Presidential Physical Fitness
Do you remember this patch? In honor of President’s Day, I thought it’d be fun to reminisce about the days when we had to take the Presidential Physical Fitness test. The Presidential Physical Fitness Test was the country’s standard for child fitness when I was growing up. It tested aerobic and muscular fitness, and flexibility. The tests included a timed mile, curl-ups, pull-ups, sprints, and a v-sit-and-stretch.
My memories of this test aren’t fun. I abso-freakin-lutely hated gym class and this was one test I just couldn’t/didn’t pass. It was extremely discouraging as a kid because unlike other subjects, there was no chance to redeem myself. There was no second chance nor was there an after school program that would help me get to a passing level. It also reminded me that I was a failure, that I was out of shape, and everyone in my class knew it. If you were to take the President’s Physical Fitness test today, how would you do? Take a look at the chart (after the jump) and rate yourself.
I am proud to say that I am in better shape now than I have been my entire childhood. My 14 year-old self has no chance against me today. Heck, according to this chart I’m in better shape than 85% of 14 year-old girls.
Did you know that there is an adult’s presidential physical fitness test? It’s very similar to the childhood test that we are familiar with, but it includes a body composition test comparing your body mass against your height (your BMI). Take the test here.
I don’t think this test is the end-all-be-all, but it’s a good start. It’s a great reminder that we need to keep our health in check and there’s value in qualitative measures of health. Not just what’s your weight but what’s your resting heart rate? What is your waist size? Can you do more push ups today than you could do yesterday?
When I was a kid, I didn’t think I would ever pass the Presidential Physical Fitness test. I wish I could travel back in time and tell my 14-18 year old self that I wouldn’t run a 16 min mile forever and that I was capable of a 7 min mile. That kid’s mind would’ve been b.l.o.w.n.
LGC Tip: Never tell yourself that you can’t change. You can! Focus on where you want to go, not where you are for the moment, and enjoy the journey.
It took me nearly 30 years to get where I am today, and I’m grateful for the journey. Now if only the President would send me a President’s Award for Physical Fitness patch…