How the Presidential Physical Fitness Test measures up today

Yahoo News producer Meg Ludemann puts the Presidential Physical Fitness Test to the test, and offers modern alternatives to the once mandated exercises. Read more on Yahoo News

Video Transcript

MEG LUDEMANN: Could you pass the Presidential Fitness Test today? And no, we don't mean using these. It's likely you took it during gym class between the years of 1966 and 2012. But here's how it measures up to experts nowadays. First up, the mile run as fast as you can. While it's a good measure of cardiovascular health and endurance, the pain and exhaustion can turn people off to running. So start off walking and gradually push the pace.

The pull-up or push-up test. Experts agree it's a good measure of upper body and overall strength, but if done incorrectly, that helps no one. So modify it on your knees if you need to. Doing as many sit-ups as you can in 60 seconds. Exercise scientists agree that it can cause back pain and works just the front core muscles, whereas holding a plank has far more benefits.

The shuttle run. A sure fire way to injury with the bending down and quick turns. Not everybody's knees and forearm can keep up with that. So doctors suggest testing agility with lateral jumps. The dreaded sit and reach. As a way to measure flexibility, but some people have an advantage with longer arms or legs, so stretching to touch your toes is more practical. In 2012, former President Obama replaced this test with the FitnessGram to make it more of an individual health assessment, versus a one-size-fits-all competition with your classmates.