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10 Tips to assessing your fitness level

Apr 13, 2012, 11:18 a.m.

According to Men's Health, there are 10 health and fitness tests that can be used for physical fitness testing. While some retired Olympians can probably still do the tests set forth by Men's Health , many adults over 55 probably shouldn't try to meet the physical fitness testing standards laid out in this article. Luckily, the President's Challenge puts forth several more reasonable health and fitness tests for assessing adult fitness. Here is a comparison of Men's Health vs. the President.

  1. Men's Health defines fit as being able to run 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes. The President's Challenge adult fitness test also lists a 1.5 mile run. The description starts with the word "Alert!" No joke. Only adults who regularly run 20 minutes, 3 times a week, should take this test.
  2. Men's Health has another test that defines fit as running 300 yards in under 1 minute. In contrast, the President's Challenge has a 1-mile walk test for people that participate in aerobic activity three or more times a week.
  3. Men's Health defines fit as being able to swim 700 yards in 12 minutes. 24-hour Fitness suggests seniors take water aerobics classes.
  4. Men's Health states that doing 40 pushups qualifies a man as fit. The President's Challenge again starts with the word "Alert!" and points out that anyone with elbow, shoulder or wrist pain shouldn't take this test.
  5. The President's Challenge includes a half-sit-up fitness test to strengthen and improve core strength. Men's Health has a section instead called "Touch the rim," an allusion to jumping up and dunking a basketball. Sure.
  6. Both Men's Health and the President's Challenge include a Body Mass Index (BMI) Test to meaure fat. In Men's Health this is entitled "Measure Up." The test advocates using a measuring tape to compare waist and hip measurements: the waist circumfrance is divided by the hip circumfrance. According to Men's Health , a ratio of .81 or lower qualifies as "Flat and happy" while .92 or higher translates into "Your wife and kids are going to miss you." How many men are offended by this one and are STILL around? The BMI Test in the President's Challenge is more reasonable. In this test height and weight are used to determine a "normal" score of between 18.5-24.9.
  7. Men's Health and the President's Challenge both agree that the sit-and-reach test is one of the best health and fitness tests for testing flexibility. A measuring stick is placed on the ground and the tester stretches forward as far as possible. Men's Health advocates touching the toes. The President's Challenge warns that this test can aggravate lower back pain.
  8. Men's Health suggests that being able to throw a basketball 75 feet while kneeling is a great test for upper body strength. It probably is if kneeling on a hard basketball court is still feasible.
  9. Similarly, Men's Health has a leg strength test. The ability to leg press 2.25 times body weight qualifies as "fit" while 1.8 or lower is a "shaky foundation." All old houses settle a little.
  10. The last Men's Health test advocates lifting 1.5 times a person's own body weight. Lifting this much could definitely be dangerous.

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