The components of a fitness test can vary based on the purpose of the test; for instance, a test may be given for a number of different reasons, such as for medical purposes, to assess overall health, or to join the military. Each of these tests will be very different, and may even target different areas of the body, and will require various types of preparation. In general, there are a few components to most fitness tests, which include measurements of flexibility, strength, and aerobic endurance, which can help to give more of a complete picture of an individual's overall health.
Some of the most common reasons for a fitness test include health reasons, cardiovascular health in particular. This will typically involve a test of cardiovascular endurance on a treadmill, where heart rate and oxygen intake will be measured. People who have recently suffered an injury may also take a miniature "fitness test" to test strength or flexibility in the injured area of the body to be sure it is healing properly. This will often occur after a period of physical therapy has been completed to determine whether or not more therapy is needed.
Another instance when fitness tests may be given is when an individual signs up for personal training at a gym; it is very likely that the trainer will want to assess existing levels of physical fitness in order to design a training program, and to prevent injury. A fitness test such as this is not something that can be passed or failed. It is simply intended as an assessment. By contrast, fitness tests are also commonly given to individuals who have recently joined the military; these tests tend to be much more strenuous than others, and will often involve running long distances, climbing, strength assessments, and other activities to ensure that individuals are capable of enduring the physical demands of military service.
Schools may also require a fitness test of all students each year to be sure they are getting enough physical activity. This typically measures the time it takes students to run a certain distance, the amount of flexibility they possess by touching the toes, and strength by doing pull-ups or by hanging from a pull-up bar. Each school may measure physical fitness in different ways, however; students are typically not graded on these assessments, but it helps schools to determine the effectiveness of their physical education programs, and to see if they need to be improved.