I’ve written previously how it’s helpful to have some baseline physical fitness measurements on yourself. That post mentioned up to 14 different items you could monitor. In the comment section, I recognized that’s too much for some folks. For them, I suggested just doing the five-item functional testing: 1-mile run/walk (timed), maximum number of push-ups and pull-ups, toe touch, and vertical jump.
A few months ago, I was at a training session for adult Boy Scout leaders. One of the items covered was environmental heat illness: how to avoid, recognize, and treat. One of the risk factors for heat illness is “poor fitness,” defined as taking over 16 minutes to run two miles. Inquiring minds want to know where that number came from. No reference was given.
About.com has an article on fitness requirements for U.S. army soldiers, who are tested at least twice yearly. There are only three components tested:
- Number of push-ups
- Number of sit-ups
- Time to complete a two-mile run
Fortunately, the Army doesn’t expect a 57-year-old man to perform as well as a 17-year-old. For instance, a 17-year-old has to run two miles in 19 minutes and 24 seconds or less; the 57-year-old is allowed up to 23 minutes and 24 seconds. Females and males have different performance standards: a 17-year-old woman has 22 minutes and 24 seconds to run two miles.
(An ex-Ranger a few days ago told me the Rangers have to meet or exceed the standard for 19-year-olds, regardless of age.)
The simplicity of the Army’s approach appeals to me. Check out the APFT tables in the About.com article if you want to see how you compare to Army soldiers.