The aim of the study was to establish normative values of the senior fitness test of the elderly people living in the Retirement homes in the Ljubljana region and to compare the data with foreign populations. We were also interested in whether female representatives achieve better test results than men, and on the basis of the body mass index, we also analyzed the nutritional status of the elderly.
The study included 110 elderly people from the Retirement homes in the Ljubljana Region, of which 27 men and 83 women. Senior fitness test (SFT) was used to evaluate functional fitness of participants. SFT includes six tests in addition to measuring height and weight: the chair stand test, the arm curl test, the chair sit and reach test, the timed up and go test, the back scratch test, and the 6-minute walk test. The tests are indicators of the functional fitness of the elderly. The data was obtained with the help of field measurements by the students of the master's studies in Kinesiology.
We found that Slovene elderly from the Retirement homes, compared to the normative values of foreign populations, achieved worse results in all tests. The worse result was the 6-minute walk test, the timed up and go test, the chair seat and the reach test and the back scratch test. The most successful was the arm curl test. When comparing the results of gender tests, men showed better performance than women in all tests, except for the chair seat and reach test. On average, women achieved better results, which means that women have better flexibility in biceps femoris muscle than men. Elderly from the Retirement homes in the Ljubljana region have higher body mass index (BMI) than the foreign population, which means that the proportion of overweight and obese is higher, which is 60% for women and 93% for men.
With the obtained data, we found that the normative values used in practice are not entirely appropriate for the elderly in the Retirement homes. It is also necessary to test the population of elderly people living in the home environment and comparing them with the foreign populations. Due to extremely poor test results, normative values must be appropriately changed at least for the population of individuals living in homes for the elderly. In the future, it is necessary to reduce the proportion of overweight and obese, and more attention should also be paid to reducing the differences in functional fitness between the sexes.
The elderly in the Retirement homes should be allowed to have several physical activity programs so that in the future, the results of physical fitness tests will be less worrying, thereby ensuring a longer independence and higher quality of life for the elderly.