Does anyone remember the dreaded (or at least dreaded by me) Physical Fitness Tests?
You know, that terrible time period in Phys. Ed each year where over the course of a few weeks your gym teacher had you “sit and reach”, timed your push-ups (which I still don’t do correctly), counted your sit-ups, jump rope a thousand times and then forced you to run a mile around the track in a certain time frame?
Those tests were annoying back then, and now that I can fully understand what it means to be physically fit, I find those them absolutely appalling.
I must admit, I was not always this physically fit.
And really, what child is in such tip top shape that they can just randomly go out and run a mile, especially in a certain amount of time?
I couldn’t. I always had my doctor write a note that said I was excused because I had “exercise -induced asthma.”
Yes, you heard correctly.
Me, the same me that now can run 7:00 min miles and completes half marathons, was not capable of running for gym class. I did not have any form of asthma but sure felt like I did.
So, one time my note from the doctor was late. My gym teacher forced me to run the the track that day even though she knew I normally had a note.
Well guess what happened – when I finally finished running, I fainted. And when I woke up from collapsing in this gym class, I threw up.
She never made me run again.
Oh Ms. Tirado, if you could just see me now.
Now, the point I am trying to make here is that these tests for our kids are simply ridiculous. Very few people (kids as well as adults) just wake up one day physically fit enough to run super fast or complete those silly “tests” within the target range.
I always felt instead of “testing” the kids why not teach/help kids to develop their fitness skills and endurance. It doesn’t happen overnight.
I did not always run so fast or so long. It took a lot of time, patience and training.
My son is currently going through these tests. He comes home telling me how many sit ups he could do (or should I say couldn’t do) compared to the other kids. And then the school sends home a computer generated form showing where he scores in relation to other kids.
I don’t even read it.
I put those forms in what I like to call my favorite filing cabinet – the garbage.
What matters is that kids want to be physically active in any possible way.
Not how many sit-ups they can do or how fast they can run.
This applies for adults as well.
Our schools should be teaching and promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles. They should be demonstrating and encouraging fitness activities and if they must “test”, these tests should be after prolonged period of building up to the required activity.
And results from these tests should not be compared to the other kids, especially not for all of the kids to hear.
On a more positive note, ever hear of Girls on the Run?
I was very happy to see an article in today’s paper about the International Organization having a chapter here on Long Island. I first learned of this series from Caitlin’s blog, The Healthy Tipping Point. You can read all about this series and her involvement here.
Girls on the Run is now in 208 cities in the United States and Canada. Along with building up endurance and the ability to run distances, Girls on the Run teaches girls about self-esteem, peer pressure, body image and health.
Now this is what I am talking about people.
I sure could have used this in high school. Perhaps then I would have been better prepared to not throw up from running.
I need to know:
Do you remember taking physical fitness tests?
Have you heard about Girls on the Run?