The Adult Fitness TestThe following pages contain instructions and tips on performing each test event.You can do the adult fitness test events alone, but they are easier to do with apartner. Find a partner who would like to do these tests with you. In addition,exercising with a partner is a good way to stay active in the long run.When you are ready to test, use the data collection form at the back of thisbooklet. You do not have to complete all the tests at once. Be sure to do a shortwarm-up of easy stretching and slow walking before you perform each event.After you have completed all the testing events, enter your data online toreceive an evaluation. Later, you can take the test over again and compareyour results to see how your fitness has changed.FITTThe adage “use it or lose it” says it all. For example, not using your muscles results in aloss of strength and function. Please refer to the FITT box for more information. A FITTbox is provided with each test item to help you improve.You can improve your fitness with additional exercise that includes changes to thefrequency, intensity, time, and type of each exercise. Remember the FITT principle:F (Frequency) How many times you do an exercise each week or month. (For example,I walk 7 days a week; I lift weights 3 times a week.)I (Intensity) How strenuous or heavy the exercise is in terms of weight lifted, speed ofmovement or effort exerted. (For example, I walk at 3.5 miles per hour; I lift weights thatare 70% of the maximum I can lift.)T (Time) How long you do the exercise per session. (For example, I walk for 30 minutes;I lift the weight 10 times with a 1-minute rest at the end, and repeat that twice.)T (Type) What kind of exercise you do (for example, biking vs. walking, or lifting weightsvs. doing push-ups).1

Aerobic FitnessAerobic fitness is also known as cardiovascular fitness. It relates to the heart, blood vessels,and lungs working together to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the muscles during exercise.A high level of aerobic fitness is associated with lower risks of several diseases, includinghigh blood pressure and coronary heart disease.To measure aerobic fitness, perform either the one-mile walk test or 1.5 mile run:1-Mile WalkAlert! We suggest that you DO NOT take this test until you are routinely walking for 15 to 20minutes several times per week.In order to complete the one-mile walk test, you need to be able to take your pulse. Yourpulse can be found on the inside of your wrist at the base of your thumb.Equipment/Test SettingFor this test you must walk at a brisk speed for one mile (4 laps around a standard quartermile track, located at many schools and in some parks), and take your heart rate at the endof the test. We recommend that you do the test with a partner who can help with timing andrecording the results. When you take the walk test, you will need to have a stop watch thatyou start at the beginning of the test and stop at the finish line. Your partner will need tohave a separate watch with a second hand so he or she can count off 10 seconds while youcount your pulse rate for 10 seconds, immediately as you cross the finish line.Using a treadmillThis test can be performed on a treadmill. When walking on the treadmill, be sure to let yourarms swing freely at your sides (do not hold on to the handrails). Keep the incline of thetreadmill level (at zero). You or your partner need to record the time on the treadmill whenyou complete 1 mile and then follow steps 4-7 below.Directions1. Walker starts the stopwatch to begin the one-mile walk.2. The partner counts the laps and lets the walker know how many laps are left.3. The walker stops the stopwatch while crossing the finish line.4. The walker finds his/her pulse immediately and the partner provides a 10-second countusing the stopwatch (“Ready, begin,” and at end of 10 seconds, “Stop”).5. The partner records the pulse rate for 10 seconds and multiplies by six to have heart ratein beats per minute.6. The partner records the time for the one-mile walk in minutes and seconds.7. The walker completes one more lap at a slower speed to “cool-down.”2

