• Deanne Pandey

Do fitness parameters change with age?

It’s vital to regularly test your fitness and agility in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity is one of the most important health behaviours, preventing many age-related problems. It is associated with successful ageing. There is a lot of research evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of many noncommunicable diseases, including cancer, coronary diseases, diabetes, and pulmonary diseases. Regular physical activity can also improve mental health, cognitive functions, and overall well-being. Many studies have confirmed that people that are more physically active have a lower rate of overall mortality. But measuring these health factors using the same fitness tests will not yield the most effective results as your body undergoes changes constantly.

Considering the fact that the world’s population is ageing, special attention should be paid to the health behaviours of older people. The participation of seniors in physical activity has a beneficial effect on functional ability and reduces the risk of functional limitations. It allows them to maintain independence and keep self-reliance, which is very important for good quality of life. It is important for older adults to have adequate strength, flexibility, and endurance to accomplish everyday tasks. Assessing these components of fitness can detect weaknesses which can be treated before causing serious functional limitations. Any person older than 60 years of age, particularly anyone overweight or with a history of high blood pressure and heart disease, should consult a physician before undertaking any vigorous testing. Make sure that a medical clearance has been given. The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire is a medical screening questionnaire that is commonly used. When testing, make sure that medical assistance and first aid supplies are close at hand, and adequate resuscitation equipment should be available nearby. Senior fitness testing assesses aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility in older people, as well as in others with physical limitations that make standard fitness testing inappropriate, dangerous, or impossible. Senior fitness testing may include standard fitness tests that are appropriate for seniors or are easily adapted to their special needs or limitations. Other tests are designed specifically for seniors and may include assessments of manual dexterity, fine- and gross-motor coordination, and agility. In particular, senior fitness testing aims to assess functional fitness—the ability to carry out daily tasks safely and effectively. Therefore the tests involve everyday activities, such as walking, standing up from a chair, bending, lifting, and stretching.

Here are some tests for adults over 60 to test their fitness and agility-

  1. Chair Stand Test — testing lower body strength

  2. Block Transfer — a manual dexterity test or coordination test of fine motor abilities.

  3. Soda Pop Test — a simple manual dexterity test and coordination test

  4. Arm Curl Test — testing upper body strength

  5. Chair Sit and Reach Test — lower body flexibility test

  6. Sitting-Rising Test — assesses flexibility, balance and muscle strength

  7. 8-Foot Up and Go Test —

  • Groningen Walk Test — a walking variation of the beep test with no sharp turns.

  • 1/2 Mile Walk — a set distance walk test.

  • 6 minute walk — a timed walking test.

  • Step in Place Test for assessing the aerobic fitness for those who cannot walk freely.

Try out these tests today to measure fitness and agility of the elderly.

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