Identifying the recommended senior fitness standards
As is typical in the process of establishing criterion-based standards, a combination of processes—subjective reasoning, data-based statistics, and literature review—was involved in arriving at the recommended fitness standards (cut-point scores) for the SFT test items that would be associated with the ability (or projected ability) to function independently in later years.
It has been our experience that both practitioners and researchers generally find it preferable to administer the SFT to several people at a time. In fact, group testing is preferred when the goal is to compare performance to the normative data, because all normative scores were collected in a group setting where there tends to be more social interaction and encouragement than when tests are given in an isolated environment.
Briefly, strength is increased by gradually increasing the resistance placed on a muscle (i.e., by applying what is called the overload principle). Overloading a muscle means making it do more than it is accustomed to doing. This can be accomplished using free weights (similar to the dumbbells used to test arm strength in the SFT), elastic exercise bands, Velcro strap-on weights, exercise machines that are designed for specific muscle groups, or a person’s own body weight and gravity. A
For use in conjunction with Senior Fitness Test Manual, Second Edition, and its bound-in DVD, the Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0 Subscription is a web-based application that offers a user-friendly means of recording and reporting participants’’ test results from the Senior Fitness Test.
The Senior Fitness Test (SFT) is a simple, economical method of assessing the physical attributes that older adults need in order to perform daily activities. It consists of seven tests—covering lower- and upper-body strength, aerobic endurance, lower- and upper-body flexibility, agility, and balance—that can be conducted with minimal space, equipment, and technical requirements, making it easy to administer in most clinical and community settings or in the home environment.
The Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0 Subscription offers an easy way to proctor and report on this comprehensive test battery for assessing physical fitness in adults ages 60 and older. Developed in conjunction with the authors of the Senior Fitness Test Manual, Second Edtion, to serve as a companion resource, this web application can be used for entering and analyzing test scores, creating individual or aggregated reports, and generating program outcome statistics. Particpants can be grouped according to specifications such as age and sex or characteristics such as smoker and nonsmoker.
With the one-year subscription, multiple staff in the same organization at the same location are able to access this easy-to-manage online program. Graphs and streamlined versions of reports can be generated in the application, and you can export data for analysis using spreadsheets or statistical software. Plus, a free mobile version allows you to input test results directly from a smart phone or a tablet, making the application convenient to access outside the office or even as you are conducting the test. You may then renew this subscription on an annual basis.
Maintaining strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, and balance is critical to seniors whether their later-life interests are playing golf, running marathons, or performing daily tasks such as climbing stairs or getting out of a chair without assistance. The Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0 Subscription when used in conjunction with the Senior Fitness Test Manual, Second Edition, and its bound-in DVD, offers a user-friendly means of evaluating—and then improving—functional fitness in the growing population of older adults.
Note: The Senior Fitness Test also contains a manual and DVD that explain the test in its entirety, including how to set up, conduct, and evaluate the test. This manual with DVD is available separately or sold in a package with the software. Check the right column of this product page for links to the various options.
Resource for physical activity instructors working with older adults in fitness settings, including senior wellness centers, assisted living facilities, and retirement residences; also a text for university courses in fitness programming and exercise prescription for older adults.
Roberta E. Rikli, PhD, is professor of kinesiology and dean emeritus of the college of health and human development at California State University in Fullerton and was cofounder of the LifeSpan Wellness Program at Fullerton. For the past two decades she has done extensive work in physical performance assessment with a particular focus on senior fitness. She has published numerous scientific papers on her work and has made over 100 presentations at conferences and workshops in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Finland, Scotland, Brazil, China, Korea, and Japan.
Dr. Rikli has served on the editorial boards of three scientific journals and is a regular reviewer for several others. She has held leadership positions in professional organizations, including the International Society for Aging and Physical Activity; the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD); the American Kinesiology Association; and the National Academy of Kinesiology.
Dr. Rikli lives in Orange, California, and enjoys playing golf, hiking, and playing tennis.
C. Jessie Jones, PhD, is professor and chair of the department of health science at California State University in Fullerton. She is director of the Fibromyalgia and Pain Management Center at Fullerton and cofounder of the Center for Successful Aging.
Dr. Jones is internationally known for her research, program design, curriculum development, and instructor training in the field of exercise science and aging. She has taught senior fitness classes and conducted training workshops for senior fitness instructors for over 25 years. Her work has been covered in numerous publications and presented at conferences worldwide. Her professional memberships include the Gerontological Society of America, the American Public Health Association, and the American Academy for Pain Management.
Dr. Jones lives in Fullerton, California, where she enjoys dancing, drumming, hiking, playing golf, and jogging with her dog.