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  • Annual Fitness Tests for AAI Professionals

    Many professions require a minimum standard of fitness and Leaders of Adventure Sports and Outdoor Education cannot realistically expect to be an exception. If things go wrong, Leaders want the reassurance of knowing that physically they are up to any challenges that might occur, particularly if there is an incident. We have designed a set of exercises that will demonstrate a reasonable standard of stamina and strength, with a range of levels to address gender and age variables.

    WARNING If, for various reasons you have let yourself go a bit, we recommend that you seek medical advice and professional guidance before setting out on a fitness campaign.

    The secret is to start gradually, have plenty of rest and recovery sessions, eat well and keep hydrated, listen to your body and give yourself plenty of variety in your sessions. If you have trouble with motivation, perhaps seek a group to exercise with, consult the scales and tape to monitor progress but most importantly make exercise a regular part of your lifestyle. No excuses.

    AAI Professionals validate their continued ability to perform their various roles with their annual renewal declaration in the Code of Conduct. The fitness tests are organised similarly. Results may be entered and verified by a colleague or other professional that they are at the required level or Professionals may just be happy to know that they keep fit as part of their lifestyle and are happy to confirm that as they know they are in shape. The annual declaration operates on trust, we expect AAI Leaders to enjoy a regular routine to maintain their personal fitness all year round.

    Stamina is defined as the ability to exercise the entire body for long periods of time, example cycling, walking, running and swimming.
    Muscular Endurance is the ability of the muscles to maintain and repeat contractions without too much fatigue. Many activities need both kinds of endurance, example, swimming, running.

    Flexibility or suppleness is the range of movement in a joint. If you have poor flexibility you move stiffly and are more likely to injure your tendons and ligaments in violent movements.

    There are two standards, one for land activities and another for water depending on the areas of Leaders operation. 

    Land Test
    •    The Push-Up: The push-up measures the endurance of the chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles. Assume the front-leaning rest position by placing your hands where they are comfortable for you. Your feet may be together or up to 12 inches apart. When viewed from the side, your body should form a generally straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Begin the push-up by bending your elbows and lowering your entire body as a single unit until your upper arms are at least parallel to the ground.

    Then, return to the starting position by raising your entire body until your arms are fully extended. Your body must remain rigid in a generally straight line and move as a unit while performing each repetition. Count the number of repetitions you have completed correctly. If you fail to keep your body generally straight, to lower your whole body until your upper arms are at least parallel to the ground, or to extend your arms completely, that repetition will not count.

    Any incorrectly performed push-ups will not be counted. An altered, front-leaning rest position is the only authorised rest position. That is, you may sag in the middle or flex your back. Correct performance is important. You have two minutes in which to do as many push-ups as you can.

    •    The Sit-Up: The sit-up measures the endurance of the abdominal and hip-flexor muscles. Assume the starting position by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 45- degree angle. Your feet may be together or up to 12 inches apart. Another person may hold your ankles with the hands or tuck under a solid object. Your hands should rest either side of your head and should not pull your neck forward. Begin by raising your upper body forward to or beyond the vertical position. The vertical position means that the base of your neck is above the base of your spine. Then lower your body until the bottom of your shoulder blades touch the ground. At the end of each repetition, count the number of sit-ups you have correctly completed. The up position is the only authorised rest position. If you rest in the down position, the event will be terminated. As long as you make a continuous physical effort to sit up, the event will not be terminated. You have two minutes to perform as many sit-ups as you can.

    •    Two-Mile Run: The two-mile run is used to assess your aerobic fitness and your leg muscles endurance. You must complete the run without any help running at your own pace. You are tested on your ability to complete the 2-mile course in the shortest time possible. Select a level firm surface and moderate weather although walking is allowed, it is discouraged. At the end, cool-down and stretch.

    In order to pass the Annual Fitness Test for AAI Professionals, Leaders must score a minimum of the designated number in each activity on the table below.
    Scoring on the FTAP is based on gender, age and number of repetitions performed in the push-up and sit-ups, and run time.
    For AAI Leaders who have a medical or physical condition which prevents them from being able to successfully participate in the two mile run, alternate aerobic events are authorised at the discretion of an AAI Master where the result is either pass or fail and is based on the gender and age of the individual.
    Failure to pass two or more consecutive record FTAPs can lead to separation from the AAI, although this is not always the case.

    Land Standards
    AGE GROUP                            18-30    30-45    45-60    60+
    MINIMUM in 2 MINUTES      35           30           20            15
    AGE GROUP                            18-30    30-45    45-60    60+
    MINIMUM in 2 MINUTES      15            10             7             5

    AGE GROUP                           18-30    30-45    45-60    60+
    MINIMUM in 2 MINUTES      50         40           25           20

    2 MILE RUN
    AGE GROUP                           18-30      30-45      45-60      60+
    MINIMUM                                17mins    19 mins    21 mins    24 mins
    2 MILE RUN
    AGE GROUP                       18-30        30-45      45-60       60+
    MINIMUM                           20 mins    22 mins    25 mins    28 mins

    Water Standards Aim To develop the level of physical ability required to carry out safe water activities. Water based AAI Professionals are expected to hold the LSS Bronze Medallion or equivalent that is appropriate for their area of operation. This includes safe water practices, survival in the water, self preservation, recognising an emergency, assessment before and during a rescue, priorities for rescue, acceptance of responsibility, use of bystanders, emergency care and contacting emergency services. For the AAI water based fitness assessment, AAI Leaders are to be tested annually and make a declaration that they have completed the components in the required time. Land and water based AAI Professionals need to do both tests annually.

    Practical Water Components These should be performed whenever practical in the water conditions where they operate. Normal protective clothing for the activity may be worn although additional buoyancy should not normally be worn. All steps must be taken to ensure participants safety during the tests.

    Swim: Swim head-up 400 metres, continuously within 14 minutes, any stroke. Tread Water: Continuously for 8 minutes. Water Proficiency: Demonstrate accuracy in throwing buoyant aids or lines. Throw aids a distance of 10 m placing them within 1 m of the centre of a target three times out of four. Perform a logical underwater search of a specified area, to a maximum depth of 3 m.

    Most importantly, enjoy this aspect of being an AAI Professional. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and those we take out, not to neglect our physical condition. That is the spirit in which we have included this element in AAI awards. However, if your ability to do your work is jeopardised because you are in poor condition there could be serious repercussions.