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Take the President's Adult Fitness Challenge

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Can you pass the test?

How fit are you? Last week, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) launched its new national Adult Fitness Test. This online test measures overall fitness levels by assessing cardio fitness, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition. Take the test and record your data to see how you stack up among others your age. And if you don't fare so well, or if you are just looking to improve your fitness in any of the areas tested, try our suggestions for "extra credit" for each challenge.

Fitness Test
The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) recently launched its new national Adult Fitness Test. Here are the fitness challenges and tips to better your fitness and test scores.

CHALLENGE 1: GET AEROBIC!

Test Basics: To determine your aerobic fitness (or, how hard your heart, lungs, and blood vessels have to work in order to deliver oxygen and energy to your muscles), PCPFS has you lacing up the running shoes and hitting the track for a 1-mile walk or a 1.5-mile run (only do the latter if you already run for at least 20 minutes, three times a week.). If you prefer a treadmill to a track, keep the incline level at zero and let your arms swing at your sides instead of holding on to the handrails.

Extra Credit: Get into a cardio groove by starting up a running routine. Not only will running just three times a week for 20 to 40 minutes help you get your dream body (a 150-pound woman will burn over 230 calories after just 20 minutes of easy running), but you can also lower your risk for heart disease, boost your bone density, and improve muscle tone, too. Follow these steps to start racking up the running miles in no time.

CHALLENGE 2: MEASURE YOUR MUSCLES

Test Basics: An easy way to assess your overall strength is to test your stomach muscles. Don't worry, even if you don't have six-pack abs, you will be able to handle this quick and easy test to see how many half sit-ups and modified push-ups you can do in one minute.

Extra Credit: Try these moves to strengthen your core, the mass of muscles that wrap around your midsection, including your back, obliques and abs. Since these muscles supply about 60 percent of your body's overall power, a solid core can
perfect your posture, reduce your risk of back pain, trim belly fat and enhance your overall muscle strength.

CHALLNEGE 3: FIGURE OUT YOUR FLEXIBILITY

Test Basics: Flexibility is key to your overall fitness. After all, you need a broad range of motion of your joints to do anything from walking to windsurfing. That is why the folks at PCPFS have you test your flexibility via a sit-and-reach test.

Extra Credit: If you struggle to touch your toes without bending your knees, you can improve your flexibility, balance, and coordination through a series of stretching exercises. To do just that, work these simple stretches into your day.

Note that before you get your evaluation from PCPFS, you'll also need to determine your BMI and waist circumference. For more information on BMI testing, be sure to get the skinny on body fat.

And for more articles on improving your fitness, visit these links:

Five exercises for a sexy, beautiful back

Tone your tummy with these three exercises

Three exercises for gloriously toned glutes

Exercises for a Pilates body

Tips to have a healthy posture

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