Fit and Fun?

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Personal Development

Fitness for life is something many of us would like to think that we have, but how do we measure our own success? If I can run a 5K without experiencing cardiac arrest, does it mean that I’m ‘fit’? Or if I’ve moved on to the advanced yoga class, will this classify me as ‘fit’? Just how do I rank amongst others my age and just what should fitness measure?

To answer these questions, I’ve decided to take the plunge and take the President’s Fitness Challenge Program. As you may remember from Junior High days, The President’ Council of Physical Fitness and Sports focused on youth fitness, seemingly trying to motivate kids towards healthy fitness levels. I remember these tests as being nothing but humiliating, confirming that “jocks” were indeed jocks, and that the non-athletes (me) should just give it up. I shared the same amount of love for physical fitness tests as my love for my starched gym uniform. None.
Fast forward a few years (okay, more than a few) and here I am wondering if my own fitness levels are up to federal standards. Fortunately, the President’s Council has created the first-ever Adult Fitness Test. “What began as a national youth fitness test has grown up. Today, the President’s Challenge takes staying active beyond the school gym and into everyday life.”

The Adult Fitness Test is actually a series of four tests that give one a general measure of fitness in four health related areas: aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. First, you need to find out if you are healthy enough for testing, easily accomplished via a screening questionnaire. Second, it is recommended that adults find a partner to help collect and record the results for each challenge.

Fortunately, you don’t need to perform the challenges in any particular order or even on the same day. Once you’ve finished, you can record your results online and even get suggestions of ways to improve fitness in that particular area. Each test includes a “FITT” box which recommends Frequency (F), Intensity (I), TIme (T) and Type of exercise (T). Put the four together (FITT) and you get specific ways to improve your level of fitness. You can also compare your results to others and follow your own progress. And no starchy uniforms! What’s not to like?
This June, I’m off to visit and I’m inviting others to join in. Be sure to let us know what you think of the test after completion. Not a bad way to start the summer, eh?

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