Friday, March 30, 2012

"Who Cares About Fitness Assessments?"

You hear the announcement over the loudspeaker: "Fitness Assessments will begin next Monday. All students report to the gym for wellness class." and immediately groan and start to complain to your friend. "Ugh, I hate fitness testing! It's so stupid! Why do they make us do it? I think they just like to torture us!" Does this sound familiar? Maybe not personally but I am sure you have at least overheard a conversation similar to what I've described.

Physical fitness assessment is not based on athletic ability but on good health. No matter what you want to be when you grow up, I am sure being healthy is #1 on your list. Most people, kids especially, take being healthy for granted. Physical activity and physical fitness are not one in the same. Participation in regular physical activity will lead to gains in physical fitness and will improve overall health.

Sickness, Wellness, & Fitness
It has been observed that almost every value of health can be placed on a spectrum that goes from sickness to wellness to fitness. If you look at the table above you will see 7 measurable components of health. For example, a blood pressure of 170/95 is considered too high, below 120/80 is considered healthy, and 105/55 is consistent with an athlete's blood pressure. Similar findings are observed with % body fat, bone density, triglycerides (major form of fat stored by the body), good cholesterol, muscle mass, flexibility, resting heart rate, etc. It is thought that fitness should be called "super-wellness'. ( It is my goal for every student to become super-well.

Benefits of Fitness Assessments
  1. Establishing a baseline level of fitness-you won't know how much progress you've made if you don't know where you started. You also need a starting point for goal setting. 
  2. Is your current exercise program working? How do you know? Do you have any measurable or reproducible way of knowing?
  3. What do you need to work on? Maybe you have good lungs (stamina) and can run so the Pacer test is easy, but you lack flexibility so the sit and reach test and truck lift test are hard. With fitness assessments you will know your strengths and weaknesses.
  4. With this knowledge (data) you know where to focus your efforts moving forward. If you need help with a plan any member of the wellness department will be more than happy to help.
There are 5 major components to physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance/stamina (Pacer test), muscular endurance (push-up & curl up test), muscular strength (push-up & curl-up test), flexibility (sit-and-reach, trunk lift, & shoulder stretch test), and body composition (estimated height & weight entry to establish BMI).  The ultimate goal is to have all five of these components in balance; meaning that there are not huge discrepancies in one versus another which can ultimate lead to injury.

Students are not graded on their fitness assessment score, but students are graded on effort and participation. All we ask is that each student give their best and compete only with themselves.

Click here for FITNESSGRAM's list of frequently asked questions.

This past spring the wellness department upgraded to a web-based FITNESSGRAM. This means that students and parents can access their account from any computer with internet access. If you go to you should see a login screen that looks like this:

Once you select Massachusetts as the state, the district and school should auto-fill. All student's user names are first_last (first underscore last) and the password is WPS with the school lunch code with no spaces.  Once logged in, all returning students can access previous years test data by clicking on the test name in the upper right hand side of the screen. Tests are named either fall or spring with the year. 

After logging in, click on the large FITNESSGRAM in the center of the page.

 Next you will see previous years tests in the upper right hand side of the screen. Highlight the test and click open. You will see two tests in this example-fall 2013 and Spring 2014.

HOMEWORK: What is the one thing that you are taking away from this post? What is something new that you learned? Leave your comment with you teacher's name and the day and color of your class please.

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 Be Safe, Be Healthy, Be Happy,