1.5-Mile RunAlert! Do not try to take this test unless you run at least 20 minutes continuously threeor more times a week. If you do not do any type of physical activity (walking, swimming,bicycling) DO NOT try to take this test.Equipment/Test SettingFor this test you must run all out for 1.5 miles (6 times around a standard quarter-mile track,located at many schools and some parks) and record your time. Keep in mind the need topace yourself for the full 1.5 miles. We recommend that you take this test with a partnerwho can record your time and count laps. You may also want to keep track of your timeusing your own watch as a back-up.Using a TreadmillThis test can be performed on a treadmill. When running on the treadmill, be sure to letyour arms swing freely at your sides (do not hold on to the handrails). Keep the incline ofthe treadmill level (at zero). You or your partner need to record the time on the treadmillwhen you complete 1.5 miles at your testing speed (keep in mind it takes a few seconds toincrease the speed of the treadmill).Directions1. Runner completes a warm-up of slow jogging.2. The runner starts on the partner’s command--when the partner starts the watch. Runnerruns as quickly as possible for 1.5 miles.3. The partner counts the number of laps and lets the runner know how many laps are left.4. The partner stops the watch when the runner crosses the start/finish line and recordsthe time.5. The runner cools down by jogging slowly until walking for at least one lap.3

What the results meanAerobic fitness is a measure of how much oxygen your body uses during exercise or physicalwork. The score is your maximal oxygen uptake and the higher the value, the better youraerobic fitness.Higher levels of cardiovascular fitness have been related to reduced risks of many chronicdiseases and conditions (for example, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity,depression, some cancers). It’s also related to improved quality of life (for example, bettermood, better ability to process thoughts and information, and enhanced bone health).How to improve aerobic fitnessRe-testing your aerobic fitnessRegular participation in moderate-tovigorous physical activity will improve andmaintain your aerobic fitness.The President’sChallenge Presidential Active Lifestyle Award(PALA) can help you maintain a regularprogram of physical activity. We suggest thatyou complete the six-week PALA programbefore retesting your aerobic fitness.Periodically, you can repeat the 1-mile walkor 1.5-mile run to determine if you haveimproved your aerobic fitness. Typically,you will be able to walk the mile or run the1.5-miles faster, with your heart rate beingthe same or lower than in the first test if youhave been following the FITT principles. Bothchanges (faster walk; lower heart rate) pointto improvements in your aerobic fitness. Giveyourself 6 - 12 weeks of consistent physicalactivity to allow for improvements.FITTModerate and vigorous physical activity:Frequency: 5 days a week for moderate activity, 3-4 days a week for vigorous activityIntensity: Moderate activity that is somewhat hard and elevates the heart rate aboveresting levels. Vigorous activity that is hard and elevates the heart rate above that formoderate levels, but you should not be breathless. An example of moderate physicalactivity is brisk walking; an example of vigorous physical activity is running.Time: Moderate - At least 30 minutes each session (you can break this into three10-minute or two 15-minute sessions); Vigorous - 20-30 minutes per session. Begineach session with a warm-up and finish with a cool-down.Type: Activities that use large muscle groups (that is, arms, legs) such as walking,cycling, dancing, or swimming.4

Muscular Strength and EnduranceMuscular strength and endurance is critical to both your health and ability to carry out dailyactivities, such as performing household tasks (yard work, carrying groceries) or job-relatedtasks (lifting or moving heavy objects). There are many ways to measure your muscularstrength and endurance, often with a focus on a specific group of muscles.This section describes two fitness tests for muscular strength and endurance:the Half Sit-Up and the Push-Up.The Half Sit-Up Test*One of the most frequently measured muscle groups is the abdominal (stomach) muscles.Several tests (for example, sit-up and curl-up tests) have been developed to measure mainlyabdominal muscular strength and endurance. We are going to use an abdominal muscularstrength and endurance test called the “YMCA Half Sit-Up” test, which is a curl-up test sinceyou lift your trunk only partially off the floor.Equipment/Test Setting: Mat or rug, Stopwatch or watch with a second hand, Four strips of tape to place 3.5 inches apart on mat or rug to provide start and end positionfor the curl-up.Placement of Tape Makers for YMCA Half SitupMatTape3.5Prepare the mat or rug with the tape strips as shown in the picture. You need to be ableto feel the tape as your fingers move across the mat or rug from the starting and endingpositions. We recommend that you do the test with a partner.Directions:1. Lie face-up on mat or rug with knees at a right angle (that is, 90º) and feet flat on theground. The feet are not held down.2. Place hands palms facing down on the mator rug with the fingers touching the first piece of tape.5

