Support our mission
 

(For a look at some of the fitness charts, and a link to more charts and other information from the Air Force Link Web site, click here.)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Lace up those sneakers, blue-suiters. The Air Force has released the new scoring charts that will be used when the service starts its ramped-up fitness testing in January.

The new test, which was announced by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper this summer, abandons for most the service’s bicycle test in favor of a 1.5 miles run, sit-ups, push-ups and a waist measurement.

The test is based on a 100-point scale, with the run counting for 50 points and push-ups and sit-ups 10 points each.

The final 30 points is determined by an airman’s waist measurement, which the Air Force is using to meet the Defense Department’s 2002 directive that requires each service to have standards based on body fat measurements, according to Maj. Lisa Schmidt, the Air Force Surgeon General chief of health promotion operations.

Each gender has eight age categories, with standards easing about every five years, except for waist measurement: Men’s waistlines can never exceed 40 inches, while women’s max out at 35 inches.

Those limits were set because studies have consistently shown that higher measurements “significantly increase the risk for disease in general,” Schmidt said in a Tuesday telephone interview.

To determine the new standards, Air Force officials gathered a group of government fitness experts and medical professionals, Schmidt, who is herself a nurse, said.

Schmidt said the experts leaned heavily on data from the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research, a Dallas, Texas-based company that has sponsored many of the scientific studies that have been used by corporations, universities and health facilities to devise their own fitness programs and standards.

The panel decided to use a “health-based” set of standards, as opposed to “fitness-based” requirements that other services, such as the Marines, have chosen, Schmidt said.

“Each service has a different mission,” she said. “We want people to have a level of fitness that will help them stand the stresses of deployment, like fatigue and heat,” rather than fitness geared to performing certain jobs, she said.

With the health-based model in mind, the Air Force panel decided to have the 1.5-mile run account for half the total because “aerobic fitness is the best single indicator of overall fitness,” Schmidt said.

The sit-ups and push-ups, meanwhile, are only 10 points each because they say less about overall well-being than aerobic capacity and body fat.

“We know strength training is important to a balanced fitness program and to prevent disease and injury,” Schmidt said. “But we wanted to pick a level that’s achievable and gives people the opportunity to balance their workout.”

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up