Changes to Senior Fitness Test Protocol at the CCAA
Change is good and in this case change is great!
Effective November 1, 2008 the CCAA has adopted a new senior fitness test protocol to be used for our standard fitness appraisal. Fitness appraisals are paramount to the CCAA as they help us to monitor our participants’ fitness levels prior to the commencement of an exercise program, and again annually to measure their progress.
The former fitness appraisal, developed by the CCAA, was an effective battery of tests and was used for many years. Recently, however, some areas for improvement came to light: This test was complicated, required expensive equipment and required extensive training for our appraisers. It was also found to be invasive by some participants since skin-fold and girth measurements were taken. This former test required a significant amount of time to administrate, and also proved to be tiring and intimidating for new and inexperienced exercisers. The new Senior Fitness Test (SFT) battery is quick, simple, non-invasive and very functional - all important considerations for our senior participants.
The SFT was developed and validated by Roberta Rikli and Jessie Jones, researchers at California State University, Fullerton. This test is based on a functional fitness framework that emphasizes the importance of functional movements, like walking, stair climbing and lifting, for performing everyday tasks. In order to perform many of these functional movements, individual must possess adequate strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. The SFT consists of 7 functional activities that can help us measure those physiologic parameters of our older adult participants.
It is important to assess the functional fitness of older adults so that individuals “at risk” of functional decline can be identified and effective exercise interventions can begin. The assessments also aid instructors in planning safe and effective physical activity programs, which can be evaluated regularly to track participant progress. The new SFT protocol also proves to be a great tool for motivation as it offers a thorough report highlighting how participants’ scores compare to others of their same age and gender, and also to their own previous test scores.
We, at the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, are confident that the Senior Fitness Test battery will be well received by both our fitness appraisal staff and most importantly, by our participants.
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Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging
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