The Lawyer’s Well-Being Brief

Do you remember doing the Presidential Fitness Test? Does it bring back pleasant memories or nightmares? What can we learn from it?

Marc W. Crayton

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“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not making decisions.”- Catherine Cook

Welcome back or welcome to, the Lawyer’s Well-being Brief. Every week, I share insights on ways to improve our well-being. President’s Day has come and gone, and it reminded me of the Presidential Fitness Test. If you were in high school after the 2012–2013 school year, then you never got a chance to participate. If you were in high school before that time, then maybe you fondly remember getting ready for the tests or perhaps you were petrified and tried to avoid going to P.E. class so you wouldn’t have to participate.

The Presidential Fitness Test (PFT) was a national physical fitness testing program conducted in the United States public middle and high schools from the late 1950s until 2013 when it was disbanded and replaced with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.

The PFT has an interesting history. It all began when two rock-climbing pioneers, Dr. Hans Kraus and Bonnie Prudden, scared Dwight D. Eisenhower into creating a new fitness regimen. The two had met while climbing mountains in New York. Kraus and Prudden were not only mountain climbers (apparently some of the best in the world) but they were also fitness activists.

Kraus, along with Dr. Sonja Weber, helped develop the Kraus-Weber Fitness Test. In the early 1950s, Dr. Kraus and Dr. Weber conducted a research study that was originally connected to lower back pain. The research study resulted in a diagnostic test for muscular fitness called the “Minimum Muscular Fitness Test,” which would later come to be known as the Kraus–Weber Fitness Test.

Drs. Kraus and Weber considered the test to determine minimum fitness levels; it consisted only of six basic exercises. This test helped gauge fitness through a series of exercises that focused on core strength and flexibility, like leg raises and modified situps. Prudden began giving the test to American schoolchildren and became disturbed by the poor results.

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Marc W. Crayton

I help newer, younger lawyers make better well-being decisions so that they can thrive personally and professionally. Forward, always!