Every morning I am hitting up the NIFS Fitness Center working towards the goal to stay healthy and fit. I see all types of people with different fitness interests; those who participate in group fitness classes, those who always do cardio, or those who strictly lift weights. No matter their interest, I am always curious about their fitness journey. Why did they start? What is their progress? Are they working towards a goal? My usual gym routine consists of mostly lifting weights and getting in some cardio as well. I try to keep it balanced, but it is occasionally difficult. Being female and lifting heavy weights just seems to be so wrong and unattractive to some these days, but why? Wouldn’t you think that women would want to be as strong or fit as men, but maybe without the bulkiness? This leads to me to explain a controversial article I read recently posted on the ABC news website discussing a Fitness Test controversy in Pennsylvania. The head of the Pennsylvania State Police claimed that the agency’s physical fitness standards for recruits discriminate against women. Overall, nearly all male recruits pass the test, while 30% of women fail. An implemented fitness test must pass the threshold rule; 80% must pass. A lawsuit was filed; asking a judge to order the department to hire women on an equal basis with men. The Commissioner said he did not want to lower the standards because new troopers perform the same job and lowering the standards would endanger safety, as well insult those who already met the standards. This controversial topic sparked my interest and thoughts on the physical fitness test standards for other situations, like the one administered in gym class.
With kids heading back to school, that means gym class starting back up too! Although the President’s Challenge has not been used since 2013 and new guide to promoting fitness in schools is used, a variety of schools once used this method of teaching kids how to lead a healthy life. The Physical Fitness Test recognizes students for their level of physical fitness by doing 5 activities; curl ups or partial curl ups, shuttle run, endurance run/walk, pull-ups or right angle push-ups or flexed arm hang, and the v-sit reach. Based on their results three awards are given. The benchmarks are specific to age and gender. The girls’ benchmarks are lower than the boys’. So, this is where I ask your thoughts. Do you think that fitness test requirements like the ones mentioned should vary between males and females or should they be equal? What are your thoughts on strength training to create a better you? I want to hear your thoughts! Connect with a health fitness specialist in your corporate fitness center to strive to improve on your own numbers.