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
Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0 and Manual Package Subscription assesses the physical attributes older adults need in order to perform daily activities. It includes Senior Fitness Test Manual, Second Edition (with bound-in DVD) and a one-year subscription to the web-based application Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0.
The Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0 and Manual Package Subscription offers a comprehensive method of assessing the physical attributes that older adults need in order to perform daily activities. Consisting of the Senior Fitness Test Manual, Second Edition (with bound-in DVD), and a one-year subscription to the Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0 (accessible from internet-enabled devices, including smart phones and tablets), this kit helps health practitioners and fitness and rehabilitation specialists identify weaknesses that cause mobility problems, develop exercise programs to improve functional fitness, prevent future mobility issues, and evaluate progress.
The Senior Fitness Test Manual, Second Edition, provides thorough coverage of the seven tests that make up the Senior Fitness Test (SFT)—lower- and upper-body strength, aerobic endurance, lower- and upper-body flexibility, agility, and balance. Each test 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 manual contains instructions on preparing and administering the tests and interpreting and using test results. Readers will find guidelines on creating senior fitness programs as well as exercises to recommend for improving functional fitness scores.
The second edition of the Senior Fitness Test Manual offers new tools to help facilitate the Senior Fitness Test. It includes expanded information on ways to modify test protocols for older adults with limiting conditions such as osteoporosis, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, stroke, fibromyalgia, heart conditions, multiple sclerosis, hip and knee replacements, chronic renal failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, and blindness or low vision. Ready-to-use materials such as reproducible forms, large-print instructions—complete with photos—to post at testing stations, and large versions of performance charts make the testing process more effective. An expanded chapter on improving test scores includes illustrated instructions for exercises that can be prescribed to seniors to help them improve their fitness.
The manual retains national normative data based on age and sex for more than 7,000 adults ages 60 to 94, but it now also includes criterion-referenced, clinically relevant fitness standards. Based on the authors' continued groundbreaking research on aging and functional fitness, these new criterion-referenced standards allow practitioners and older adults to identify the test scores at a specific age that are correlated with maintaining functional mobility into the 90s, providing a new and deeper understanding of the test scores. This allows practitioners and their clients to focus on maintaining or improving functional fitness with customized goals meant to preserve and improve individual abilities.
The second edition of the Senior Fitness Test Manual is packaged with a DVD that contains visual demonstrations of the tests, including setup, execution, evaluation, and modifications to testing protocols to accommodate clients’ limitations. Throughout the text, DVD icons indicate when to view the DVD for live demonstrations.
Once the Senior Fitness Test is conducted, the test results for all participants can be entered into the Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0. This web application can be used in analyzing test scores, creating individual or aggregated reports, and generating program outcome statistics. Participants 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, you may input test results directly from any internet-enabled device, including smart phones or tablets, 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 and Manual Package Subscriptionoffers a user-friendly means of evaluating physical capacity in the growing population of older adults and helping them to maintain and improve their functional fitness.
Note: The Senior Fitness Test Manual, Second Edition, and the Senior Fitness Test Software 2.0 Subscription are also available separately. Check the right column of this product page for links to the various options.
How to Use This Manual
Chapter 1. Fitness Testing in Later Years: Recognizing Unique Needs of Older Adults
Importance of Fitness and Fitness Testing in Later Years
Rationale for Developing the SFT
Unique Qualities of the SFT
Uses of the SFT
History of the SFT—A Decade of Use
Chapter 2. The Senior Fitness Test: Defining Functional Fitness Parameters
Functional Fitness Parameters
Test Selection Criteria
Overview of Test Items
Chapter 3. Test Validity, Reliability, Percentile Norms, and Criterion-Referenced Performance Standards: Identifying Relevant Fitness Measures for Older Adults
Criterion-referenced functional fitness standards
Chapter 4. Test Administration: Establishing Consistent Testing Protocols
Pretest Procedures and Considerations
Administering the Tests
Guidelines for Group Testing
Chapter 5. Test Results: Interpreting and Using Feedback to Motivate and Improve Performance
Interpreting Test Scores
Methods of Providing Feedback to Participants
Using Test Results to Motivate Participants
Chapter 6. Exercise Recommendations for Older Adults: Improving Senior Fitness Test Scores
Physical Activity and Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults
Guidelines for Structured Exercise to Improve SFT Scores
Exercises to Improve Strength, Flexibility, Agility, and Balance
Appendix A. Informed Consent and Assumption of Liability
Appendix B. Medical Clearance Form
Appendix C. Participant Instructions Before Assessment
Appendix D. Scorecard
Appendix E. Accident Report Form
Appendix F. BMI Conversion Chart
Appendix G. Station Signs for Posting
Appendix H. Age-Group Percentile Norms
Appendix I. Personal Profile Form
Appendix J. Performance Charts
Appendix K. Personal Goals and Activity Plans
Appendix L. Activity Record
Appendix M. Normal Range of Scores
Appendix N. Functional Fitness Standards for Older Adults
Appendix O. Measurement Conversions
About the Authors
Resource for physical activity instructors working with older adults in fitness settings, including senior wellness centers, assisted living facilities, and retirement residences; also 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.