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Can You Pass the President's Adult Fitness Test?

ALLISON AUBREY: So given the number of games demonstrated at the convention, it's clear that kids have a lot of options. But what about adults? Well, just this week, the President's Council on Physical Fitness put up a new program on the Internet. It tests physical fitness, and it gives a baseline for designing an exercise program. So when I got back to the office, I asked my two middle-aged colleagues to try it - David Malakoff and Jon Hamilton.

JON HAMILTON: I'm 47 years old.

AUBREY: And David.

DAVID MALAKOFF: I'm 46.

AUBREY: OK. So you guys are about the same age. And I know you're both competitive, so here's the deal. There's going to be four activities: sit-ups, push-ups, stretching. And we're going to put you on the scale to test your body mass index.

Now first, you're going to have to do a cardiovascular test.

HAMILTON: All right. So the goal is to walk a mile, and at the end, we have to measure our heart rate. Whoever has the lower heart rate is the winner. Ready, set, go.

MALAKOFF: You doing all right there?

(Soundbite of heavy breathing)

HAMILTON: I'm breathing a little bit.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HAMILTON: Just a little bit, though. Just a little bit.

MALAKOFF: All right, here we go.

HAMILTON: All right.

MALAKOFF: Through the finish line.

HAMILTON: OK. Finished. All right. Now it's time for a little pulse taking.

MALAKOFF: All right.

AUBREY: All right, so guys, how did it go?

MALAKOFF: Well, it appears that I had a slightly lower heart rate at the end of our one-mile walk than Jon did.

HAMILTON: Assuming he was counting accurately.

AUBREY: What I'm picking up - what I'm detecting in your voice is maybe a little competition going on here?

HAMILTON: Oh, we're not competitive. We're friends.

MALAKOFF: Jon's an outstanding young man.

AUBREY: All right. We've got to move on. Richard Harris, come along with us. We need you to judge the push-ups.

RICHARD HARRIS: OK.

(Soundbite crowd chatter)

Four, five, six, seven...

MALAKOFF: I give up.

HARRIS: ...eight.

MALAKOFF: I'm done, man. I don't think I'm fit enough to take the President's Fitness Test.

AUBREY: So it looks like we've got a clear winner here. David did 15, Jon did 30.

Guys, we're going to head down to the NPR fitness room down in the basement of the NPR headquarters. We're going to do the last leg of the competition down here - the curls, or the sit-ups.

OK. Brenda Wilson, will you watch David?

BRENDA WILSON: Gentlemen, are you ready>

HAMILTON: Ready.

MALAKOFF: Ready.

WILSON: Keep your back down. Four. Keep your back down. Five. Keep your back down. Six.

HARRIS: Time. Forty-two over here.

AUBREY: OK. Jon, had a wild-eyed look over here, but I think he did nearly double as many.

MALAKOFF: That's hard.

AUBREY: OK. After this, guys, you're done with the movement. So this is the sit and reach test. It's designed to measure your flexibility. OK. So with your fingertips in contact with the yardstick...

David Malakoff and Jon Hamilton, come down to the mailroom. I found a scale.

(Soundbite of banging)

HAMILTON: All right. So we are completely naked here in the mailroom.

(Soundbite of laughter)

AUBREY: You can take your shoes off. Then we know it's body weight.

HAMILTON: All right. Shoes off. Shoes off, clothes on. All right. I am stepping onto the scale.

AUBREY: OK. It's hovering at 159.99, so we're going to put you at 160.

All right, David, hop on there.

MALAKOFF: Let's see. In high school I weighed 155, so I think I'm probably right around there still.

AUBREY: All right. Let's see. It's hovering around, ooh, 195. All right, David, 195.

HAMILTON: All right. Let's enter the data, man.

AUBREY: Yeah. We're sitting in front of a computer. We've got the Web site up. Now we need to input all the numbers.

OK. So I've got the results in front of me. Jon, it looks like you were in the 81st percentile.

HAMILTON: I feel OK about that.

AUBREY: And, David, it looks like you were in the 51st percentile. Right about dead in the middle.

MALAKOFF: Yeah, but I learned I'm a little overweight and got some work to do.

AUBREY: There's always next year, right?

MALAKOFF: Man, I'm coming back. I'm ready. Watch out for me next year.

AUBREY: I'll be here, man.

INSKEEP: That was NPR's Jon Hamilton, David Malakoff and Alison Aubrey. NPR's Richard Harris, Brenda Wilson, and producer Rebecca David officiated. How many NPR employees does it take to take a fitness test?

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man: (Singing) Touch down every morning - 10 times. Not just now and then. Give that chicken fat back to the chicken, and don't be chicken again. No, don't be chicken again.

INSKEEP: And if you want to challenge your co-workers to the President's Fitness Test, no matter how many there are, just go to npr.org/health.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Allison Aubrey
Allison Aubrey is a Washington-based correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She has reported extensively on the coronavirus pandemic since it began, providing near-daily coverage of new developments and effects. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.