Physical Fitness


There has been a great deal of concern in recent years about the levels of physical fitness of many young people. Adult obesity rates have almost quadrupled in the last 25 years. Now 22% of Britons are obese and three-quarters are overweight. The number of obese children has tripled in 20 years. 10% of six year olds are obese, rising to 17% of 15 year olds. Research has shown that obesity can lead to health problems, including arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. One way to help to ensure that these problems do not arise is to improve people's physical fitness levels by taking regular exercise.

Testing Physical Fitness

A key concept in testing physical fitness is that of a person's pulse rate and, in particular, how quickly this returns to normal after excessive exercise. It is important that the pulse rate returns to normal after strenuous exercise, otherwise the heart is put under continuous stress.

Gallagher and Brouha Test

In this test, the exerciser steps onto and off a bench (or step) of height 18 inches for boys, and 16 inches for girls, at a rate of 30 steps per minute for 4 minutes. The exerciser continues for as long as possible up to the four minutes.
The pulse rate is taken at the following times after the exercise stops:

1 - 1 minutes;   2 - 2 minutes;   3 - 3 minutes.

In each case the number of beats in the half minute noted, say p1, p2 and p3.
The fitness index is evaluated from

where T is the duration of the exercise in seconds, and p1, p2 and p3 are the measured pulse beats in each minute.

More information about the need for physical fitness can be found here.



Work out the answers to the questions below and fill in the boxes. Click on the Click this button to see if you are correct button to find out whether you have answered correctly. If you are right then will appear and you should move on to the next question. If appears then your answer is wrong. Click on to clear your original answer and have another go. If you can't work out the right answer then click on Click on this button to see the correct answer to see the answer.

Where answers have more than 2 decimal places, please round them to 2 decimal places.

Question 1
In each of the following cases, calculate the fitness index and determine the grade for a 4 minute exercise, using the information in the introduction above.

(a)  p1 = 90, p2 = 60, p3 = 40  
Index  =   Grade =

(b)  p1 = 90, p2 = 70, p3 = 60  
Index  =   Grade =

(c)  p1 = 90, p2 = 80, p3 = 75  
Index  =   Grade =

(d)  p1 = 85, p2 = 50, p3 = 35  
Index  =   Grade =


Question 2
In each of the following cases, calculate the maximum and minimum length of exercise time, in seconds, from the pulse rates and index grades given.

(a)  p1 = 75, p2 = 50, p3 = 30,    Grade = Excellent  
Minimum  =
Maximum =

(b)  p1 = 100, p2 = 75, p3 = 50,  Grade = Poor  
Minimum  =
Maximum =

(c)  p1 = 90, p2 = 70, p3 = 60,    Grade = Fair  
Minimum  =
Maximum =

(d)  p1 = 83, p2 = 56, p3 = 37,    Grade = Good  
Minimum  =
Maximum =


Just for Fun
Use the Gallagher and Brouha fitness test to determine your own physical fitness index and what grade of fitness you are currently at.

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Produced by R.D.Geach June 2006