This information comes from the ‘Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans For Physical Fitness’ book from 1962.
It is a physical fitness program composed of 4 charts (1, 2, 3, 4) and ten exercises, arranged in progressive order of difficulty. Then it goes on to divide the charts into levels and the purpose is to help people easily progress their physical fitness level. However, once your fitness goal has been reached, you should require only three exercise periods a week to maintain it.
It was developed because a great majority of people would like to exercise, but do not know how to go about it – what to do, how to do it, how often, how to progress, or how far to progress. This program takes out all of the guessing! Another cool aspect is that there is no equipment and it can be done in only 12 minutes a day.
That’s probably why actress, Helen Mirren has been doing this on and off her whole life and still looks fabulous!
However, not everyone can get their hands on the entire program and therefore, are frustrated with searching for the specifics of it all online. Well, your search is over! I have taken this information from my own, personal copy and I spared no effort in presenting it all to you. Charts and everything! Your journey begins here:
The First Chart:
The number along the top are the exercises (listed below 1-10). The numbers along the left side are the levels of the program. The minutes for each exercise is written along the bottom.
What level to achieve:
First, you must select the goal for your age! (please excuse the ink in photo. You should still be able to read it). For example. At 41 – 45 years old, your level should be at: 19. Then it shows how to reach that goal on chart (I, II, III and IV). It tells you how many days to spend on each level. In this case, 5 days on chart 1, 7 days on chart 2, x on chart 3 and x on chart 4. (If this is true, then you may not make it to charts 3 and 4 unless you are physically capable of doing so. In which case, you should start each chart at level 1). Either way, if you can maintain your goal level or can go above then you are in top physical shape!
What level to start at:
Start at Level 1, which is at the bottom of Chart 1. When you can do this level without strain and in 12 minutes move up to Level 2. Continue until you reach the goal level recommended for your age group, OR until you feel you are exercising at your maximum capacity.
There are two supplementary exercises which are included for those who wish to do a little more (see end of this post). One exercise is for strengthening the muscles of the feet and the ankle joint. The other is for those muscles of the back and abdomen which assist in the maintenance of posture.
Exercise 1 – Toe Touching.
Start. Stand erect, feet 12 inches apart, arms over head. Bend forward to touch the floor between feet. Do not try to keep knees straight. Return to starting position.
Count. Each return to starting position counts one. (If you begin at level 1,2,or 3, you should be doing this 3 times).
Exercise 2 – Knee Raising.
Start. Stand erect, hands at sides, feet together. Raise left knee as high as possible, grasping knee and shin with hands. Pull leg toward body. Keep back straight throughout. Lower foot to floor. Repeat with right leg. Continue by alternating legs – left then right.
Count. Left and right knee raises count one. (If you begin at level 1,2,or 3, you should be doing this 4 times).
Exercise 3 – Lateral Bending.
Start. Stand erect, feet 12 inches apart, hands at sides. Keeping back straight, bend sidewards from waist to left. Slide left hand down leg as far as possible. Return to starting position and bend to right side. Continue by alternating to left then right.
Count. Bends to the left and right count one. (If you begin at level 1,2,or 3, you should be doing this 5 times).
Exercise 4 – Arm Circling.
Start. Stand erect, feet 12 inches apart, arms at sides. Make large circles with left arm. Do one quarter of total count with forward circles and one quarter with backward circles. Repeat with right arm.
Count. A full arm circle counts one. (If you begin at level 1,2,or 3, you should be doing this 24 times).
Exercise 5 – Sit-ups.
Start. Lie back, legs straight and together, arms at sides.
Raise head and shoulders from floor until you can see your heels. Lower head to floor.
Count. Each partial sit-up counts one. (If you begin at level 1 you should be doing this 4 times).
Exercise 6 – Chest and Leg Raising.
Start. Lie face down, arms along sides, hands under thighs, palms pressing against thighs.
Raise head, shoulders, and left leg as high as possible from floor. Keep leg straight. Lower to floor.
Repeat raising head, shoulders, and right leg.
Count. each chest and leg raise counts one. (If you begin at level 1 you should be doing this 4 times).
Exercise 7 – Side Leg Raising.
Start. Lie on side, legs straight, lower arm stretched over head along floor, top arm used for balance.
Raise upper leg 18 to 24 inches. Lower to starting position.
Count. Each leg raise counts one. Do half number of counts raising left leg. Roll to other side and do half number of counts raising right leg. (If you begin at level 1 you should be doing this 4 times).
Exercise 8 – Push-ups.
Start. Lie face down, legs straight and together, hands directly under shoulders.
Push body off floor in any way possible, keeping hands and knees in contact with floor. Sit back on heels. Lower body to floor.
Count. Each return to starting position counts one. (If you begin at level 1 you should be doing this 3 times).
See 8a Supplementary Exercise & See 8b Supplementary Exercise:
at the bottom of this post
Exercise 9 – Leg lifting.
Start. Lie on back, legs straight and together, arms at sides, palms down. Raise left leg until it is perpendicular to floor, or as close to this position as possible. Lower and repeat with right leg. Continue by alternating legs, left then right.
Count. Left plus right leg lifts count one. (If you begin at level 1 you should be doing this 2 times).
Exercise 10 – Run and Hop.
Start. Stand erect, feet together, arms at sides. Starting with left leg, run in place raising feet at least four inches from floor.
(When running in place lift knees forward, do not merely kick heels backwards.)
Count. Each time left foot touches floor counts one.
Hops. Hopping is done so that both feet leave floor together. Try to hop at least four inches off floor each time.
Note: In all run-in-place exercises only running steps are counted towards completing exercise repetitions. (If you begin at level 1 you should be doing this 50 times).
Supplementary Exercise 8a:
Start. Sit on floor, legs straight and about six inches apart, hands behind body for support, feet relaxed. Press toes away from body as far as possible. Bring toes towards body hooking feet as much as possible. Relax feet.
Count. Each return to relaxed state counts one.
Supplementary Exercise 8b:
Start. Sit on floor, knees bent, feet on floor, hands clasped about knees, head bent forward, and body relaxed. Straighten body and left head to look directly ahead. Pull in muscles of abdomen. Relax to starting position.
Count. Each return to starting position counts one.