Wellness | The Adult Presidential Fitness Test

There are two types of fitness:

Performance-related fitness is linked to athletic performance (for example: a 50-yard dash time or the ability to maneuver around obstacles quickly) and is linked to speed, reaction time, and coordination.

Health-related fitness is linked to fitness components that may lower risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or low back pain. Health-related physical fitness includes the following components:

  1. Aerobic fitness – ability of the heart and lungs to deliver blood to muscles,
  2. Muscular strength and endurance – enough to do normal activities easily and protect the low back,
  3. Flexibility – ability to move your many joints through their proper range of motion, and
  4. Body composition – not too much body fat, especially around the waist.

The activities featured on this adult fitness test are provided as a way for you to get an estimate of your level of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and your body composition. The results on each test provide you with a measure from which you can track your progress in each area as you become more physically active.

Am I healthy enough for testing?

Use the Preparticipation Screening Questionnaire provided by the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine to figure out if you are at high or low risk for cardiovascular events during exercise testing. By completing this questionnaire you can decide if it is safe to take these tests or if you should take additional steps prior to completing the test.

The risk associated with exercise or exercise testing varies with a person’s health status. Exercise testing performed on healthy adults results in a low number of abnormal cardiovascular events, such as dizziness, fainting, irregular heartbeats, and sometimes, heart attack. The same tests performed on adults with some diseases or risk factors for diseases place them in a higher-risk category for cardiovascular events. During exercise testing, the overall risk in adults is low with about 6 abnormal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people tested (American College of Sports Medicine. (2005). Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, p. 12-13).

Assess your health needs by marking all true statements.


You have had:

__ a heart attack

__ heart surgery

__ cardiac catheterization

__ coronary angioplasty (PTCA)

__ pacemaker/implantable cardiac defibrillator/rhythm disturbance

__ heart valve disease

__ heart failure

__ heart transplantation

__ congenital heart disease


__ You experience chest discomfort with exertion.

__ You experience unreasonable breathlessness.

__ You experience dizziness, fainting, blackouts.

__ You take heart medications.

Other health issues

__ You have diabetes.

__ You have asthma or other lung disease.

__ You have burning or cramping sensation in your lower legs when walking short distances.

__ You have musculoskeletal problems that limit your physical activity.

__ You have concerns about the safety of exercise.

__ You take prescription medication(s).

__ You are pregnant.

If you marked any of the statements in this section, consult your healthcare provider before engaging in exercise. You may need to use a facility with a medically qualified staff.

Cardiovascular risk factors

__ You are a man older than 45 years.

__ You are a woman older than 55 years, have had a hysterectomy, or are postmenopausal.

__ You smoke, or quit smoking within the previous 6 months.

__ Your blood pressure is greater than 140/90 mm Hg.

__ You do not know your blood pressure.

__ You take blood pressure medication.

__ Your blood cholesterol level is greater than 200 mg/dL.

__ You do not know your cholesterol level.

__ You have a close blood relative who had a heart attack or heart surgery before age 55 (father or brother) or age 65 (mother or sister).

__ You are physically inactive (for example, you get less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on at least 5 days per week or less than 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity on less than 3 days per week).

__ You are more than 20 pounds overweight.

If you marked two or more of the statements in this section you should consult with your physician or other appropriate health care provider before engaging in exercise. You might benefit from using a facility with a professionally qualified exercise staff to guide your exercise program.

__None of the above

If you marked this statement you should be able to exercise safely on your own without consulting your physician or other appropriate health care provider.Reprinted with permission by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Is the test right for me?

The adult fitness test is for people aged 18 and older who are in good health.