No one aces a fitness test. It is not a pass/fail endeavor. A well designed fitness evaluation simply defines strengths and weaknesses so that it is easier to set and reach specific fitness goals . A fitness test also provides a baseline to refer back to when evaluating progress. On the path to better health and fitness, measuring progress and acknowledging success will help to keep your plan on track. These fitness tests will help you to see improvement and celebrate achievements along the way.
There are several methods of fitness evaluation. ThePresident’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test is an excellent option. This test includes measurements foraerobic fitness, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition. The website provides thorough instructions for each exercise along with options for different fitness levels. Testers also have the option of inputing data to get immediate feedback.
Another option is the Army Physical Fitness Test which evaluates cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. Like the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test, the cardiovascular portion of the Army test requires exercisers to walk or run 1.5 miles, but also provides an option for a timed swim for exercisers who have limitations and are not comfortable with weight bearing exercise.
The last option is to complete a simple timed test on either a treadmill or stationary bike. The test should only be completed by active exercisers in good health. If you are new to exercise or have medical limitations, discuss the test with your physician before you begin. Testing indoors is also recommended. Outdoor conditions such as temperature, humidity and wind conditions can impact results and it is impossible to recreate exact conditions when repeating the test. By using a treadmill or stationary bike, future retests are easier and more accurate, which improves your ability to use the results.
Like the Army and Presidential tests, a simple timed test should begin with a 10 minute warm up on the machine you’ll be using for the evaluation. After the warm up, clear all settings on the panel and restart the machine. Then, using the manual setting, run, walk or bike 1.5 miles. If possible, have a friend nearby to note heart rate and the exact finishing time when you have completed the distance. Finish the test by doing a 5 minute cool down. Save your results and retest when you are a month into a new fitness program.
If you’ve made a commitment to better health and fitness , you’ve accepted a challenging journey. By marking your starting point, you set yourself up for success by giving yourself the opportunity to see tangible results along the way. This brief investment now pays dividends in the future and will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle not just this year, but for years to come.
Fitness Evaluation Instructions and Websites: