Various activities of daily living of importance for an independent and active life were studied in 70-year-old systematically selected men (n = 190) and women (n = 229) recruited from a population study. The tests concluded basal movements in the upper extremities in hygiene and dressing activities, ability to rise from a stool, function in the kitchen e.g. reaching shelves and tasks including pronation and supination of the forearm and measurements of comfortable walking speed. In a selected subsample, tests of ability to climb various step-heights and a manual ability test were also performed. As regards basal movements in the upper extremities in hygiene and dressing activities, the hand-to-toe test caused most problems. A minority of both sexes had difficulty rising from a stool and in performing the pronation-supination tests. Problems in the test of reach were mainly correlated to the height of the subject, presence of arthritic disorders, and positional vertigo. The mean walking speed was in both sexes lower than that recommended in Sweden as the norm for pedestrians at signalized intersections. All but one subject could climb up and down a 40 cm step using a handrail. Without using handrail one-fifth of the women but only a few men had problems at this step-height but all managed the 30 cm step. Both sexes showed a decline in manual dexterity compared to 20-30-year-old subjects. Correlations were found between muscle strength, step test results and walking speed as well as between walking speed and leisure-time physical activity. There was also a correlation between problems in handling the plug in the manual ability test and strength in the key-grip.