Introduction: Physical fitness is strongly associated with daily physical function, health, and longevity in older adults. Field-based tests may provide a reasonable alternative compared to advanced laboratory testing. Separating postexercise test scores from reactivity measurements requires sufficient test-retest reliability. Postexercise test scores with reliability analyses of field-based fitness tests in older adults are lacking. The present study aimed to examine the test-retest reliability of some novel easily accommodated fitness test measurements and compare pretest scores with postexercise results in these tests along with other field-based fitness tests in older adults. Methods: Totally 1,407 community-dwelling older adults (69% female), x̄ = 71.5 ± 5.0 (65–84 years), performed twelve field-based fitness tests at pretest 1, pretest 2 and a posttest after an 8-week exercise period (twice weekly 1 h of combined strength and aerobic training). T tests, intra-class correlation, limits of agreement, standard error of measurement, and coefficient of variance were performed between pre-1 and pre-2 tests, and repeated measures ANOVA and partial eta squared effect size for postexercise differences for men and women in 5-year age groups ranging from 65 to 84 years. Results: Between pre-1 and pre-2 tests a significant difference was noted in some of the novel fitness test measurements but generally not, e.g., in isometric trunk flexion and step-up height on either leg among all sex and age groups. In most of these novel fitness test measurements, no significant differences occurred between the two pretests. Examples of results from the pre-2 test to the posttest were isometric trunk flexion 45° endurance and isometric trunk extension endurance improved significantly for both sexes in age groups 65–74 years. Women, but not men, improved the maximal step-up height for both legs in most age groups. The speed in the 50 sit-to-stand improved significantly for most age groups in both sexes. Six-min walk distance improved significantly for most age groups in women but among men only in 65–69 years. In the timed-up-and-go test, significant improvements were seen for all age groups in women and in men 70–79 years. No postexercise improvements were generally observed for grip strength or balance. Conclusions: In most of the novel fitness test measures, no significant difference was noted between the two pretests in the assessed sex and age groups. Results after the 8-week exercise period varied between sex and age groups, with significant improvements in several of the twelve studied fitness tests. These findings may be valuable for future projects utilizing easily accommodated physical fitness tests in older adults.

With older age, there is generally a decline in physical fitness due to reduced muscle strength, coordination, and balance [1‒3]. This decline makes older adults more vulnerable to falls, hospitalization, functional disability, comorbidities, and mortality [4]. Further, low physical fitness is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal health conditions, such as osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass [1, 2]. However, a decrease in physical fitness with older age can be attenuated and, to some degree, reversed by physical activity and structured exercise [2]. Preservation of physical function and cardiorespiratory fitness may be of importance to avoid the onset of disease and disability and reduce healthcare costs for the elderly [1, 2, 5, 6]. Moreover, maintaining mobility and avoiding physical disability are keys for retaining independence and quality of life in older age [1, 2, 5, 6].

The term physical fitness generally describes how well a person copes with the demands of daily living among older adults, including cleaning and cooking also activities of self-care, such as eating or bathing [5]. As proposed by Bouchard et al. [5], physical fitness can be categorized into cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, and motor fitness.

Regular exercise and physical activity can help maintain and improve physical function, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve overall quality of life [7‒9]. Fitness tests can provide information about an individual’s current fitness level and identify areas for improvement. Measurements of physical fitness associated with health outcomes have become highly relevant clinically and for municipal care of the elderly. However, evaluation of physical fitness is not routinely assessed in older adults [1‒6].

There are numerous questionnaires for assessing self-rated physical fitness in older adults, showing varying validity and reliability [10]. Assessing physical fitness through specialized laboratory tests (e.g., isokinetic muscle strength assessments and direct measures of maximal oxygen uptake in maximal cycle or treadmill tests) can be time-consuming and often requires expensive equipment and qualified technicians. Field-based tests, i.e., fitness tests that are designed to be used outside of laboratories or fitness centers, on the other hand, require minimal equipment, are less costly, and can provide a reasonable alternative. These tests also allow for testing of many participants in quick succession and reduce the total testing time needed. These advantages make them suitable for routine use by researchers, clinicians, municipal employees, physical education teachers, and personal health trainers.

However, important limitations and potential risks are associated with fitness testing in older adults. For example, some tests may not be appropriate for individuals with certain medical conditions or disabilities, and some may pose a risk of injury or exacerbation of existing health conditions.

Previous proposed field-based fitness test batteries for older adults, such as the Senior Fitness Test [11], include cross-sectional and reliability data of seven field-based tests to assess physical fitness (i.e., cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and motor fitness). It remains a challenge to select appropriate tests for exercise intervention effects for older adults of different ages and fitness levels. Field-based fitness tests should meet several criteria. They must achieve high reliability – that is reproducibility of values in repeated trials on the same individual. The outcome should correlate with the gold standard, i.e., criterion validity, and the test should have a relationship with health outcomes, i.e., predictive validity. Further, the test should be performed with high feasibility and safety (few complications occurring during test procedure). It is of interest to investigate which field-based fitness tests may be particularly useful in demonstrating accurate reliability and to follow-up exercise interventions in older adults.

The present aim was to investigate test-retest reliability of six novel easy-to-use field-based fitness test measurements and to describe how exercise, twice weekly over 8 weeks, affects the results of these test and other already proven fitness tests for older adults in separate age and sex groups. Consequently, this study included some novel tests not thoroughly investigated previously in a relatively large population of community-dwelling older adults volunteering as first-time participants in an 8-week instructor-led physical exercise period.

Study Design and Participants

A field-based fitness test battery was assessed at three separate occasions: pretest 1, pretest 2 (1 week later), and posttest (after 8 weeks of twice weekly exercise sessions, each of 1 h, with combined strength and aerobic training, Fig. 1). The data collection for the health project was performed during spring semesters, and all test and exercise sessions were supervised by second-year health promotion program students at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences. In the preceding year, all students completed a 1-month full-time course focused on fitness test methodology and anthropometric measures. Their curriculum also encompassed aerobic exercises, muscle strength training, and anatomy and physiology, with each topic spanning approximately 1 month’s study time.

Fig. 1.

Schematic diagram of the experimental protocol. The timing between the two pretests and the posttest as well as the exercise period was similar for each participant. Further details are given in the text.

Fig. 1.

Schematic diagram of the experimental protocol. The timing between the two pretests and the posttest as well as the exercise period was similar for each participant. Further details are given in the text.

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A total of 1,407 community-dwelling older adults with mean age 71.5 ± 5.0 years (range 65–84 years, 69% women) participated in the 8-week exercise health project. Table 1 shows anthropometric baseline data among men and women in the four analyzed age groups: 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, and 80–84 years. The participants were generally recruited from municipalities in the Greater Stockholm area via advertising in local media, social media, and in locations where seniors gathered. The health project was organized by the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in collaboration with local organizations and municipalities. The health project was free of charge. Inclusion criteria for the health project was that the participants were living in their own homes and healthy enough to walk unaided. Exclusion criteria were severe sickness such as heart failure and severe joint disease. Inclusion criteria in this study were older adults participating in the health project for the first time and attending all three test occasions, and in the analyses, these participants test scores were included. The study was approved by the Stockholm Regional Ethics Committee (ID: 2017/2064-32, 2021-00948). All participants were informed about the study in advance and gave their written consent to participate.

Table 1.

Mean values (±SD) at baseline for age, length, weight, BMI, waist circumference, and % body fat for men and women in separate age groups

SexAge groupnAge, yearsHeight, mWeight, kgBMI, kg/m2Waist circumference, cmBody fat, %
Men 65–69 171 67.0±1.4 1.77±0.07 84.7±12.7 26.6±3.3 99.8±11.1 24.9±5.9 
70–74 143 71.8±1.4 1.78±0.07 81.7±11.9 25.8±3.3 97.8±10.7 25.2±5.1 
75–79 89 76.7±1.4 1.77±0.06 80.1±9.9 25.6±2.7 96.9±7.9 24.3±5.6 
80–84 33 81.7±1.4 1.76±0.07 79.3±11.4 25.3±2.5 96.8±8.9 23.8±6.1 
Women 65–69 432 67.0±1.4 1.65±0.06 70.0±12.1 25.8±4.3 87.4±11.6 34.9±7.4 
70–74 303 71.9±1.5 1.65±0.06 69.3±11.1 25.6±4.0 87.7±10.9 35.2±6.6 
75–79 168 76.5±1.4 1.64±0.06 68.5±11.1 25.5±3.9 87.4±11.7 35.1±6.5 
80–84 68 81.7±1.4 1.65±0.06 65.7±10.5 25.0±3.7 87.4±9.9 33.8±3.9 
SexAge groupnAge, yearsHeight, mWeight, kgBMI, kg/m2Waist circumference, cmBody fat, %
Men 65–69 171 67.0±1.4 1.77±0.07 84.7±12.7 26.6±3.3 99.8±11.1 24.9±5.9 
70–74 143 71.8±1.4 1.78±0.07 81.7±11.9 25.8±3.3 97.8±10.7 25.2±5.1 
75–79 89 76.7±1.4 1.77±0.06 80.1±9.9 25.6±2.7 96.9±7.9 24.3±5.6 
80–84 33 81.7±1.4 1.76±0.07 79.3±11.4 25.3±2.5 96.8±8.9 23.8±6.1 
Women 65–69 432 67.0±1.4 1.65±0.06 70.0±12.1 25.8±4.3 87.4±11.6 34.9±7.4 
70–74 303 71.9±1.5 1.65±0.06 69.3±11.1 25.6±4.0 87.7±10.9 35.2±6.6 
75–79 168 76.5±1.4 1.64±0.06 68.5±11.1 25.5±3.9 87.4±11.7 35.1±6.5 
80–84 68 81.7±1.4 1.65±0.06 65.7±10.5 25.0±3.7 87.4±9.9 33.8±3.9 

Number of participants (n) in each sex and age group is also shown.

Exercise Period

The participants were randomly divided into exercise subgroups of 10–30 older adults. The student-led exercise sessions consisted of supervised strengthening/aerobic activities (60 min twice weekly) for 8 weeks during March and April. At least a 48-h rest interval was set between each training session. All sessions started with 5–10 min of warm-up. Participants performed exercises to music, such as aerobic gymnastics and muscle-strengthening circuit training (switching between stations with specific exercises), intended to activate major muscle groups (such as leg, hip, back, abdominal, shoulder, and arm muscles). The sessions were designed to increase heart rate (HR) and pulmonary ventilation at moderate-to-vigorous intensity without leading to exhaustion [12, 13]. Some balance exercises were included for about 5 min. The last 5–10 min comprised low-intensity exercises and relaxation. The muscle-strengthening circuit training consisted of generally 8–10 exercises, 8–12 repetitions, in 2–3 sets [14]. Approximately 40–60 s per exercise station followed by 20–30 s of rest and transportation to the next station and 2 min of rest between each set. Intensity instructions given during the exercises were “somewhat hard”/“moderate intensity” (12–13 on the RPE scale) up to “hard”/“very hard” (14–17), however, not “extremely hard”/“extremely high intensity” ≥18 [7]. In accordance with a report on utilizing the RPE scale during strength training in practice for older adults by Bukley and Borg [13], these instructions correspond to at least 60–65% of one repetition maximum (1 RM) for older adults. Here, 8–12 repetitions refer to the highest load that could be performed in the full range of motion 8–12 times, i.e., 8–12 RM. The exercises were generally performed in the full range of motion with a similar, slow, moderate cadence between concentric and eccentric phases (usually 2–3 s). There were generally no load adjustments of the exercises performed throughout the exercise period.

