Physical Fitness Test Standard: Straight Forward WHAT, WHY, and Tips for Seeing How Well You Are Doing, Instead of Simply Shooting in the Dark
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What is a physical fitness test standard? It is what is expected of those who are physically fit as measured by a series of exercises (i.e., tests). Two of the more popular tests for adults are the President’s Challenge Adult Fitness Test (PT) and the Army’s Physical Fitness Test (AT). Both tests measure how many push-ups you can do in a minute. The PT measures the number of stomach crunches that you can do in a minute, and the AT measures the number of full sit-ups you can do in a minute. The PT gives the following options for cardio: 1-mile walk, 1.5-mile run, or 400 meter test for those between the ages of 60 to 90 years old. The AT simply has the 2-mile run. The PT has a flexibility test, but the AT has no measure of flexibility. The PT measures body composition (i.e., your BMI), but the AT measures percent of body fat.
Why should you be concerned with a physical fitness test standard? It gives you a somewhat objective way of measuring how well you are doing in comparison to others who are similar to you (i.e., gender and age). You can monitor your progress over time. You can set goals and have a relatively simply way to assess how well you did in reaching your goals.
4 Tips for Using A Physical Fitness Test Standard
1. Find or develop a test that fits your life style. For example, I use the PT for cardio, push-ups, abs, and flexibility. I like the PT’s ab crunches, instead of the full sit-up required by the AT. I think the full sit-up is too hard on the lower back. I like the PT’s 1-mile walk, instead of the AT’s 2 mile run. I don’t give much attention to the PT’s body composition/BMI, because I think that it is an unfair measure for my body type. I like the AT’s focus on body fat, instead of BMI. Find what works for you.
2. Establish a baseline and reassess from time to time. For example, take your test within the next few days, and then redo it, in a month or three months. This will allow you to see if you are gaining ground or losing ground. This also allows you to set goals like doing more push-ups, crunches, and/or doing your cardio walk with a quicker time.
3. Prepare for your test. Do about a 5 minute warm up and stretch, if necessary. It is unfair to you to think that you can give your best effort with cold muscles or after a hard workout.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The testing can be helpful, especially when you are doing well with the test. However, if you have some physically limitations like injuries or conditions (e.g., arthritis), don’t be discouraged. Do your best, and rejoice in that. Doing your best is much more important than competing with others and trying to pass a test.
So, there you have it – physical fitness test standard – what, why, and tips. I urge you to get your baseline readings within the next few days and go from there.
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The following resources were consulted to write this article and are recommended for further study: