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Fitness: the president's challenge.

Since 1966, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has been urging children to shape up. To help them do this, the Council has established a special award program through which boys and girls ages 6 through 17 can test their physical prowess and earn a commendation from the President.

Winning the President's Challenge Award is no piece of cake. The five-event test sets a rigorous standard for muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility that only about 10 percent of participants achieve.

Last year some 18,000 schools signed up to administer the biannual testing, and more than 4 1/2 million students took part.

Children can take the test as many times as they wish, but they must achieve the 85th percentile in all five events to receive the presidential emblem and a Presidential Certificate of Achievement signed by Certificate of Achievement signed by President Bush. Students who win more than once receive recognition with special numbered emblems.

In case at first the children don't succeed, the President's Council offers a fee "Get Fit" booklet that illustrates warmups and exercises to aid improvement. The booklets are available to all test administrators.

Those testing at the 50th percentile in all events win the National Physical Fitness Award and receive emblems and certificates. The National Physical Fitness Award is also available to handicapped children.

To receive a "Get Fit" booklet from the President's Council, write to: PCPFS, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 7103, Washington, DC 20001.


OBJECTIVE: To measure abdominal strength and endurance by maximum number of curl-ups performed in one minute. TESTING: Have student lie on cushioned, clean surface with knees flexed and feet about 12 inches from buttocks. Partner holds feet.

Arms are crossed with hands placed on opposite shoulders and elbows held close the chest. Keeping this arm position, student raises the trunk, curling up to touch elbows to thighs, and then lowers the back to the floor so that the scapulas (shoulder blades) touch the floor, for one curl-up. To start, a time calls out the signal "Ready? Go!" and begins timing student for one minute. Student stops on the word "stop." RULES: "Bouncing" off the floor is not permitted. The curl-up should be counted only if performed correctly.


OBJECTIVE: To perform shuttle run as fast as possible. TESTING: Mark two parallel lines 30 feet apart and place two blocks or similar objects (approximate size of 2" x 2" x 4") behind one of the lines.

On the signal "Ready? Go!" the student runs to the blocks, picks one up, runs back to the starting line, places block behind the line, runs and picks up the second block, and runs back across starting line. RULES: Blocks should not be thrown across the line. Scores are recorded to the nearest tenth of a second.


OBJECTIVE: To measure heart and lung endurance by fastest time to cover a one-mile distance. TESTING: On a safe, one-mile distance, students begin running on the count "Ready? Go!" Walking may be interpersed with running. However, the students should be encouraged to cover the distance in as short a time as possible. RULES: Before administering this test, students' health status should be reviewed. Students should be given ample instruction on pacing themselves and should be allowed to practice running this distance against time. Sufficient time should be allowed for warming up and cooling down before and after the test. Times are recorded in minutes and seconds.


OBJECTIVE: To measure upper body strength and endurance by maximum number of pull-ups completed. TESTING: Student hangs from a horizontal bar at a height the student can hand from with arms fully extended and feet free from floor, using an overhand grasp (palms facing away from body).

Small students may be lifted to starting position. Student raises body until chin clears the bar and then lowers body to full-hand starting position. Student performs as many correct pull-ups as possible. RULES: Pull-ups should be done in a smooth rather than jerky motion. Kicking or bending the legs is not permitted, and the body must not swing during the movement.


OBJECTIVE: To measure flexibility of lower back and hamstrings by reaching forward in the V position. TESTING: A straight line two feet long is marked on the floor as the baseline. A measuring line is drawn perpendicular to the midpoint of the baseline extending two feet on each side and marked off in half inches. The point where the baseline and measuring line intersect is the "0" point.

Student removes shoes and sits on floor with measuring line between legs and soles of feet placed immediately behind baseline, heels 8-12 inches apart. Student clasps thumbs so that hands are together, palms down, and places them on measuring line. With the legs held flat by a partner, student slowly reaches forward as far as possible, keeping fingers on baseline and feet flexed.

After three practice tries, the student holds the fourth reach for three seconds while that distance is recorded. RULES: Legs must remain straight with soles of feet held perpendicular to the floor (feet flexed).
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Title Annotation:children's fitness test for President's Challenge Award
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Previous Article:How to jump-start your kids.
Next Article:George Washington's prayer for his country.

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