Measurements

The measurements were taken at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences or at municipal gym. The total test time was about 2 h including rest periods between tests. The same test leader instructed and guided the participant throughout the test battery on the three occasions, administrating the tests in the same order each time. Participants were encouraged in their test performance throughout all tests. No familiarization was performed prior to the first test occasion.

The anthropometric measurements and analyses were height (cm), weight (kg), BMI (kg/m2), waist circumference (cm). Body composition was analyzed via bioimpedance recordings (Tanita BC-418MA, Tanita Corporation, Arlington Heights, IL, USA) and is presented as percent body fat, %.

Some of the fitness tests were introduced later in the health project, which explains the lower number of participants (n) for those tests (see tables below). This was especially true for the maximal step-up test (MST) and, e.g., 50 sit-to-stand and Ekblom-Bak cycle ergometer test” (for test descriptions, see below). Participants were consistently fewer in the oldest age groups.

In the physical fitness test battery, twelve fitness tests were performed. Some tests were assessed with several parameters and some bilaterally, resulting in 22 test parameters. The fitness tests are shortly described below. All fitness test assessments for each participant across the three test occasions were incorporated into the analyses. However, if an individual was unable to perform a specific fitness test despite successfully completing all other tests, such as the shoulder press due to shoulder pain on one test occasion, only that test was excluded from the analyses. Consequently, all three test occasions for that participant were excluded from analysis for that specific fitness test, regardless of whether only one occasion (e.g., only the posttest) was affected.

Six out of the 22 fitness test measures in this study were novel for evaluation of older adults; isometric trunk flexion, shoulder press, step-up height for both left and right legs, and the completion of 50 sit-to-stand (parameters such as speed of execution, successful touches of the chair, and the number of repetitions completed within the initial 30 s). Given the novelty of these six measures, as well as the assessment of static trunk extension, reliability analysis was conducted, as previous studies had not explored their reliability across different age groups of older adults in these tests. Illustrations of the fitness tests can be found in Figure 2, and descriptions are provided in the subsequent text.

Fig. 2.

The images illustrate the field fitness tests studied: isometric trunk flexion endurance (45° in the hip joint; a), isometric trunk extension endurance (b), 50 sit-to-stand (50 sit-to stand speed; number of successful chair-bounces (n out of 50); 30-s sit-to-stand; c), alternating shoulder presses (d), 5 sit-to-stand (sitting on chair between each stand-up; e), MST, left and right leg, respectively (f), hand-grip strength (left and right; g), 6-min walk test (6MWT; h), EB cycle ergometer test (measuring HRs during two workloads; i), time-up-and-go (TUG; j), stand-and-reach (k), and one-leg standing balance test (left and right, open and closed eyes; l).

Fig. 2.

The images illustrate the field fitness tests studied: isometric trunk flexion endurance (45° in the hip joint; a), isometric trunk extension endurance (b), 50 sit-to-stand (50 sit-to stand speed; number of successful chair-bounces (n out of 50); 30-s sit-to-stand; c), alternating shoulder presses (d), 5 sit-to-stand (sitting on chair between each stand-up; e), MST, left and right leg, respectively (f), hand-grip strength (left and right; g), 6-min walk test (6MWT; h), EB cycle ergometer test (measuring HRs during two workloads; i), time-up-and-go (TUG; j), stand-and-reach (k), and one-leg standing balance test (left and right, open and closed eyes; l).

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Muscular Endurance Tests

  • 1.

    Isometric trunk flexion 45° assessed in seconds, performed for as long as possible while seated on the floor, trunk held statically backwards 45° (arms crossed over chest, knees bent 90°) ankles supported by test leader. A wooden 45° frame was positioned just behind the participant as a reference angle.

  • 2.

    Isometric trunk extension (Sorensen’s test, assessed in seconds) was performed prone for as long as possible while holding the trunk horizontally (crossed arms on chest) and lower body on a bench (iliac crest at bench edge, test leader supporting ankles). Timing started, in these two endurance tests, when correct trunk position was reached and stopped on exhaustion [15].

  • 3.

    Sit-to-stand (n out of 50): the participants went from sitting-to-standing 50 times as fast as possible, being instructed to only touch the chair seat if possible: otherwise, a complete sit-down was performed between each rise (46-cm chair height). Time and speed/frequency (number of sit-to-stands/second) were noted. In the case 50 sit-to-stand was not completed, the number of completed sit-to-stand was used to calculate the speed. Furthermore, all completed sit-to-stand during the first 30 s was noted in the test (for 30-s sit-to-stand, see also [11]). The number of sit-to-stands (n of 50) where the chair seat was briefly bounced on was also noted (Tables 2, 4).

  • 4.

    Shoulder press: hand weights (5 kg for men and 3 kg for women) were alternately pressed from shoulder height to straight arm (cadence 1/s) until exhaustion. When the participant could not perform another press or keep cadence rhythm, the test was stopped. Number of shoulder presses was noted.

Muscular Strength Tests

  • 5.

    Five sit-to-stand: time in seconds was measured while performing 5 sit-to-stand as fast as possible and sitting down fully on the 46-cm high chair between each raise, with start and stop in a seated position.

  • 6.

    MST: on either leg, a standardized MST was performed in 3-cm increments on a specially designed step-up box until the highest height was reached. Correct body posture was required, without support from hands or the other leg [16, 17].

  • 7.

    Grip strength: a hand-grip dynamometer (Sagitta, Sagitta Pedagog AB, Sweden) was squeezed as hard as possible for 4–5 s while standing, with arms and hands hanging. Three measurements were performed on each hand alternately with a short rest between trials. The highest grip strength from the three trials was noted (Nm).

Cardiorespiratory Fitness Tests

  • 8.

    Six-minute walk test (6MWT): participants walked as fast as possible, around a horizontal/flat course (in ∼50 m-laps) indoors for 6 min, where after the distance was noted [11, 18].

  • 9.

    Submaximal cycling test: participants cycled with the cadence 60 rpm (revolutions per minute) during two 4-minute periods (according to the Ekblom-Bak cycling protocol [19]), first at standardized work rate of 32 watt and second at an individually determined rate of work (yielding a perceived-exertion rate (RPE) of ∼14, based on sex and training background). Generally, men had higher workloads, although, to enable between-test comparisons, the same individual workload was used on all three test occasions. Mean HR was calculated for the last minute (time marks 3.15, 3.30, 3.45, 4.0 min) at both work rates. HR was measured with the Polar 400 (Electro Oy, Kempele, Finland) as heart beats per minute (bpm).

Motor Fitness Tests

  • 10.

    Timed-up-and-go (TUG): from sitting (46-cm chair height), participants walked 3 m around a floor mark and returned to sitting, as fast as they found comfortable [11].

  • 11.

    Stand-and-reach: participants, standing with straight legs on a step, reached down toward their toes. Distance from fingertips to feet was recorded as ± cm, above/below feet.

  • 12.

    One-leg balance test: with open eyes, either leg balance test for 60 s. Number of support needed with non-balancing foot or arms (n/60 s) and time to first use of support (1st miss) was noted. One-leg balance tests with closed eyes were timed until first support was needed (s).

Statistical Analyses

Descriptive data are presented as mean scores and standard deviation (±SD). The physical fitness test data were in general normally distributed. To examine the relative and absolute reliability between the two pretests among the six novel fitness test measures, a three-layered approach, as partly recommended by Weir et al. [20], was adopted: (i) paired t test, (ii) intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI, where ICC values >0.90 represented excellent reliability, 0.75–0.90 good, 0.50–0.75 moderate, and <0.50 poor [21], (iii) standard error of measurement (SEM: as calculated from the ANOVA analyses). In addition, limits of agreement (LoA) were calculated (d¯± [1.96*SD difference]) (where d¯ is the mean difference between two pretest scores). Also, coefficients of variance (CVs) were analyzed. The paired t test significant level was set at p < 0.039 between the two pretests, as an adjustment for multiple testing according to false discover rate [22] (a type-I error correction, i.e., 5% false positive of all significant pretest differences found from p < 0.05). To determine mean differences for the groups from pre-2 to end test, a repeated measure ANOVA (RM-ANOVA) was performed to investigate time effects. Where the null hypothesis was rejected (finding of significant time × group interactions), Bonferroni’s post hoc analysis was performed. A significant level in the RM-ANOVA analyses was set at p < 0.05, with adjustments for multiple testing between sexes (p < 0.01) and regarding the four age groups (p < 0.0125). The effect size over time (pre-2 to post) in the RM-ANOVA was analyzed using partial eta squared (where 0.01 indicates a small effect, 0.06 indicates a moderate effect, and 0.14 indicates a large effect). Statistical calculations were performed using the SPSS Statistics 26.0 software package (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) and Jamovi (Version 2.3, Computer Software).

Anthropometrics

The anthropometrical characteristics of the study sample at baseline are summarized in Table 1, separately for men and women in the four different age groups.

Reliability

Below, Tables 2-3 present the reliability analysis between the two pretests for the six newly introduced fitness test measures, as well as for trunk extension. This table includes mean values (±SD), mean differences, results of paired t tests indicating significant changes, ICC with 95% confidence intervals, 95% upper and lower LoA, SEM, and CV for each age and sex group.

Table 2.

Reliability for upper body muscular tests among men and women in each age group

TestSexAge groupnPre-1Pre-2Δ P2-1, %ICC (95% CI)LoASEMCV
Static trunk flexion (s) Men 65–69 155 71.2±47.4 71.5±45.5 0.3 (0) 0.84 (0.78–0.89) −67.0 to 67.7 24.2 25.8 
70–74 126 74.2±52.1 71.5±45.3 −2.7 (−4) 0.84 (0.78–0.89) −73.3 to 68.0 25.4 26.6 
75–79 80 69.3±54.1 62.5±37.6 −6.8 (−10) 0.67 (0.48–0.79) −98.1 to 84.4 32.9 40.6 
80–84 29 70.2±50.7 73.9±51.3 3.7 (5) 0.71 (0.38–0.87) −91.8 to 99.1 33.9 37.6 
Women 65–69 380 67.2±48.6 72.8±50.2 5.6 (8)a 0.88 (0.86–0.90) −56.3 to 67.6 22.4 23.8 
70–74 262 66.2±54.9 67.9±55.0 1.7 (3) 0.90 (0.88–0.92) −62.2 to 65.5 23.0 25.4 
75–79 127 62.3±46.6 63.8±48.6 1.5 (2) 0.88 (0.83–92) −59.7 to 62.7 22.0 26.1 
80–84 56 57.5±45.5 63.7±60.5 6.2 (11) 0.90 (0.84–0.94) −55.8 to 68.1 22.3 27.1 
Static trunk extension, s Men 65–69 152 71.9±47.7 74.3±43.3 2.4 (3) 0.89 (0.85–0.92) −53.6 to 58.4 20.2 20.6 
70–74 117 73.2±50.4 76.5±53.8 3.3 (5) 0.90 (0.86–0.93) −57.2 to 63.9 21.8 21.6 
75–79 69 52.4±37.2 60.0±44.1 7.6 (15)c 0.88 (0.80–0.92) −44.1 to 59.3 18.6 24.6 
80–84 23 74.8±46.2 79.3±55.9 4.5 (6) 0.71 (0.32–0.90) −91.2 to 100.4 34.0 35.1 
Women 65–69 361 86.2±57.5 92.2±58.2 6.0 (7)b 0.89 (0.87–0.91) −63.5 to 75.7 25.1 20.9 
70–74 245 68.4±48.6 76.1±53.6 7.7 (11)b 0.84 (0.80–0.88) −64.8 to 80.2 26.2 27.4 
75–79 117 62.4±47.9 72.0±55.9 9.6 (15)b 0.86 (0.79–0.90) −60.9 to 80.2 25.4 28.4 
80–84 40 63.4±44.2 72.8±38.9 9.4 (15) 0.80 (0.62–0.89) −56.1 to 74.8 23.6 26.5 
Shoulder press (nMen 65–69 127 47.2±24.3 49.7±25.5 2.5 (5) 0.94 (0.91–0.96) −20.4 to 25.5 8.3 12.4 
70–74 94 38.9±19.8 40.8±21.1 1.9 (5)c 0.92 (0.87–0.94) −20.4 to 24.0 8.0 14.7 
75–79 57 32.1±19.9 35.1±17.8 3.0 (9) 0.92 (0.86–0.95) −16.6 to 22.5 7.0 15.3 
 80–84 23 31.0±23.8 34.1±26.4 3.1 (10)c 0.98 (0.95–0.99) −9.3 to 15.4 4.5 9.8 
Women 65–69 300 45.4±26.2 49.2±27.3 3.8 (8)a 0.90 (0.87–0.92) −27.0 to 34.7 11.1 17.4 
70–74 208 41.4±25.3 46.6±27.1 5.2 (13)a 0.86 (0.80–0.90) −29.4 to 39.7 12.5 21.2 
75–79 118 37.0±24.7 39.0±25.8 2.0 (5) 0.92 (0.88–0.94) −24.8 to 28.9 9.7 18.7 
80–84 41 34.9±18.5 37.4±20.7 2.5 (7) 0.91(0.83–0.95) −19.8 to 24.6 8.0 16.3 
TestSexAge groupnPre-1Pre-2Δ P2-1, %ICC (95% CI)LoASEMCV
Static trunk flexion (s) Men 65–69 155 71.2±47.4 71.5±45.5 0.3 (0) 0.84 (0.78–0.89) −67.0 to 67.7 24.2 25.8 
70–74 126 74.2±52.1 71.5±45.3 −2.7 (−4) 0.84 (0.78–0.89) −73.3 to 68.0 25.4 26.6 
75–79 80 69.3±54.1 62.5±37.6 −6.8 (−10) 0.67 (0.48–0.79) −98.1 to 84.4 32.9 40.6 
80–84 29 70.2±50.7 73.9±51.3 3.7 (5) 0.71 (0.38–0.87) −91.8 to 99.1 33.9 37.6 
Women 65–69 380 67.2±48.6 72.8±50.2 5.6 (8)a 0.88 (0.86–0.90) −56.3 to 67.6 22.4 23.8 
70–74 262 66.2±54.9 67.9±55.0 1.7 (3) 0.90 (0.88–0.92) −62.2 to 65.5 23.0 25.4 
75–79 127 62.3±46.6 63.8±48.6 1.5 (2) 0.88 (0.83–92) −59.7 to 62.7 22.0 26.1 
80–84 56 57.5±45.5 63.7±60.5 6.2 (11) 0.90 (0.84–0.94) −55.8 to 68.1 22.3 27.1 
Static trunk extension, s Men 65–69 152 71.9±47.7 74.3±43.3 2.4 (3) 0.89 (0.85–0.92) −53.6 to 58.4 20.2 20.6 
70–74 117 73.2±50.4 76.5±53.8 3.3 (5) 0.90 (0.86–0.93) −57.2 to 63.9 21.8 21.6 
75–79 69 52.4±37.2 60.0±44.1 7.6 (15)c 0.88 (0.80–0.92) −44.1 to 59.3 18.6 24.6 
80–84 23 74.8±46.2 79.3±55.9 4.5 (6) 0.71 (0.32–0.90) −91.2 to 100.4 34.0 35.1 
Women 65–69 361 86.2±57.5 92.2±58.2 6.0 (7)b 0.89 (0.87–0.91) −63.5 to 75.7 25.1 20.9 
70–74 245 68.4±48.6 76.1±53.6 7.7 (11)b 0.84 (0.80–0.88) −64.8 to 80.2 26.2 27.4 
75–79 117 62.4±47.9 72.0±55.9 9.6 (15)b 0.86 (0.79–0.90) −60.9 to 80.2 25.4 28.4 
80–84 40 63.4±44.2 72.8±38.9 9.4 (15) 0.80 (0.62–0.89) −56.1 to 74.8 23.6 26.5 
Shoulder press (nMen 65–69 127 47.2±24.3 49.7±25.5 2.5 (5) 0.94 (0.91–0.96) −20.4 to 25.5 8.3 12.4 
70–74 94 38.9±19.8 40.8±21.1 1.9 (5)c 0.92 (0.87–0.94) −20.4 to 24.0 8.0 14.7 
75–79 57 32.1±19.9 35.1±17.8 3.0 (9) 0.92 (0.86–0.95) −16.6 to 22.5 7.0 15.3 
 80–84 23 31.0±23.8 34.1±26.4 3.1 (10)c 0.98 (0.95–0.99) −9.3 to 15.4 4.5 9.8 
Women 65–69 300 45.4±26.2 49.2±27.3 3.8 (8)a 0.90 (0.87–0.92) −27.0 to 34.7 11.1 17.4 
70–74 208 41.4±25.3 46.6±27.1 5.2 (13)a 0.86 (0.80–0.90) −29.4 to 39.7 12.5 21.2 
75–79 118 37.0±24.7 39.0±25.8 2.0 (5) 0.92 (0.88–0.94) −24.8 to 28.9 9.7 18.7 
80–84 41 34.9±18.5 37.4±20.7 2.5 (7) 0.91(0.83–0.95) −19.8 to 24.6 8.0 16.3 

Presented are the number of participants (n), mean values ± SD for pre-1 and pre-2, mean difference between the two pretests in absolute values (and in %-of-change) in the column named: Δ P2-1 (%), intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC with 95% CI), limits of agreement (LoA), standard error of measurement (SEM), and coefficient of variance (CV). Between the two pretests, a significant change was assessed with a paired t test and marked with the symbol a(p < 0.001) and the symbols for further significant levels were b(p < 0.01), seen in the column named the Δ P2-1 (%), cat the set level p < 0.039 (adjusted according to FDR, see methods).

FDR, false discover rate.

Table 3.

Reliability for lower body muscular tests in older men and women for each age group

TestSexAge groupnPre-1Pre-2Δ P2-1, %ICC (95% CI)LoASEMCV
Maximal step-up test, left, cm Men 65–69 33 28.4±6.1 29.2±6.4 0.8 (3) 0.87 (0.75–0.94) −5.5 to 6.6 3.0 5.3 
70–74 27 27.1±5.7 27.1±6.0 0.0 (0) 0.95 (0.89–098) −5.1 to 5.7 1.8 5.3 
75–79 20 22.6±4.9 24.9±7.0 2.3 (10) 0.82 (0.53–0.93) −7.6 to 14.3 3.1 12.6 
80–84 11 25.1±5.6 26.2±7.1 1.1 (4) 0.90 (0.65–0.97) −10.8 to 19.4 2.7 19.9 
Women 65–69 95 22.9±5.5 23.5±5.9 0.6 (3) 0.92 (0.89–0.95) −5.0 to 5.4 2.1 5.7 
70–74 75 25.1±6.0 26.0±6.4 0.9 (4)c 0.91 (0.85–0.94) −8.8 to 11.4 2.5 5.7 
75–79 45 22.7±5.7 22.8±6.0 0.1 (0) 0.95 (0.90–0.97) −5.1 to 6.1 1.8 12.3 
80–84 15 22.6±6.5 24.0±7.2 1.4 (6) 0.99 (0.96–1.00) −10.5 to 16.0 1.6 7.5 
Maximal step-up test, right, cm Men 65–69 35 29.1±7.0 29.8±6.6 0.7 (2) 0.95 (0.89–0.97) −11.4 to 6.7 2.2 7.7 
70–74 32 26.1±6.4 26.6±6.5 0.5 (2) 0.95 (0.90–0.98) −9.7 to 4.8 1.9 4.9 
75–79 17 22.4±5.3 25.8±7.5 3.4 (15)c 0.72 (0.23–0.90) −13.6 to 8.8 4.0 9.6 
80–84 22.7±2.9 27.0±7.6 4.3 (19) 0.71 (0.19–0.94) −9.8 to 3.8 5.5 7.8 
Women 65–69 98 23.5±6.2 23.8±6.3 0.3 (1) 0.95 (0.93–0.97) −11.0 to 6.3 1.9 6.6 
70–74 55 23.4±5.0 24.7±5.2 1.3 (6) 0.65 (0.45–0.79) −11.1 to 5.1 3.6 6.6 
75–79 43 22.1±5.0 22.4±5.0 0.3 (1) 0.89 (0.80–0.94) −10.9 to 5.4 2.2 7.2 
80–84 13 20.3±4.9 23.6±7.7 3.3 (16) 0.61 (0.08–0.84) −8.9 to 1.6 4.5 5.9 
Sit-to-stand (n out of 50) Men 65–69 128 38.9±16.6 38.1±17.5 −0.8 (−2) 0.93 (0.91–0.95) −17.5 to 16.0 6.1 11.5 
70–74 101 30.7±19.7 30.4±20.0 −0.3 (−1) 0.89 (0.84–0.93) −24.8 to 24.2 8.8 21.4 
75–79 60 30.0±20.7 29.5±19.4 −0.5 (−2) 0.92 (0.87–0.95) −22.1 to 21.0 7.7 19.1 
 80–84 25 22.0±21.0 27.8±20.0 5.8 (26) 0.85 (0.64–0.93) −22.6 to 34.6 10.1 30.3 
Women 65–69 315 34.2±19.1 35.7±18.4 1.5 (4)b 0.92 (0.91–0.94) −17.4 to 20.3 6.8 14.3 
70–74 213 29.3±21.0 29.2±21.4 −0.1 (0) 0.90 (0.87–0.93) −25.1 to 24.9 9.0 22.8 
75–79 119 24.8±20.9 25.4±19.9 0.6 (2) 0.90 (0.85–0.93) −23.9 to 25.0 8.8 26.0 
80–84 44 22.8±21.8 21.4±21.9 −1.4 (−6) 0.88 (0.78–0.94) −29.8 to 27.0 10.1 34.0 
30-s sit-to-stand, n Men 65–69 73 18.3±4.5 19.4±4.4 1.1 (6)b 0.85 (0.75–0.91) −4.9 to 7.1 2.2 8.6 
70–74 59 16.2±4.0 16.7±5.3 0.5 (3) 0.84 (0.73–0.90) −6.4 to 7.3 2.5 11.4 
75–79 33 15.4±4.8 16.5±4.5 1.1 (7)c 0.91 (0.79–0.96) −3.8 to 6.2 1.8 7.9 
80–84 13 13.2±4.2 14.1±3.9 0.9 (7) 0.87 (0.59–0.96) −4.4 to 6.2 1.9 10.3 
Women 65–69 191 16.4±4.2 17.2±4.3 0.8 (5)a 0.88 (0.84–0.92) −4.5 to 6.1 1.9 8.4 
70–74 134 16.0±4.6 16.4±4.7 0.4 (2) 0.88 (0.83–0.92) −4.6 to 5.3 2.1 9.8 
75–79 79 15.5±5.1 16.4±4.7 0.9 (6)c 0.86 (0.78–0.91) −5.6 to 7.3 2.3 11.0 
80–84 30 13.8±5.2 13.9±4.6 0.1 (1) 0.87 (0.72–0.94) −6.6 to 6.9 2.4 13.0 
Sit-to-stand speed (n/s) Men 65–69 129 0.58±0.18 0.62±0.17 0.04 (6)a 0.89 (0.83–0.92) −0.17 to 0.24 0.07 9.1 
70–74 101 0.51±0.15 0.54±0.17 0.03 (5)b 0.89 (0.83–0.93 −0.17 to 0.22 0.07 9.9 
75–79 61 0.49±0.14 0.52±0.15 0.03 (7)b 0.91 (0.83–0.95) −0.12 to 0.20 0.06 8.2 
 80–84 24 0.46±0.16 0.49±0.20 0.03 (7) 0.91 (0.79–0.96) −0.17 to 0.24 0.07 11.3 
Women 65–69 317 0.52±0.15 0.56±0.16 0.03 (6)a 0.89 (0.84–0.92) −0.16 to 0.22 0.07 9.4 
70–74 214 0.50±0.15 0.52±0.16 0.01 (3) 0.89 (0.86–0.92) −0.18 to 0.21 0.07 9.4 
75–79 122 0.46±0.15 0.50±0.15 0.04 (8)a 0.83 (0.74–0.89) −0.19 to 0.26 0.08 10.2 
80–84 45 0.42±0.15 0.45±0.16 0.02 (5) 0.90 (0.82–0.95) −0.16 to 0.20 0.06 12.3 
TestSexAge groupnPre-1Pre-2Δ P2-1, %ICC (95% CI)LoASEMCV
Maximal step-up test, left, cm Men 65–69 33 28.4±6.1 29.2±6.4 0.8 (3) 0.87 (0.75–0.94) −5.5 to 6.6 3.0 5.3 
70–74 27 27.1±5.7 27.1±6.0 0.0 (0) 0.95 (0.89–098) −5.1 to 5.7 1.8 5.3 
75–79 20 22.6±4.9 24.9±7.0 2.3 (10) 0.82 (0.53–0.93) −7.6 to 14.3 3.1 12.6 
80–84 11 25.1±5.6 26.2±7.1 1.1 (4) 0.90 (0.65–0.97) −10.8 to 19.4 2.7 19.9 
Women 65–69 95 22.9±5.5 23.5±5.9 0.6 (3) 0.92 (0.89–0.95) −5.0 to 5.4 2.1 5.7 
70–74 75 25.1±6.0 26.0±6.4 0.9 (4)c 0.91 (0.85–0.94) −8.8 to 11.4 2.5 5.7 
75–79 45 22.7±5.7 22.8±6.0 0.1 (0) 0.95 (0.90–0.97) −5.1 to 6.1 1.8 12.3 
80–84 15 22.6±6.5 24.0±7.2 1.4 (6) 0.99 (0.96–1.00) −10.5 to 16.0 1.6 7.5 
Maximal step-up test, right, cm Men 65–69 35 29.1±7.0 29.8±6.6 0.7 (2) 0.95 (0.89–0.97) −11.4 to 6.7 2.2 7.7 
70–74 32 26.1±6.4 26.6±6.5 0.5 (2) 0.95 (0.90–0.98) −9.7 to 4.8 1.9 4.9 
75–79 17 22.4±5.3 25.8±7.5 3.4 (15)c 0.72 (0.23–0.90) −13.6 to 8.8 4.0 9.6 
80–84 22.7±2.9 27.0±7.6 4.3 (19) 0.71 (0.19–0.94) −9.8 to 3.8 5.5 7.8 
Women 65–69 98 23.5±6.2 23.8±6.3 0.3 (1) 0.95 (0.93–0.97) −11.0 to 6.3 1.9 6.6 
70–74 55 23.4±5.0 24.7±5.2 1.3 (6) 0.65 (0.45–0.79) −11.1 to 5.1 3.6 6.6 
75–79 43 22.1±5.0 22.4±5.0 0.3 (1) 0.89 (0.80–0.94) −10.9 to 5.4 2.2 7.2 
80–84 13 20.3±4.9 23.6±7.7 3.3 (16) 0.61 (0.08–0.84) −8.9 to 1.6 4.5 5.9 
Sit-to-stand (n out of 50) Men 65–69 128 38.9±16.6 38.1±17.5 −0.8 (−2) 0.93 (0.91–0.95) −17.5 to 16.0 6.1 11.5 
70–74 101 30.7±19.7 30.4±20.0 −0.3 (−1) 0.89 (0.84–0.93) −24.8 to 24.2 8.8 21.4 
75–79 60 30.0±20.7 29.5±19.4 −0.5 (−2) 0.92 (0.87–0.95) −22.1 to 21.0 7.7 19.1 
 80–84 25 22.0±21.0 27.8±20.0 5.8 (26) 0.85 (0.64–0.93) −22.6 to 34.6 10.1 30.3 
Women 65–69 315 34.2±19.1 35.7±18.4 1.5 (4)b 0.92 (0.91–0.94) −17.4 to 20.3 6.8 14.3 
70–74 213 29.3±21.0 29.2±21.4 −0.1 (0) 0.90 (0.87–0.93) −25.1 to 24.9 9.0 22.8 
75–79 119 24.8±20.9 25.4±19.9 0.6 (2) 0.90 (0.85–0.93) −23.9 to 25.0 8.8 26.0 
80–84 44 22.8±21.8 21.4±21.9 −1.4 (−6) 0.88 (0.78–0.94) −29.8 to 27.0 10.1 34.0 
30-s sit-to-stand, n Men 65–69 73 18.3±4.5 19.4±4.4 1.1 (6)b 0.85 (0.75–0.91) −4.9 to 7.1 2.2 8.6 
70–74 59 16.2±4.0 16.7±5.3 0.5 (3) 0.84 (0.73–0.90) −6.4 to 7.3 2.5 11.4 
75–79 33 15.4±4.8 16.5±4.5 1.1 (7)c 0.91 (0.79–0.96) −3.8 to 6.2 1.8 7.9 
80–84 13 13.2±4.2 14.1±3.9 0.9 (7) 0.87 (0.59–0.96) −4.4 to 6.2 1.9 10.3 
Women 65–69 191 16.4±4.2 17.2±4.3 0.8 (5)a 0.88 (0.84–0.92) −4.5 to 6.1 1.9 8.4 
70–74 134 16.0±4.6 16.4±4.7 0.4 (2) 0.88 (0.83–0.92) −4.6 to 5.3 2.1 9.8 
75–79 79 15.5±5.1 16.4±4.7 0.9 (6)c 0.86 (0.78–0.91) −5.6 to 7.3 2.3 11.0 
80–84 30 13.8±5.2 13.9±4.6 0.1 (1) 0.87 (0.72–0.94) −6.6 to 6.9 2.4 13.0 
Sit-to-stand speed (n/s) Men 65–69 129 0.58±0.18 0.62±0.17 0.04 (6)a 0.89 (0.83–0.92) −0.17 to 0.24 0.07 9.1 
70–74 101 0.51±0.15 0.54±0.17 0.03 (5)b 0.89 (0.83–0.93 −0.17 to 0.22 0.07 9.9 
75–79 61 0.49±0.14 0.52±0.15 0.03 (7)b 0.91 (0.83–0.95) −0.12 to 0.20 0.06 8.2 
 80–84 24 0.46±0.16 0.49±0.20 0.03 (7) 0.91 (0.79–0.96) −0.17 to 0.24 0.07 11.3 
Women 65–69 317 0.52±0.15 0.56±0.16 0.03 (6)a 0.89 (0.84–0.92) −0.16 to 0.22 0.07 9.4 
70–74 214 0.50±0.15 0.52±0.16 0.01 (3) 0.89 (0.86–0.92) −0.18 to 0.21 0.07 9.4 
75–79 122 0.46±0.15 0.50±0.15 0.04 (8)a 0.83 (0.74–0.89) −0.19 to 0.26 0.08 10.2 
80–84 45 0.42±0.15 0.45±0.16 0.02 (5) 0.90 (0.82–0.95) −0.16 to 0.20 0.06 12.3 

Presented are the number of participants (n), mean values ± SD for pre-1 and pre-2, mean difference between the two pretests in absolute values (and in %-of-change) in the column named: Δ P2-1 (%), intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC with 95% CI), limits of agreement (LoA), standard error of measurement (SEM), and coefficient of variance (CV). Between the two pretests, a significant change was assessed with a paired t test and marked with the symbol. a(p< 0.001), and the symbol for further significant levels were b(p < 0.01), seen in the column named Δ P2-1 (%), cat the set level p < 0.039 (adjusted according to FDR, see methods). FDR, false recovery rate.

Generally, no significant differences between pretests were observed for static trunk flexion, step-up height for both left and right legs, and the number of bounces during the 50 sit-to-stand test across all age and sex groups. Similarly, no significant differences were observed for men in static trunk extension. However, significant changes between pretests were noted in shoulder press, sit-to-stands completed within 30 s, and sit-to-stand speed for two out of four age groups, regardless of sex. Test-retest reliability, as measured by ICC values, generally exceeded 0.80 (95% CI) for the test measures that did not exhibit significant changes between pretests, with a few exceptions (see Tables 2-3).

Postexercise Test Scores

Mean values from the muscle endurance tests in the pre-2 and posttest sessions are presented in Tables 4-7 and visually represented in Figures 3-6. Below, we delineate significant differences observed between the pre-2 and posttest sessions across various fitness parameters for all sex and age groups, as well as possible sex and age differences on each of the three test occasions (RM-ANOVA) analyses with Bonferroni post hoc tests.

Table 4.

Muscular endurance tests with mean values ± SD among men and women in each age group at pre-2 and posttest

TestSexAge groupnPre-2PostΔ Post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-pre-2
Isometric trunk flexion 45°, s Men 65–69 155 71.5±45.5 97.6±61.4 26.1 (37)a 0.314, p<0.001 
70–75 126 71.5±45.3 89.2±51.7 17.7 (25)a 0.256, p<0.001 
75–80 80 62.5±37.6 78.2±51.1 15.7 (25)c 0.177, p<0.001 
80–85 29 73.9±51.3 75.1±44.7 1.2 (2) 0.001, p=0.888 
Women 65–69 380 72.8±50.2 90.1±58.2 17.3 (24)a 0.179, p<0.001 
70–75 262 67.9±55.0 87.8±66.9 19.9 (29)a 0.181, p<0.001 
75–80 127 63.8±48.6 77.6±54.4 13.8 (22)b 0.148, p<0.001 
80–85 56 63.7±60.5 77.4±61.0 13.7 (22) 0.223, p<0.001 
Isometric trunk extension, s Men 65–69 152 74.3±43.3 95.9±55.4 21.6 (29)a 0.294, p<0.001 
70–74 117 76.5±53.8 91.8±52.3 15.3 (20)b 0.128, p<0.001 
75–79 69 60.0±44.1 74.9±49.0 14.9 (25) 0.236, p<0.001 
80–84 23 79.3±55.9 104.0±63.0 24.7 (31) 0.491, p<0.001 
Women 65–69 361 92.2±58.2 119.0±67.0 26.8 (29)a 0.273, p<0.001 
70–74 245 76.1±53.6 102.0±67.2 25.9 (34)a 0.279, p<0.001 
75–79 117 72.0±55.9 90.7±61.3 18.7 (26)a 0.166, p<0.001 
80–84 40 72.8±38.9 83.0±52.3 10.2 (14) 0.079, p=0.076 
Sit-to-stand (n of 50) Men 65–69 128 38.1±17.5 41.7±14.8 3.6 (9) 0.110, p<0.001 
70–74 101 30.4±20.0 35.0±19.3 4.6 (15) 0.099, p=0.001 
75–79 60 29.5±19.4 33.6±19.1 4.1 (14) 0.119, p=0.007 
80–84 25 27.8±20.0 30.3±20.2 2.5 (9) 0.058, p=0.236 
Women 65–69 315 35.7±18.4 38.5±17.4 2.8 (8)c 0.058, p<0.001 
70–74 213 29.2±21.4 34.2±20.4 5.0 (17)a 0.114, p<0.001 
75–79 119 25.4±19.9 32.3±19.7 6.9 (27)a 0.163, p<0.001 
80–84 44 21.4±21.9 22.8±20.9 1.4 (7) 0.009, p=0.546 
30-s sit-to-stand (nMen 65–69 73 19.4±4.4 20.8±4.8 1.4 (7)c 0.158, p<0.001 
70–74 59 16.7±5.3 18.7±5.5 2.0 (12)a 0.340, p<0.001 
75–79 33 16.5±4.5 17.7±4.1 1.2 (7) 0.099, p=0.070 
80–84 13 14.1±3.9 13.9±4.4 −0.2 (−1) 0.001, p=0.904 
Women 65–69 191 17.2±4.3 19.2±5.1 2.0 (12)a 0.310, p<0.001 
70–74 134 16.4±4.7 17.6±4.5 1.2 (7)b 0.143, p<0.001 
75–79 79 16.4±4.7 18.1±6.0 1.7 (10)a 0.222, p<0.001 
80–84 30 13.9±4.6 15.9±5.6 2.0 (14) 0.329, p<0.001 
Sit-to-stand speed (n/s) Men 65–69 129 0.62±0.17 0.67±0.17 0.06 (9)a 0.240, p<0.001 
70–74 101 0.54±0.17 0.59±0.19 0.06 (10)a 0.238, p<0.001 
75–79 61 0.52±0.15 0.59±0.21 0.07 (13)a 0.219, p<0.001 
80–84 24 0.49±0.20 0.54±0.19 0.05 (10) 0.138, p=0.040 
Women 65–69 317 0.56±0.16 0.61±0.18 0.05 (10)a 0.227, p<0.001 
70–74 214 0.52±0.16 0.57±0.16 0.05 (9)a 0.193, p<0.001 
75–79 122 0.50±0.15 0.57±0.19 0.06 (11)a 0.156, p<0.001 
80–84 45 0.45±0.16 0.51±0.19 0.06 (14)c 0.300, p<0.001 
Shoulder press (nMen 65–69 127 49.7±25.5 61.2±32.3 11.5 (23)a 0.335, p<0.001 
70–74 94 40.8±21.1 48.9±24.6 8.1 (20)a 0.308, p<0.001 
75–79 57 35.1±17.8 40.0±22.2 4.9 (14) 0.108, p=0.012 
 80–84 23 34.1±26.4 36.8±22.4 2.7 (8) 0.035, p=0.383 
Women 65–69 300 49.2±27.3 59.9±31.1 10.7 (22)a 0.248, p<0.001 
70–74 208 46.6±27.1 56.0±29.4 9.4 (20)a 0.212, p<0.001 
75–79 118 39.0±25.8 50.9±29.6 11.9 (31)a 0.373, p<0.001 
80–84 41 37.4±20.7 46.8±25.9 9.4 (25) 0.238, p=0.001 
TestSexAge groupnPre-2PostΔ Post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-pre-2
Isometric trunk flexion 45°, s Men 65–69 155 71.5±45.5 97.6±61.4 26.1 (37)a 0.314, p<0.001 
70–75 126 71.5±45.3 89.2±51.7 17.7 (25)a 0.256, p<0.001 
75–80 80 62.5±37.6 78.2±51.1 15.7 (25)c 0.177, p<0.001 
80–85 29 73.9±51.3 75.1±44.7 1.2 (2) 0.001, p=0.888 
Women 65–69 380 72.8±50.2 90.1±58.2 17.3 (24)a 0.179, p<0.001 
70–75 262 67.9±55.0 87.8±66.9 19.9 (29)a 0.181, p<0.001 
75–80 127 63.8±48.6 77.6±54.4 13.8 (22)b 0.148, p<0.001 
80–85 56 63.7±60.5 77.4±61.0 13.7 (22) 0.223, p<0.001 
Isometric trunk extension, s Men 65–69 152 74.3±43.3 95.9±55.4 21.6 (29)a 0.294, p<0.001 
70–74 117 76.5±53.8 91.8±52.3 15.3 (20)b 0.128, p<0.001 
75–79 69 60.0±44.1 74.9±49.0 14.9 (25) 0.236, p<0.001 
80–84 23 79.3±55.9 104.0±63.0 24.7 (31) 0.491, p<0.001 
Women 65–69 361 92.2±58.2 119.0±67.0 26.8 (29)a 0.273, p<0.001 
70–74 245 76.1±53.6 102.0±67.2 25.9 (34)a 0.279, p<0.001 
75–79 117 72.0±55.9 90.7±61.3 18.7 (26)a 0.166, p<0.001 
80–84 40 72.8±38.9 83.0±52.3 10.2 (14) 0.079, p=0.076 
Sit-to-stand (n of 50) Men 65–69 128 38.1±17.5 41.7±14.8 3.6 (9) 0.110, p<0.001 
70–74 101 30.4±20.0 35.0±19.3 4.6 (15) 0.099, p=0.001 
75–79 60 29.5±19.4 33.6±19.1 4.1 (14) 0.119, p=0.007 
80–84 25 27.8±20.0 30.3±20.2 2.5 (9) 0.058, p=0.236 
Women 65–69 315 35.7±18.4 38.5±17.4 2.8 (8)c 0.058, p<0.001 
70–74 213 29.2±21.4 34.2±20.4 5.0 (17)a 0.114, p<0.001 
75–79 119 25.4±19.9 32.3±19.7 6.9 (27)a 0.163, p<0.001 
80–84 44 21.4±21.9 22.8±20.9 1.4 (7) 0.009, p=0.546 
30-s sit-to-stand (nMen 65–69 73 19.4±4.4 20.8±4.8 1.4 (7)c 0.158, p<0.001 
70–74 59 16.7±5.3 18.7±5.5 2.0 (12)a 0.340, p<0.001 
75–79 33 16.5±4.5 17.7±4.1 1.2 (7) 0.099, p=0.070 
80–84 13 14.1±3.9 13.9±4.4 −0.2 (−1) 0.001, p=0.904 
Women 65–69 191 17.2±4.3 19.2±5.1 2.0 (12)a 0.310, p<0.001 
70–74 134 16.4±4.7 17.6±4.5 1.2 (7)b 0.143, p<0.001 
75–79 79 16.4±4.7 18.1±6.0 1.7 (10)a 0.222, p<0.001 
80–84 30 13.9±4.6 15.9±5.6 2.0 (14) 0.329, p<0.001 
Sit-to-stand speed (n/s) Men 65–69 129 0.62±0.17 0.67±0.17 0.06 (9)a 0.240, p<0.001 
70–74 101 0.54±0.17 0.59±0.19 0.06 (10)a 0.238, p<0.001 
75–79 61 0.52±0.15 0.59±0.21 0.07 (13)a 0.219, p<0.001 
80–84 24 0.49±0.20 0.54±0.19 0.05 (10) 0.138, p=0.040 
Women 65–69 317 0.56±0.16 0.61±0.18 0.05 (10)a 0.227, p<0.001 
70–74 214 0.52±0.16 0.57±0.16 0.05 (9)a 0.193, p<0.001 
75–79 122 0.50±0.15 0.57±0.19 0.06 (11)a 0.156, p<0.001 
80–84 45 0.45±0.16 0.51±0.19 0.06 (14)c 0.300, p<0.001 
Shoulder press (nMen 65–69 127 49.7±25.5 61.2±32.3 11.5 (23)a 0.335, p<0.001 
70–74 94 40.8±21.1 48.9±24.6 8.1 (20)a 0.308, p<0.001 
75–79 57 35.1±17.8 40.0±22.2 4.9 (14) 0.108, p=0.012 
 80–84 23 34.1±26.4 36.8±22.4 2.7 (8) 0.035, p=0.383 
Women 65–69 300 49.2±27.3 59.9±31.1 10.7 (22)a 0.248, p<0.001 
70–74 208 46.6±27.1 56.0±29.4 9.4 (20)a 0.212, p<0.001 
75–79 118 39.0±25.8 50.9±29.6 11.9 (31)a 0.373, p<0.001 
80–84 41 37.4±20.7 46.8±25.9 9.4 (25) 0.238, p=0.001 

Number of participants (n) is presented. The mean difference for postexercise results is shown in absolute values (and %-of-change) in the column named: Δ post-pre-2 (%). Here, a significant difference between the posttest and pre-2 test within each sex and age group is marked with the symbols: a(p < 0.001), b(p < 0.01), c(p < 0.05), analyzed with RM-ANOVA and post hoc test Bonferroni. Postexercise effect size (ES) via partial eta squared (with p value) is presented in the columns on the far right for Δ post-pre-2. In the rare cases, a significant difference occurred between sexes (p < 0.01) on any of the three test occasions, the symbol eis shown after the absolute values for men.

Table 5.

Various muscle strength tests with mean values ± SD among men and women in each age group at pre-2 and posttest

TestSexAge groupnPre-2PostΔ Post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-pre-2
5 sit-to-stand, s Men 65–69 146 9.2±2.7 8.3±2.5 −1.0 (−10)a 0.223, p<0.001 
70–74 113 10.3±3.5 9.0±2.7 −1.3 (−12)a 0.346, p<0.001 
75–79 70 10.5±2.7 9.3±2.2 −1.2 (−11)a 0.212, p<0.001 
80–84 31 11.6±3.5 10.1±3.1 −1.5 (−13)y 0.215, p=0.008 
Women 65–69 357 9.9±2.5 8.9±2.4 −1.0 (−10)a 0.209, p<0.001 
70–74 263 10.6±2.6 9.7±2.5 −0.9 (−9)a 0.211, p<0.001 
75–79 140 10.5±3.2 9.23±2.8 −1.2 (−12)a 0.199, p<0.001 
80–84 59 11.5±2.8 9.90±2.4 −1.6 (−14)a 0.351, p<0.001 
Maximal step-up test, left (cm) Men 65–69 33 29.2±6.4d 30.4±7.2 1.2 (4) 0.105, p=0.062 
70–74 27 27.1±6.0 28.9±5.8 1.8 (7) 0.279, p=0.004 
75–79 20 24.9±7.0 27.3±7.7 2.4 (10) 0.173, p=0.061 
80–84 11 26.2±7.1 28.9±7.1 2.7 (10) 0.350, p=0.043 
Women 65–69 95 23.5±5.9 25.5±6.5 2.0 (9)a 0.235, p<0.001 
70–74 75 26.0±6.4 27.8±6.3 1.8 (7)b 0.207, p<0.001 
75–79 45 22.8±6.0 25.6±6.8 2.8 (12)c 0.426, p<0.001 
80–84 15 24.0±7.2 26.4±6.7 2.4 (10) 0.480, p=0.003 
Maximal step-up test, right, cm Men 65–69 35 29.8±6.6e 31.6±7.0e 1.8 (6) 0.280, p=0.001 
70–74 32 26.6±6.5 28.4±7.0 1.8 (7) 0.318, p<0.001 
75–79 17 25.8±7.5 27.4±6.4 1.6 (6) 0.101, p=0.367 
80–84 27.0±7.6 29.6±6.4 2.6 (10) 0.367, p=0.111 
Women 65–69 98 23.8±6.3 25.8±6.6 2.0 (8)a 0.356, p<0.001 
70–74 55 24.7±5.2 26.9±5.5 2.2 (9)a 0.321, p<0.001 
75–79 43 22.4±5.0 24.7±5.8 2.3 (10)a 0.285, p<0.001 
80–84 13 23.6±7.7 27.2±7.1 3.6 (15) 0.558, p=0.001 
Hand-grip left (NMen 65–69 167 431±80e 434±78e 3 (1) 0.004, p=0.428 
70–74 137 396±78e 398±79e 2 (1) 0.005, p=0.391 
75–79 85 383±80e 382±87e −1 (0) 0.001, p=0.735 
80–84 33 367±64e 364±65e −3 (−1) 0.008, p=0.616 
Women 65–69 418 247±48 251±49 4 (2) 0.021, p=0.003 
70–74 291 235±52 239±50 4 (2) 0.021, p=0.013 
75–79 161 219±54 222±51 3 (1) 0.013, p=0.150 
80–84 63 213±46 213±50 0 (0) 0.000, p=0.969 
Hand-grip right (NMen 65–69 168 458±91e 457±88e −1 (0) 0.000, p=0.960 
70–74 138 423±84e 423±82e 0 (0) 0.000, p=0.975 
75–79 85 407±78e 409±76e 2 (0) 0.003, p=0.593 
80–84 33 385±79e 384±76e −1 (0) 0.000, p=0.960 
Women 65–69 418 265±50 269±52 4 (2) 0.020, p=0.004 
70–74 291 253±54 255±52 2 (1) 0.007, p=0.154 
75–79 160 234±54 238±54 4 (2) 0.015, p=0.123 
80–84 63 232±46 232±47 0 (0) 0.000, p=0.877 
TestSexAge groupnPre-2PostΔ Post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-pre-2
5 sit-to-stand, s Men 65–69 146 9.2±2.7 8.3±2.5 −1.0 (−10)a 0.223, p<0.001 
70–74 113 10.3±3.5 9.0±2.7 −1.3 (−12)a 0.346, p<0.001 
75–79 70 10.5±2.7 9.3±2.2 −1.2 (−11)a 0.212, p<0.001 
80–84 31 11.6±3.5 10.1±3.1 −1.5 (−13)y 0.215, p=0.008 
Women 65–69 357 9.9±2.5 8.9±2.4 −1.0 (−10)a 0.209, p<0.001 
70–74 263 10.6±2.6 9.7±2.5 −0.9 (−9)a 0.211, p<0.001 
75–79 140 10.5±3.2 9.23±2.8 −1.2 (−12)a 0.199, p<0.001 
80–84 59 11.5±2.8 9.90±2.4 −1.6 (−14)a 0.351, p<0.001 
Maximal step-up test, left (cm) Men 65–69 33 29.2±6.4d 30.4±7.2 1.2 (4) 0.105, p=0.062 
70–74 27 27.1±6.0 28.9±5.8 1.8 (7) 0.279, p=0.004 
75–79 20 24.9±7.0 27.3±7.7 2.4 (10) 0.173, p=0.061 
80–84 11 26.2±7.1 28.9±7.1 2.7 (10) 0.350, p=0.043 
Women 65–69 95 23.5±5.9 25.5±6.5 2.0 (9)a 0.235, p<0.001 
70–74 75 26.0±6.4 27.8±6.3 1.8 (7)b 0.207, p<0.001 
75–79 45 22.8±6.0 25.6±6.8 2.8 (12)c 0.426, p<0.001 
80–84 15 24.0±7.2 26.4±6.7 2.4 (10) 0.480, p=0.003 
Maximal step-up test, right, cm Men 65–69 35 29.8±6.6e 31.6±7.0e 1.8 (6) 0.280, p=0.001 
70–74 32 26.6±6.5 28.4±7.0 1.8 (7) 0.318, p<0.001 
75–79 17 25.8±7.5 27.4±6.4 1.6 (6) 0.101, p=0.367 
80–84 27.0±7.6 29.6±6.4 2.6 (10) 0.367, p=0.111 
Women 65–69 98 23.8±6.3 25.8±6.6 2.0 (8)a 0.356, p<0.001 
70–74 55 24.7±5.2 26.9±5.5 2.2 (9)a 0.321, p<0.001 
75–79 43 22.4±5.0 24.7±5.8 2.3 (10)a 0.285, p<0.001 
80–84 13 23.6±7.7 27.2±7.1 3.6 (15) 0.558, p=0.001 
Hand-grip left (NMen 65–69 167 431±80e 434±78e 3 (1) 0.004, p=0.428 
70–74 137 396±78e 398±79e 2 (1) 0.005, p=0.391 
75–79 85 383±80e 382±87e −1 (0) 0.001, p=0.735 
80–84 33 367±64e 364±65e −3 (−1) 0.008, p=0.616 
Women 65–69 418 247±48 251±49 4 (2) 0.021, p=0.003 
70–74 291 235±52 239±50 4 (2) 0.021, p=0.013 
75–79 161 219±54 222±51 3 (1) 0.013, p=0.150 
80–84 63 213±46 213±50 0 (0) 0.000, p=0.969 
Hand-grip right (NMen 65–69 168 458±91e 457±88e −1 (0) 0.000, p=0.960 
70–74 138 423±84e 423±82e 0 (0) 0.000, p=0.975 
75–79 85 407±78e 409±76e 2 (0) 0.003, p=0.593 
80–84 33 385±79e 384±76e −1 (0) 0.000, p=0.960 
Women 65–69 418 265±50 269±52 4 (2) 0.020, p=0.004 
70–74 291 253±54 255±52 2 (1) 0.007, p=0.154 
75–79 160 234±54 238±54 4 (2) 0.015, p=0.123 
80–84 63 232±46 232±47 0 (0) 0.000, p=0.877 

Number of participants (n) is presented. The mean difference for postexercise results is shown in absolute values (and %-of-change) in the column named: Δ post-pre-2 (%).

Here, a significant difference between the posttest and pre-2-test within each sex and age group is marked with the symbols: a(p < 0.001), b(p < 0.01), y(p < 0.0125), c(p < 0.05), analyzed with RM-ANOVA and post hoc test Bonferroni. Postexercise effect size (ES) via partial eta squared (with p value) is presented in the columns on the far right for Δ post-pre-2. In the rare cases, a significant difference occurred between sexes (p < 0.01) on any of the three test occasions, the symbol dis shown after the absolute values for men.

Table 6.

