Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Personal Fitness
Re: Personal Fitness
Sat, 10 Oct 1998 10:30:06 -0500
I've been seeing two different threads to this discussion:
1) Complaints that the existing requirements for Personal Fitness are
poorly written, and as such, will make attaining Eagle difficult for many
2) Statements that Personal Fitness MB will turn out fitter Eagle scouts
and we need this in this time where so many Youth are overweight.
I haven't looked at the requirements (I don't have the resources currently,
but I'm planning on getting them soon), but from what has been discussed
here, I acknowledge those in group 2, but I am in group 1.
As I see it, the requirements have limited tests for Aerobic fitness,
specifically a mile run. This has been the biggest stumbling block (one I
understand all too well).
>From what I have seen of the requirements ( a 7-8 minute mile run), I doubt
at any time in my life. I could have met this requirement. That doesn't
mean I've always been out of shape, but that running was a poor test of
fitness for me. I expect there are other scouts in this situation.
In my Freshman year of High School, I was diagnosed with exertional Asthma.
If I overexerted myself for too long, it would cause an asthma attack.
Running too great a distance would most often cause an attack, and even
before I was diagnosed, running too hard would cause me breathing problems.
I knew my limits and tried not to exceed them. I carried my inhaler just
in case anyway.
This did not mean that any exercise was out, mostly running. My running
times sucked (because I would stop to walk to catch my breath), but I could
walk all day or ride a bike 20-30 miles (the biggest thing was it could
take me a little longer to do these things, but I COULD DO THEM). For
short distances, on a bicycle, I could do a 4 minute mile, and average a 5
minute mile on a 4 mile ride.
That was 10-15 years ago when I was a scout. I still can't run any great
distance, but I've started exercising again (my wife and I both needing
daily exercise helps us both to keep at it). I'm currently walking 1.8
miles daily in 25 minutes (speed is about 4.3-4.5 miles per hour), and with
that I've lost almost 20 pounds since January (10 of it since July when we
started to make sure we did it every day). I haven't been on a bike
recently, but I'm sure I could get close to those 4-5 minute miles with
very little work.
However, if you looked at my 5'9" on a Height/Weight table, you would find
my 190 pounds is still 10-20+ pounds overweight for even the large build.
Don't ask me to run. I won't pass the test.
When I've been at this weight (this was my weight during college after I
gained my "freshman 10-15"), I've had people taking my blood pressure
(usually when I donated blood) if I was a runner because my blood pressure
was so low. This has to indicate some type of fitness.
Recently, in the _Chicago_Tribune_, there was an article about School Gym
classes teaching new ways to get/stay fit (stairmasters, treadmills for
walking, stationary bikes, etc..., like what health clubs were emphasizing
10-15 years ago) rather than just running, running, running. I applaud
this effort to deemphasize running, as I think it will help make exercise
less of a chore.
In addition, the emphasis on lower impact activities will allow kids to
grow up without blowing out knees and ankles that are still trying to
develop. My knees and ankles are strong and I can walk great distances
(especially with a backpack). One of my Jr. High teachers (also a track
coach) was a running advocate and was hobbling around on bad knees by the
time he was my age.
When the addition of Personal Fitness was made, I didn't know the
requirements well enough to understand this problem. I expect that this
may be a case of good intentions (wanting fitter Eagle Scouts), but not
realizing that there are many ways to measure fitness not covered by this
Yours in Scouting,
Scott A. Begin Troop 348, Oak Forest, IL, Calumet Council