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Article
November 17, 1956

RELATIONSHIP OF PHYSICAL FITNESS TO ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE AND SPORTS

JAMA. 1956;162(12):1139-1149. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970290035010
Abstract

• Physical fitness leads to better athletic performance, and persistent training will usually develop physical fitness. Detailed analyses of the anatomic and physiological characteristics of famous athletes show that it is possible to make fairly reliable predictions of athletic performance. Scores obtained by various static and dynamic tests exhibit various degrees of correlation with the scores made in competition, and it has been easy to pick out the tests that give the highest coefficients of correlation. Dynamic tests thus are shown to have higher predictive value than static tests. Type of physique, strength and power, respiratory efficiency, and cardiovascular components are among the factors that determine performance, but no two, or three, or four factors, even when combined in an optimum manner, measure all aspects of fitness. Fitness tests applied to former champions gave the best results in those athletes who were in continued training. Endurance training makes marked improvements in cardiovascular function. Ability of the endurance athlete to use oxygen is related to circulatory and respiratory capacity, but in sprints, weight lifting, and swimming there are many other important specifics.

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