Hygiene [hy·giene]
conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease

Maintaining minimum physical fitness is a form hygiene and failing to do so is unhygienic.

It is depressing to see things like this:

Springs Officers Will No Longer Take Fitness Tests After Discrimination Lawsuit
Springs Officers Will No Longer Take Fitness Tests After Discrimination Lawsuit

Last Friday the Colorado Springs Police Department agreed to the demands of 12 female officers who filed a civil suit claiming the fitness tests are discriminatory.

Sad thing is, the tests alluded to in that article are typical Dr. Ken Cooper variety intended to assess general physical wellness. Dr. Cooper, the man who coined the word “aerobics”, established his minimum physical wellness recommendations at a point needed to avoid cardiovascular illness. Even though many military, police, and other PT tests are based on this, the tests are intended to assess sufficient fitness to help prevent disease, not establish occupational readiness.

These officers “won” a lawsuit that allows them to avoid a program of hygiene.

Here’s some relevant quotes from a similar policy.
Department of Defense Instruction Number 1308.3
DoD Physical Fitness and Body Fat Programs Procedures

It is DoD policy that service members shall maintain physical readiness through appropriate nutrition, health, and fitness habits. The Military Services shall design physical fitness training and related physical activities consistent with established scientific principles of physical conditioning that enhance fitness and general health essential to combat readiness. Maintaining desirable body composition is an integral part of physical fitness, general health, and military appearance. Physical fitness is an important component of the general health of the individual. Comprehensive fitness includes many aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

Physical Fitness Tests assess Service-wide baseline generalized fitness levels and are not intended to represent mission or occupationally specific fitness demands.

Ensure that gender-appropriate body fat standards shall not be more stringent than 18 percent for men and 26 percent for women, and shall not be more liberal than 26 percent for men and 36 percent for women, as measured using circumference-based methods.

Each branch of the DoD can (and does) establish its own testing procedure. The Air Force remains closest to Cooper’s original recommendations, possibly because Cooper was an Air Force officer when conducting his initial research.

Cooper’s research has been verified by multiple studies:

I’ll be the first to point out flaws in Cooper’s aerobics-centric approach and why it isn’t ideal – especially for DoD and first responders. I have personally experienced how a strength-centric approach based on barbell training is superior. Even Dr. Cooper has amended his recommendations taking this into account.  Other doctors have made similar findings. However, from a wellness, disease prevention, and hygiene perspective, it does not matter.

People with a decent amount of overall fitness will find Cooper’s tests (and other proposed wellness assessments of fitness) easy regardless of how they obtain and maintain their fitness. Reaching suggested fitness and body composition minimums can be done by anyone investing 10-20 minutes a day and maintained doing the same three times a week. Body composition is best maintained by diet, something that merely requires better choices made consistently over time.

That is the point. Obtaining these test minimums should be fairly easy. They are easy for anyone in decent physical shape. For someone that isn’t, they’re easy to eventually reach for anyone willing to invest about an hour total a week and maintain control of what goes into their mouth the other 167 hours in that week. Such fitness minimums are only difficult for people excessively weak, fat, in poor condition, and/or with a debilitating medical issue – and unwilling to man up to do something about it. Such conditions or practices are not conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease; a lack of hygiene.

People that fight legal battles to avoid taking such occasional tests demonstrating minimal physical fitness may as well sue for the right to avoid using dental floss.

This can be done by people in their 80s and 90s:

Even the Cooper Clinic founded by Dr. Ken Cooper, the man that coined the word aerobics, agrees:

Associations of Resistance Exercise with Cardiovascular Disease Morbidity and Mortality

A study published in October in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise provides evidence for the first time that even a little weight training might reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. People appear to gain this benefit whether or not they also engage in frequent aerobic exercise.

The study drew from an invaluable cache of health data gathered at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, where thousands of men and women have been undergoing annual checkups, which include filling out detailed questionnaires about their exercise habits and medical history. More than 12,500 records were anonymized for men and women, most of them middle-aged, who had visited the clinic at least twice between 1987 and 2006. The subjects were categorized according to their reported resistance exercise routines, ranging from those who never lifted to those who completed one, two, three or more weekly sessions (or whether they lifted for more or less than an hour each week). Another category was aerobic exercise and whether subjects met the standard recommendation of 150 minutes per week of brisk workouts. This exercise data was then crosschecked against heart attacks, strokes and deaths during the 11 years or so after each participant’s last clinic visit.

The findings were dramatic: The risk of experiencing these events was roughly 50 percent lower for those who lifted weights occasionally, compared with those who never did — even when they were not doing the recommended endurance exercise. People who lifted twice a week, for about an hour or so in total, had the greatest declines in risk. (Interestingly, the subjects who reported weight training four or more times per week did not show any significant health benefits compared with those who never lifted, although the researchers believe this finding is probably a statistical anomaly.)

“The good news,” says Duck-chul Lee, an associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study, “is that we found substantial heart benefits associated with a very small amount of resistance exercise.” As an associational study, the results show only that people who occasionally lift weights happen to have healthier hearts — not that resistance training directly reduces heart-related health risks. The data, though, does reveal associations between weight lifting and a lower body mass index, Lee says, which might be connected to fewer heart problems. He and his colleagues do not know the specifics of what exercises people were doing — lat pull-downs? dead lifts? squats? — or how many repetitions they did or at what level of resistance. Lee says he is in the early stages of a major study to examine some of those factors. But he doesn’t suggest waiting for those results.