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December 23, 1944


JAMA. 1944;126(17):1088. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850520030014

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What is physical fitness? Is it the ability to resist fatigue? Is it longevity or is it muscular strength? Or is it a combination of these and perhaps other ingredients? Many discussions of physical fitness neglect to define accurately the standards and aims of physical fitness programs. Physical fitness is neither a fixed standard nor an average but rather an objective. A man of 20 to be physically fit should be able, perhaps, to carry a 40 pound pack 20 miles in eight hours; at the age of 14 or at 50 the same man probably would not be able to perform this task, and yet he could be considered physically fit. A farmer of 45 should have a different standard of physical effectiveness than a politician of the same age. The standards of physical fitness are different for men and for women. As a group, women have less muscular

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