Cardiorespiratory fitness tests with mean values ± SD among men and women in each age group at pre-2 and posttest

TestSexAgenPre-2PostΔ post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-P2
6-min walk test, m Men 65–69 164 623±86e 643±83e 20 (3)a 0.220, p<0.001 
70–74 133 586±85 598±86 12 (2) 0.066, p=0.003 
75–79 79 573±87 588±81 15 (3) 0.126, p=0.001 
 80–84 32 538±114 565±118 27 (5) 0.234, p=0.004 
Women 65–69 398 588±74 605±71 17 (3)a 0.148, p<0.001 
70–74 279 558±75 575±74 17 (3)a 0.126, p<0.001 
75–79 148 534±79 558±75 24 (4)a 0.232, p<0.001 
80–84 57 504±78 526±87 22 (4)c 0.161, p=0.002 
HR standard load, bpm Men 65–69 101 89±12e 89±14e −0.5 (−1) 0.003, p=0.562 
70–74 65 87±11e 86±12e −1.9 (−2) 0.051, p=0.069 
75–79 39 89±14 88±13 −1.1 (−1) 0.595, p=0.008 
 80–84 17 85±10 85±13 0.2 (0) 0.000, p=0.936 
Women 65–69 253 99±13 98±12 −1.5 (−2) 0.026, p=0.009 
70–74 155 98±13 96±12 −2.0 (−2) 0.047, p=0.006 
75–79 82 97±13 95±15 −1.9 (−2) 0.016, p=0.262 
80–84 30 101±13 98±13 −3.1 (−3) 0.077, p=0.131 
HR high load, bpm Men 65–69 92 126±16 124±16 −2 (−2) 0.082, p=0.005 
70–74 59 122±17 118±16 −4 (−3) 0.148, p=0.002 
75–79 37 123±18 120±15 −3 (−2) 0.076, p=0.095 
 80–84 16 122±20 117±16 −5 (−4) 0.152, p=0.122 
Women 65–69 236 133±17 130±17 −3 (−2)a 0.096, p<0.001 
70–74 141 129±16 126±16 −3 (−2)b 0.123, p<0.001 
75–79 73 124±15 122±16 −2 (−2) 0.033, p=0.119 
80–84 27 127±14 124±16 −3 (−2) 0.119, p=0.072 
TestSexAgenPre-2PostΔ post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-P2
6-min walk test, m Men 65–69 164 623±86e 643±83e 20 (3)a 0.220, p<0.001 
70–74 133 586±85 598±86 12 (2) 0.066, p=0.003 
75–79 79 573±87 588±81 15 (3) 0.126, p=0.001 
 80–84 32 538±114 565±118 27 (5) 0.234, p=0.004 
Women 65–69 398 588±74 605±71 17 (3)a 0.148, p<0.001 
70–74 279 558±75 575±74 17 (3)a 0.126, p<0.001 
75–79 148 534±79 558±75 24 (4)a 0.232, p<0.001 
80–84 57 504±78 526±87 22 (4)c 0.161, p=0.002 
HR standard load, bpm Men 65–69 101 89±12e 89±14e −0.5 (−1) 0.003, p=0.562 
70–74 65 87±11e 86±12e −1.9 (−2) 0.051, p=0.069 
75–79 39 89±14 88±13 −1.1 (−1) 0.595, p=0.008 
 80–84 17 85±10 85±13 0.2 (0) 0.000, p=0.936 
Women 65–69 253 99±13 98±12 −1.5 (−2) 0.026, p=0.009 
70–74 155 98±13 96±12 −2.0 (−2) 0.047, p=0.006 
75–79 82 97±13 95±15 −1.9 (−2) 0.016, p=0.262 
80–84 30 101±13 98±13 −3.1 (−3) 0.077, p=0.131 
HR high load, bpm Men 65–69 92 126±16 124±16 −2 (−2) 0.082, p=0.005 
70–74 59 122±17 118±16 −4 (−3) 0.148, p=0.002 
75–79 37 123±18 120±15 −3 (−2) 0.076, p=0.095 
 80–84 16 122±20 117±16 −5 (−4) 0.152, p=0.122 
Women 65–69 236 133±17 130±17 −3 (−2)a 0.096, p<0.001 
70–74 141 129±16 126±16 −3 (−2)b 0.123, p<0.001 
75–79 73 124±15 122±16 −2 (−2) 0.033, p=0.119 
80–84 27 127±14 124±16 −3 (−2) 0.119, p=0.072 

Number of participants (n) is presented. The mean difference for postexercise results is shown in absolute values (and %-of-change) in the column named: Δ post-pre-2 (%).

Here, a significant difference between the posttest and pre-2 test within each sex and age group is marked with the symbols: a(p < 0.001), b(p < 0.01), c(p < 0.05), analyzed with RM-ANOVA and post hoc test Bonferroni. Postexercise effect size (ES) via partial eta squared (with p value) is presented in the columns on the far right for Δ post-pre-2. In the rare cases, a significant difference occurred between sexes (p < 0.01) on any of the three test occasions, the symbol eis shown after the absolute values for men.

Table 7.

Motor fitness tests with mean values ± SD among men and women in each age group at pre-2 and posttest

