respecting able-bodied gent, should treat mechanised stairs with the contempt they deserve: by taking the left-hand lane at a brisk clip, and (hopefully) keeping enough breath in reserve for an airy ‘Ex-cuse me’ at anyone who’s seen fit to stand on the wrong side. While we’re here: you are still offering assistance on the stairs to anyone with a too-big-for-them suitcase or unwieldy pram, aren’t you? Good man.

Stand on one leg for ten seconds

It’s not so much a test of balance as a predictor of other, more serious issues: hip tears, say, an old five-a-side injury that never really healed properly. Try it now: if you can’t manage it, work out why. Go on, now.

Broad-jump your own height

You can do this one anywhere (just not in your ‘good’ trousers) – from a standing start, give it a quick knee-bend/arm swing and jump as far as you can, aiming to take off and land on both feet together. Bare minimum, you should be somewhere in the 5-6 foot range: if not, it’s an indicator that something’s wrong. Slot the odd set of 3-5 into your workout regime.

Carry your own bodyweight by hand (one way or another)

Hopefully, you’ll never have to haul anyone clear of an emergency – but even if not, having a bit of lifting-and-carrying strength in reserve will stand you in good stead for everything from sweeping a loved one off their feet to the Big Shop. Add farmer’s walks (carrying a heavy dumbbell in each hand) and Zercher lunges (carrying a barbell or powerbag in the crook of your elbows) to your gym routine.

Do at least one pull-up
Yes, all the signs point to a zombie apocalypse being extremely unlikely. But let’s just say it happened, and you ended up needing to scramble over a chainlink fence at some point – you’d feel like such a chump. Besides, pull-ups will help fix your posture, improve your shoulder health, and make your shirts fit better. Aim for five in a row.

40 squats in four minutes

Try this: set a timer, and do a leisurely 5 squats – preferably getting the hip-crease of your shorts below the line of your knees every time – in 20 seconds. Rest for ten, and repeat for eight intervals. It’s your baseline of lower body strength and mobility.

Sit on the floor (and get up) with minimal difficulty

For one thing, it’s a predictor of how gracefully you’ll age – in a study of more than 2,000 people, those able to sit down and get up with minimal reliance on their hands or knees were less likely to die (of any cause) over the next six years than the less mobile. Besides, sitting on the floor is one of life’s forgotten pleasures: think ‘around a campfire’, ‘on a nice rug with someone pretty’ or – maybe – at a house party. Make a habit of it at home, and add some basic hip mobility to your weekly routine.

See the little chap (without a mirror)

Look: nobody’s saying you need to sprout a six-pack (though with a bit of hip-twist, in favourable lighting, it’s always nice) – but letting your waistline balloon puts you at increased risk of diabetes and a whole host of cardiovascular diseases. Your simplified climbdown strategy: stop drinking calories, aim to get a chunk of protein in at every meal, and take at least two consecutive days off the booze every week.