Month: December 2010

Definition of “Fitness” from 1987

canada standardized test of fitness

What is Fitness?

Looking through an older booklet from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology the CSTF booklet (Canadian Standardized Test of Fitness) I found some surprisingly good info for the early 80’s period. It seems at this point in time the Canadian government was actually putting a lot of research into trying to define “Fitness”.  Remember the old Canadian Fitness Testing? Well it seems that the the people in charge of this study and effort believed in the scientific method and that measurable repeatable results cannot be obtained without first developing a baseline of “fitness”.

This was a massive joint effort by the government to try to “improve the likelihood that participants who have a fitness appraisal will take appropriate action to improve their fitness” I believe this was a precursor to the whole Participation movement that attempted to get Canadians more active.

Circa 1987

Physical Fitness Defined:

Traditionally, fitness has been defined as “the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigour and alertness, without undue fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies.

the manual goes on to expand on this definition :

To go beyond this simple statement of philosophy, fitness, in an applied sense can be looked upon as “a set of attributes of functional capacity that are related to the ability to perform physical activity.”

These attributes are the specific components of fitness:

  • body composition
  • aerobic fitness
  • muscular strength
  • flexibility
  • muscular endurance

A pretty good definition from a study from over 20 years ago.  The Canadian Standardized Test of Fitness (CSTF) measured all of these, and was scrapped some years later. Too bad. It seems that CrossFit which is a huge up and coming fitness movement now has capitalized on this same scientific method and has defined worked hard to define “fitness” as well.

CrossFit’s New Three-Dimensional Definition of Fitness and Health, Greg Glassman (CFJ Preview) [wmv][mov» Feb 22 09

CrossFit’s Definition of Fitness (CrossFit Journal)

Source: Canadian Standardized Test of Fitness – Interpretation and counselling manual 1987. A joint project of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, National Fitness Appraisal Certification and Accreditation Program and Fitness Canada, a directorate of Fitness and Amateur Sport.