Reading Room Archive

Senior Fitness Test Manual (Second Edition)

By Roberta E. Rikli, PhD, and C. Jessie Jones, PhD

As life expectancy increases, it becomes more critical to accurately assess older adults’ physical fitness, including strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, and balance. The Senior Fitness Test Manual provides a comprehensive battery of tests to measure the essential components of elders’ fitness through simple, inexpensive, and validated methods. It offers ideal ways to identify fitness strengths and weaknesses of adults over the age of 60, allowing providers to evaluate functional difficulties. A DVD that accompanies the manual provides a video presentation of test protocols and various adaptations.

Tests described in the manual are easy to administer and score, safe for older adult subjects, and meet scientific standards for reliability and validity. In addition to including percentile norm tables for comparing individuals’ various test scores with others of the same age and sex, the latest edition of the manual details the clinical relevance of test scores related to levels of fitness required to support elders’ functional mobility and physical independence.

Standards that provide scores associated with achieving specific goals relative to possessing the physical capability to function independently offer providers information about patients’ performance levels.

Included in the manual are descriptions of procedures, instruction sheets and equipment lists, test setup suggestions, group testing methods, and recommendations for training others on test administration. Recommendations on test protocol modifications for specific populations, such as those with Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and osteoarthritis, highlight the tests’ adaptability.

Specific information details how to interpret test results and offers insight into comparison with others of similar age and sex, along with comparison to threshold scores necessary to maintain function and mobility. The manual provides a full complement of necessary forms, such as informed consent, medical clearance, a personal profile form, an activity record, and measurement conversions.