Functional Fitness and Physical Activity of Portuguese Community-Residing Older Adults

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

The purposes of this study were to generate functional-fitness norms for Portuguese older adults, to determine age and sex differences, and to analyze the physical activity–associated variation in functional fitness. The sample was composed of 802 older adults, 401 men and 401 women, age 60–79 yr. Functional fitness was assessed using the Senior Fitness Test. Physical activity level was estimated via the Baecke questionnaire. The P50 values decreased from 60 to 64 to 75 to 79 yr of age. A significant main effect for age group was found in all functional-fitness tests. Men scored significantly better than women in the chair stand, 8-ft up-and-go, and 6-min walk. Women scored significantly better than men in chair sit-and-reach and back scratch. Active participants scored better in functional-fitness tests than their average and nonactive peers. This study showed a decline in functional fitness with age, better performance of men, and increased proficiency in active participants.

Gouveia, Fena, and Freitas are with the Dept. of Physical Education and Sports, University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal. Maia is with the Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. Beunen is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Blimkie is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.