Letters

Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · The value of fitness
. . . .

The value of fitness

Robert Downes - January 12th, 2009
When my partner George Foster and I started this newspaper back in 1991, it was with the idea of having a strong emphasis on health and fitness.
We were both products of the fitness boom of the ’80s -- a time when running, biking, cross-country skiing and triathlons were more a way of life than something you did for fun.
Through the years, we’ve gotten soft on that side of the paper, but I still enjoy working on this annual tribute to fitness issue each January. It’s a reminder to reinvent ourselves each year.
A lot of you apparently feel the same way. I’ve been going to the same gym since ’91 and every January since then, the place has been packed with the newcomers.
But each year, the converts gradually taper off and the gym empties as the months go by. I once heard that the average newcomer to a fitness program lasts about 11 weeks before he or she caves in, but one of our local trainers thinks it might be more like six.
But think of this as you shape up for the coming year: most Americans who had money in the stock market lost 40 percent or more of their investment over the past few months, wiping out 10 years of earnings. And if you own a home, you’ve seen its value plunge, with an iffy notion of when housing prices will rise again, if ever.
But if you invested each day in your own personal health and fitness through the years, then chances are your “investment” is still strong. Your body, mind, relationships and the way you look at the world -- all of these are tied to the simple blood, brain and muscle chemistry of getting in a good work-out every day.
Want to be optimistic in 2009? Then plan on pumping your body full of endorphins, the pain-fighting, anxiety-relieving byproducts of exerise. Take a hike, literally; you’ll feel better.

How fit are you? Take the President‘s Challenge
So, how fit are you? Do you really want to know? You can find out online in a matter of seconds by taking the President’s Challenge Adult Fitness Test.
Just plug in the number of push-ups and sit-ups you can perform along with other data on aerobics, flexibility and weight, and hit the online button: Bingo -- the test shows how you compare with your fellow Americans.
The test is available at www.adultfitnesstest.org. It asks the following questions:

Aerobic Fitness:
• How long does it take you to complete a one-mile walk?
• What is your heart rate after completing the walk?
• What is your weight?
• For runners: how long does it take you to run 1.5 miles?

Muscular Strength:
• How many half sit-ups (crunches) can you do in one minute?
• How many push-ups in one minute?

Flexibility:
• How far can you sit and reach when touching your toes?

Body Composition:
• What is your height, weight and waist measurement?

Once you complete the test, an online calculator rates your level of fitness.
If you are a 40-year-old woman and can run a 10-minute mile (completing a 1.5-mile run in 15 minutes), then you are in the 65th percentile of women your age. This means that while you are above average, 35 percent of all women your age are in better shape aerobically.
The test is age and gender-specific. For instance, if you are a 55-year-old man and can do 25 push-ups in a minute, that means you are in the 80th percentile of your age group. But if you are a 25-year-old man and perform 25 push-ups, then you are in only the 25th percentile for your peer group.
The cruelest results on the President’s Challenge tend to come in the “body composition” category, where most Americans are judged to be overweight.
In my case, with a height of 6’-1”, a weight of 200 lbs., and a 34-inch waist, the results were judged: “Overweight -- increased risk of disease.”
The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports was established in 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to determine the fitness of the nation, especially that of America’s children.
In 1957 a nationwide study of 8,500 boys and girls ages 5-12 was completed, resulting in the creation of the President’s Challenge fitness assessment.
The program had its heyday from 1961-’63 during President John F. Kennedy’s administration. President Kennedy and his brother Robert challenged Americans to complete the same 50-mile hike that is required of U.S. Marine officers. The Kennedys completed their walk through snow and slush wearing dress shoes.
The program got another boost from 1989-’93 under President George H. Bush when Arnold Schwarzenegger served as chairman. The actor and former bodybuilder visited all 50 states to advocate daily workouts for every American.
Last May, the President’s Challenge was expanded to cover adults over the age of 18, as well as children. The online test was established to allow every American to rate his or her level of fitness. All you need is a stopwatch for the timed portions of the test and a yardstick to measure flexibility.

Check it out -- you may surprise yourself: www.adultfitnesstest.org.

 
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