Here is one of the archived newsletters from Topend Sports. Sign up to receive the latest sports and science news direct to your email inbox. See more archived newsletters.

Fitness Testing Newsletter: What is the Fittest Sport?

Hi and welcome to the October 2009 fitness testing newsletter about comparing the fitness level of different sports. 

You are receiving this email as you have subscribed through the Topend Sports website. If you do not want to receive any more newsletters, you can unsubscribe through the Yahoo groups administration panel (link at the base of this email).

Comparing Sports

Which sports people are the fittest? This is a question that comes up time and time again. Fitness itself is hard to define, so it makes this often asked and debated question equally difficult to answer. That does not stop us from giving some results of comparisons between sports and discussing and confusing the issue even more.

The Canadian Experiment

In October 2003 a large group of more than 1000 amateur provincial Canadian athletes competed in a series of fitness tests at the Toronto Sky Dome. They were aged between the ages of 6 and 19, representing 16 sports (Alpine Skiing, Archery, Basketball, Bowling, Boxing, Cycling, Fencing, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, OFSAA School Sports, Rowing, Snowboarding, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Tennis and Track and Field). The aim of the day was to crown the "Fittest Sport in Ontario" while also promoting physical fitness for Canadian youth. The athletes completed 13 tests to determine their overall fitness level. Here are some of the tests that were used to determine the fittest sport.

The winning sport of the title "Fittest Sport in Ontario" at the end of the day was Alpine Skiing. This was no fluke - they won the award the following year too. 

Why Skiing?

As the tests cover the full range of fitness components, the competition was aimed at finding the sport that had the best overall fitness. Individual athletes and sports may stand out in specific tests, but they needed to be good at most of them. There is no doubt that skiing is a very demanding sport. I can imagine that they performed very well on tests of upper body strength, power, agility, lactic and strength endurance. 

If fitness was defined as endurance fitness, another skiing event, cross-country skiing, would be expected to come out on top too. A new section of the Topend Sports website lists the world best performances in many of the common fitness tests. In the VO2max category, cross country skiers are highly represented on the top of the list. 

When comparing sports or athletes to find the fittest, the most important thing is first define what is fitness, before trying to measure it. It will be hard to find anyone to agree of either of these, so this debate will always continue.

About this Newsletter

Keep subscribing to this fitness testing newsletter for the latest information concerning fitness testing, including notification of updates to the ultimate source of all fitness testing information - 'Rob's Home of Fitness Testing'.

Thank you for your ongoing support of my site.

Rob Wood

Rob's Home of Fitness Testing

Related Pages