Fitness for the Future

by Sanam Bhakta — 

Dr. Trey Cone, a UCO professor of Kinesiology and Health Studies, gives his students a chance to grow in the STLR tenet of Health & Wellness through a Fitness Testing Assignment. This assignment requires students to complete fitness testing and write a thorough reflection on what their results mean to them.

Photo of tabletop "STLR Health & Wellness" green banner

Cone created this assignment because fitness testing is required by the accrediting body for physical education majors. Additionally he must teach these Physical Education majors how to use Fitnessgram, because they may be required to do so with their future PreK-12th grade students. His two main goals are to expose his students to the positive aspects of using fitness testing in their future professions as teachers and to transform their own personal health habits and perspectives by thoroughly understanding their own fitness.

First, Cone’s students use standardized models (Cooper Fitnessgram) to assess their fitness levels across five key areas:

  • Body Composition (BMI)
  • Muscular Strength: Push-up test
  • Muscular Endurance: Curl-up
  • Flexibility: Sit and reach & trunk lift
  • Cardiovascular: Blood pressure (manual) & one-mile run

Upon completion of fitness testing, each student prints and reviews their results. To maximize their growth and understanding about their own physical health, Cone asks his students to reflect on what these results mean by addressing the following questions:

  1. Were there any assessments in which you did not score at or above the recommended range for good health? If so, why do you think you scored low?
  2. Were the results surprising to you? Why or why not?
  3. How might any low scores be addressed through future behavior? A plan for each area of deficiency should be included.
  4. How might you utilize fitness testing in your future profession as a teacher? Will it be an integral part of your physical education program? If so, why and how?

Since there are only 4 questions and students need to submit 2 full pages, they are forced to dig a bit deeper and write more about their thoughts and if this assignment is impacting them. Cone says that in “general the most impactful piece of the assignment is realizing how, as a future teacher, student goals and curriculum can be structured around fitness testing.”

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