Physical fitness levels among independent non-institutionalized Spanish elderly: the elderly EXERNET multi-center study

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2012 Sep-Oct;55(2):406-16. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Mar 16.


Background: Physical fitness is gaining in importance in all population groups, including elderly, but data are still scarce. The aim of this study was to report gender and age specific physical fitness levels in non-institutionalized Spanish elderly.

Methods: A representative sample of 3136 elderly (≥ 65 y), 724 men and 2412 women, from 6 Regions of Spain: Madrid, Aragón, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Canarias were assessed in the elderly EXERNET multi-center study between 2008 and 2009. The authors assessed static balance, muscular strength, flexibility, agility, walking speed and cardiorespiratory fitness using eight different fitness tests: one leg balance, chair stand, arm curl, chair sit-and-reach, back scratch, 8-foot up-and-go, 30-m walk, and 6 min walk tests.

Results: The authors derived gender and age-specific normative values for physical fitness in the non-institutionalized Spanish elderly. The figures showed greater physical fitness in the elderly men than in women, except for the flexibility test, and a trend toward decreased physical fitness in both genders as their age increased.

Conclusions: The normative values hereby provided will enable evaluation and correct interpretation of independent non-institutionalized Spanish elderly fitness status.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Postural Balance
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Sex Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Walking