3. Flatten your lower back to the mat or rug, and half sit-up so that your fingers move fromthe first piece of tape to the second. Then return your shoulders to the mat or rug andrepeat the movement as described. Your head does not have to touch the surface. Keepyour lower back flat on the mat or rug during the movements – if you arch your back, itcan cause injury.4. Your partner will count the number of half sit-ups performed in one minute. Pace yourselfso you can do half sit-ups for one minute.5. Record your results.* The half sit-up test is re-printed from the YMCA Fitness Testing and Assessment Manual, 4th edition,2000, with permission of YMCA of the USA, 101 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606.Standard and Modified Push-Up*Alert! If you have shoulder, elbow, or wrist pain, doing this test may aggravate your condition.The muscles of the upper body and shoulders are another frequently measured musclegroup. Several tests (for example, pull-up and push-up) are used to measure the strengthand endurance of these muscle groups. Less muscular strength and endurance of the upperbody and shoulder group may increase the chances that a person may have shoulder pain inmiddle or older adulthood.In the standard push-up test, you push your body up and down using muscles in your arms,shoulders and chest, while keeping your body straight with your feet serving as the pivotpoint. Your body weight is your workload. Females can reduce the load by having their kneestouching the floor and acting as the pivot point. In this test, only the upper body is the load.We are going to use standard push-ups and modified push-ups as our tests for upper bodyand shoulder muscular strength and endurance.Directions:1. Males start in the standard push-up position (elevated). Hands should be shoulder widthapart, arms extended straight out under the shoulders, back and legs in a straight line,and toes curled under. Females do a modified push-up with knees bent and touching thefloor. Starting in the up position, hands should be slightly ahead of the shoulders so handsare in the proper position for the downward motion.2. Lower until the chest is about 2 inches from the floor and rise up again.3. Perform the test until you cannot complete any more push-ups while keeping your backstraight and, if you are a male, keeping the legs straight as well. The key to completingthe test properly is to maintain a rigid position and keep the back flat. If necessary, youcan take a brief rest in the up position (not lying on the floor).4. Record your results.* Normative data for the push-up and modified push-up are based on a population that is 20 years of ageand older. These data and the test protocol are used with permission of The Cooper Institute, 12330Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75230.6

What the results meanHalf Sit-Up. The half sit-up test is mainly an indicator of your abdominal muscular strengthand endurance. However, you also use other muscle groups while performing the test.Scoring in the “below average” to “very poor” category shows that your muscular strengthand endurance may be low and needs to improve. Low abdominal muscular strength andendurance may lead to muscle fatigue and may lead to back injury.Push-Up. The push-up test score is an indicator of your upper-body and shoulder muscularstrength and endurance. Scoring in the “below average” or “poor” category shows that yourmuscular strength and endurance may be low and needs to improve. Poor upper-body andshoulder muscular strength and endurance may lead to shoulder pain. Remember, betterstrength and endurance make everyday activities easier to do.How to improve muscular strength and enduranceYou can improve your strength and endurance by repeating the same exercise more often, orby working against a heavier load and keeping the number of repetitions the same.You can repeat the half sit-up movement and vary the load by having your arms in front ofyou (easiest) or placing them folded across the chest or behind your head (more difficult).You can repeat the push-up movement and make them easier by doing them against a wallor harder by doing the standard push-up (most difficult).FITTMuscular strength and endurance:Frequency: Do exercises at least 3 days a week.Intensity: Vary the intensity (as mentioned in the “How to improve muscular strengthand endurance” section above), but only as long as you can maintain the proper postureduring the movement and keep movements co