TestSexAgenPre-2PostΔ Post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-P2
TUG, s Men 65–69 147 5.3±1.0 5.1±0.9 −0.2 (−5) 0.101, p<0.001 
70–74 122 6.2±1.6 5.7±1.3 −0.5 (−7)a 0.258, p<0.001 
75–79 78 6.4±1.4 5.8±1.1 −0.6 (−9)a 0.254, p<0.001 
 80–84 32 6.9±1.8 6.4±1.8 −0.3 (−6) 0.127, p=0.042 
Women 65–69 381 5.8±1.2 5.4±1.0 −0.4 (−6)a 0.217, p<0.001 
70–74 273 6.2±1.2 5.8±1.1 −0.4 (−6)a 0.162, p<0.001 
75–79 155 6.8±1.5 6.2±1.2 −0.6 (−9)a 0.305, p<0.001 
80–84 65 7.4±1.7 6.8±1.7 −0.6 (−9)a 0.279, p<0.001 
Stand-and-reach, cm Men 65–69 170 8.70±12.0e 7.74±11.9e −1.0 0.037, p=0.013 
70–74 135 10.4±12.8e 9.41±11.7e −1.0 0.031, p=0.041 
75–79 84 10.1±11.3e 9.05±12.0e −1.1 0.037, p=0.080 
 80–84 31 14.5±12.3e 14.0±13.8e −0.5 0.008, p=0.616 
Women 65–69 419 0.43±9.69 −0.49±9.47 −0.9c 0.039, p<0.001 
70–74 296 2.06±10.1 0.67±10.1 −1.4a 0.106, p<0.001 
75–79 158 1.93±11.6 1.13±11.5 −0.8 0.027, p=0.038 
80–84 63 4.02±11.0 3.08±11.2 −0.9 0.056, p=0.063 
Balance left (n/60 s) Men 65–69 138 2.8±3.4 2.4±3.4 −0.4 (−13) 0.042, p=0.017 
70–74 109 4.7±5.4 4.7±5.1 0.0 (−1) 0.001, p=0.812 
75–79 65 4.1±4.5 3.7±4.1 −0.4 (−9) 0.015, p=0.334 
 80–84 26 5.5±5.9 6.0±6.3 0.5 (10) 0.025, p=0.433 
Women 65–69 356 2.8±3.8 2.5±3.2 −0.3 (−11) 0.022, p=0.006 
70–74 247 3.9±4.7 3.2±3.9 −0.7 (−17) 0.046, p<0.001 
75–79 126 5.6±5.4 4.6±5.2 −1.0 (−17)b 0.037, p=0.033 
80–84 49 8.0±6.7 7.2±5.9 −0.8 (−9) 0.035, p=0.211 
Balance right (n/60 s) Men 65–69 140 2.6±4.0 2.1±2.45 −0.5 (−18) 0.016, p=0.134 
70–74 111 4.5±5.8 4.2±5.3 −0.3 (−7) 0.009, p=0.332 
75–79 69 3.5±3.7 3.8±4.2 0.3 (8) 0.008, p=0.479 
 80–84 25 4.9±4.3 5.9±6.5 1.0 (21) 0.023, p=0.455 
Women 65–69 357 2.4±2.8 2.1±2.5 −0.3 (−12) 0.017, p=0.014 
70–74 249 4.0±5.0 3.2±4.1 −0.8 (−20)c 0.046, p<0.001 
75–79 130 5.6±5.5 4.3±4.3 −1.3 (−23)b 0.124, p = <0.001 
80–84 48 6.7±5.1 6.2±4.8 −0.5 (−8) 0.011, p=0.482 
Balance left 1st miss, s Men 65–69 129 44.4±21.7 48.5±19.0 4.1 (9) 0.063, p=0.004 
70–74 96 33.6±23.2 33.8±23.0 0.2 (1) 0.001, p=0.822 
75–79 60 33.4±24.0 39.4±23.0 6 (18) 0.116, p=0.007 
 80–84 24 31.7±24.4 28.9±24.4 −2.8 (−9) 0.032, p=0.394 
Women 65–69 318 44.9±21.0 45.4±21.0 0.5 (1) 0.001, p=0.623 
70–74 221 36.5±22.8 39.9±22.2 3.4 (9) 0.029, p=0.011 
75–79 120 29.7±23.4 31.8±22.4 2.1 (7) 0.007, p=0.357 
80–84 44 19.2±20.5 19.2±19.6 0.0 (0) 0.000, p=0.944 
Balance right 1st miss, s Men 65–69 130 47.2±20.0 49.3±18.2 2.1 (4) 0.015, p=0.166 
70–74 99 35.7±22.9 38.0±22.7 2.3 (6) 0.016, p=0.218 
75–79 63 37.4±23.5 38.2±23.3 0.8 (2) 0.001, p=0.786 
 80–84 23 27.5±21.6 30.7±23.7 3.2 (12) 0.024, p=0.458 
Women 65–69 315 46.6±19.2 48.2±18.1 1.6 (3) 0.009, p=0.090 
70–74 218 35.1±23.0 40.5±22.4 5.4 (15) 0.055, p<0.001 
75–79 124 28.6±23.9 31.6±23.4 3.0 (10) 0.021, p=0.112 
80–84 44 18.7±18.4 25.0±20.5 6.3 (34) 0.098, p=0.041 
Balance left closed eye, s Men 65–69 128 12.6±21.0 14.1±27.8 1.5 (12) 0.015, p=0.164 
70–74 95 9.6±17.2 9.9±17.3 0.3 (3) 0.001, p=0.797 
75–79 57 5.6±5.0 7.3±9.0 1.7 (31) 0.052, p=0.089 
 80–84 21 4.8±5.1 7.7±9.8 2.9 (59) 0.220, p=0.028 
Women 65–69 321 8.2±10.0 8.9±10.9 0.7 (8) 0.009, p=0.090 
70–74 210 6.4±7.9 6.5±6.3 0.1 (1) 0.000, p=0.944 
75–79 118 4.4±3.8 4.8±4.1 0.4 (9) 0.015, p=0.199 
80–84 36 3.7±2.3 3.7±2.5 0.0 (0) 0.000, p=0.975 
Balance right closed eye, s Men 65–69 128 12.9±22.8 13.5±25.8 0.6 (5) 0.005, p=0.429 
70–74 95 10.0±14.4 9.7±13.4 −0.3 (−3) 0.001, p=0.729 
75–79 57 6.1±5.9 7.3±9.7 1.2 (20) 0.032, p=0.187 
 80–84 21 6.4±8.7 6.8±10.5 0.4 (6) 0.002, p=0.858 
Women 65–69 321 9.0±11.1 9.2±12.2 0.2 (2) 0.001, p=0.642 
70–74 210 6.5±7.8 6.9±7.4 0.4 (6) 0.002, p=0.491 
75–79 116 5.3±5.9 5.4±5.2 0.1 (2) 0.000, p=0.840 
80–84 34 3.9±3.6 4.2±3.3 0.3 (9) 0.010, p=0.579 
TestSexAgenPre-2PostΔ Post-pre-2, %Partial eta squared (ES) Δ post-P2
TUG, s Men 65–69 147 5.3±1.0 5.1±0.9 −0.2 (−5) 0.101, p<0.001 
70–74 122 6.2±1.6 5.7±1.3 −0.5 (−7)a 0.258, p<0.001 
75–79 78 6.4±1.4 5.8±1.1 −0.6 (−9)a 0.254, p<0.001 
 80–84 32 6.9±1.8 6.4±1.8 −0.3 (−6) 0.127, p=0.042 
Women 65–69 381 5.8±1.2 5.4±1.0 −0.4 (−6)a 0.217, p<0.001 
70–74 273 6.2±1.2 5.8±1.1 −0.4 (−6)a 0.162, p<0.001 
75–79 155 6.8±1.5 6.2±1.2 −0.6 (−9)a 0.305, p<0.001 
80–84 65 7.4±1.7 6.8±1.7 −0.6 (−9)a 0.279, p<0.001 
Stand-and-reach, cm Men 65–69 170 8.70±12.0e 7.74±11.9e −1.0 0.037, p=0.013 
70–74 135 10.4±12.8e 9.41±11.7e −1.0 0.031, p=0.041 
75–79 84 10.1±11.3e 9.05±12.0e −1.1 0.037, p=0.080 
 80–84 31 14.5±12.3e 14.0±13.8e −0.5 0.008, p=0.616 
Women 65–69 419 0.43±9.69 −0.49±9.47 −0.9c 0.039, p<0.001 
70–74 296 2.06±10.1 0.67±10.1 −1.4a 0.106, p<0.001 
75–79 158 1.93±11.6 1.13±11.5 −0.8 0.027, p=0.038 
80–84 63 4.02±11.0 3.08±11.2 −0.9 0.056, p=0.063 
Balance left (n/60 s) Men 65–69 138 2.8±3.4 2.4±3.4 −0.4 (−13) 0.042, p=0.017 
70–74 109 4.7±5.4 4.7±5.1 0.0 (−1) 0.001, p=0.812 
75–79 65 4.1±4.5 3.7±4.1 −0.4 (−9) 0.015, p=0.334 
 80–84 26 5.5±5.9 6.0±6.3 0.5 (10) 0.025, p=0.433 
Women 65–69 356 2.8±3.8 2.5±3.2 −0.3 (−11) 0.022, p=0.006 
70–74 247 3.9±4.7 3.2±3.9 −0.7 (−17) 0.046, p<0.001 
75–79 126 5.6±5.4 4.6±5.2 −1.0 (−17)b 0.037, p=0.033 
80–84 49 8.0±6.7 7.2±5.9 −0.8 (−9) 0.035, p=0.211 
Balance right (n/60 s) Men 65–69 140 2.6±4.0 2.1±2.45 −0.5 (−18) 0.016, p=0.134 
70–74 111 4.5±5.8 4.2±5.3 −0.3 (−7) 0.009, p=0.332 
75–79 69 3.5±3.7 3.8±4.2 0.3 (8) 0.008, p=0.479 
 80–84 25 4.9±4.3 5.9±6.5 1.0 (21) 0.023, p=0.455 
Women 65–69 357 2.4±2.8 2.1±2.5 −0.3 (−12) 0.017, p=0.014 
70–74 249 4.0±5.0 3.2±4.1 −0.8 (−20)c 0.046, p<0.001 
75–79 130 5.6±5.5 4.3±4.3 −1.3 (−23)b 0.124, p = <0.001 
80–84 48 6.7±5.1 6.2±4.8 −0.5 (−8) 0.011, p=0.482 
Balance left 1st miss, s Men 65–69 129 44.4±21.7 48.5±19.0 4.1 (9) 0.063, p=0.004 
70–74 96 33.6±23.2 33.8±23.0 0.2 (1) 0.001, p=0.822 
75–79 60 33.4±24.0 39.4±23.0 6 (18) 0.116, p=0.007 
 80–84 24 31.7±24.4 28.9±24.4 −2.8 (−9) 0.032, p=0.394 
Women 65–69 318 44.9±21.0 45.4±21.0 0.5 (1) 0.001, p=0.623 
70–74 221 36.5±22.8 39.9±22.2 3.4 (9) 0.029, p=0.011 
75–79 120 29.7±23.4 31.8±22.4 2.1 (7) 0.007, p=0.357 
80–84 44 19.2±20.5 19.2±19.6 0.0 (0) 0.000, p=0.944 
Balance right 1st miss, s Men 65–69 130 47.2±20.0 49.3±18.2 2.1 (4) 0.015, p=0.166 
70–74 99 35.7±22.9 38.0±22.7 2.3 (6) 0.016, p=0.218 
75–79 63 37.4±23.5 38.2±23.3 0.8 (2) 0.001, p=0.786 
 80–84 23 27.5±21.6 30.7±23.7 3.2 (12) 0.024, p=0.458 
Women 65–69 315 46.6±19.2 48.2±18.1 1.6 (3) 0.009, p=0.090 
70–74 218 35.1±23.0 40.5±22.4 5.4 (15) 0.055, p<0.001 
75–79 124 28.6±23.9 31.6±23.4 3.0 (10) 0.021, p=0.112 
80–84 44 18.7±18.4 25.0±20.5 6.3 (34) 0.098, p=0.041 
Balance left closed eye, s Men 65–69 128 12.6±21.0 14.1±27.8 1.5 (12) 0.015, p=0.164 
70–74 95 9.6±17.2 9.9±17.3 0.3 (3) 0.001, p=0.797 
75–79 57 5.6±5.0 7.3±9.0 1.7 (31) 0.052, p=0.089 
 80–84 21 4.8±5.1 7.7±9.8 2.9 (59) 0.220, p=0.028 
Women 65–69 321 8.2±10.0 8.9±10.9 0.7 (8) 0.009, p=0.090 
70–74 210 6.4±7.9 6.5±6.3 0.1 (1) 0.000, p=0.944 
75–79 118 4.4±3.8 4.8±4.1 0.4 (9) 0.015, p=0.199 
80–84 36 3.7±2.3 3.7±2.5 0.0 (0) 0.000, p=0.975 
Balance right closed eye, s Men 65–69 128 12.9±22.8 13.5±25.8 0.6 (5) 0.005, p=0.429 
70–74 95 10.0±14.4 9.7±13.4 −0.3 (−3) 0.001, p=0.729 
75–79 57 6.1±5.9 7.3±9.7 1.2 (20) 0.032, p=0.187 
 80–84 21 6.4±8.7 6.8±10.5 0.4 (6) 0.002, p=0.858 
Women 65–69 321 9.0±11.1 9.2±12.2 0.2 (2) 0.001, p=0.642 
70–74 210 6.5±7.8 6.9±7.4 0.4 (6) 0.002, p=0.491 
75–79 116 5.3±5.9 5.4±5.2 0.1 (2) 0.000, p=0.840 
80–84 34 3.9±3.6 4.2±3.3 0.3 (9) 0.010, p=0.579 

Number of participants (n) is presented. The mean difference for postexercise results is shown in absolute values (and %-of-change) in the column named: Δ post-pre-2 (%).

Here, a significant difference between the posttest and pre-2 test within each sex and age group is marked with the symbols: a(p < 0.001), b(p < 0.01), c(p < 0.05), analyzed with RM-ANOVA and post hoc test Bonferroni. Postexercise effect size (ES) via partial eta squared (with p value) is presented in the columns on the far right for Δ post-pre-2. In the rare cases, a significant difference occurred between sexes (p < 0.01) on any of the three test occasions, the symbol eis shown after the absolute values for men.

Fig. 3.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for muscle endurance tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 4.

Fig. 3.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for muscle endurance tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 4.

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Fig. 4.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for muscle strength tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 5.

Fig. 4.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for muscle strength tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 5.

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Fig. 5.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for cardiorespiratory fitness tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 6.

Fig. 5.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for cardiorespiratory fitness tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 6.

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Fig. 6.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for motor fitness tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 7.

Fig. 6.

Mean values (with 95% CI) for motor fitness tests among women and men in each age group in absolute values. For significant changes, see Table 7.

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In instances where a significant improvement postexercise was identified through these analyses, the effect size (ES) measured via partial eta squared was predominantly large (>0.14, as detailed in Tables 4-7). For additional comparisons of interest, such as changes in mean values from pre-1 to pre-2, see Tables 2-3.

Postexercise Test Scores – Muscular Endurance Tests

When comparing the pre-2 and post-muscular endurance tests, isometric endurance, equally in trunk flexion 45° and trunk extension, showed significant improvements for all sex and age groups, except those 80–84 years for both sexes and 75–79 years for men (Table 4; Fig. 3). For speed in 50 sit-to-stand, all sex and age groups, except 80–84 years, showed significant improvements. In 50 sit-to-stand (n with only chair seat bouncing), significant differences were not noted in men but were seen in women 70–74 and 75–79 years. In 30-s sit-to-stand, significant differences were not seen for men (except those aged 70–74 years), however, for all age groups in women (except those 80–84 years). Significant improvements in shoulder press were seen for the two youngest age groups in both sexes and for women 75–79 years.

No significant sex differences were seen for any of the three test occasions in the muscular endurance fitness tests (Table 4). In the alternate shoulder press test, the number of lifts was similar between sexes, whereas the weights were different (5 kg for men and 3 kg for women). Thus, multiplying the number of shoulder presses by the weight resulted in women having 58–76% of the volume values compared to men.

No significant age group differences were generally seen (p < 0.0125) on any of the three test occasions in either sex for static trunk flexion, 30-s sit-to-stand and shoulder press. This was also true for static trunk extension and speed in 50 sit-to-stand, except women 65–69 years showed significantly higher values than those 75–79 years in the former test (31–38%) and versus those 80–84 years in the latter test (20%) (in two of the three test occasions).

Postexercise Test Scores – Muscular Strength Tests

Significant improvements, from pre-2 to posttest, were seen in all age groups in both men and women in the 5 sit-to-stand test. This was also true in all age groups for women (except 80–84 years) for maximal step-up height, both L = left and R = right leg), however, not in men. No significant differences were seen in either sex or age groups for grip strength (L/R, Table 5; Fig. 4).

No significant sex differences (for any of the three test occasions) were seen in 5 sit-to-stand or in maximal step-up height L and R, for any age groups (except those 65–69 years, where women achieved 80–82% of the mean values for men). A significant difference was seen for hand grip strength L and R in all age groups (where women achieved 57–61% of the mean values in men).

No significant age group differences were seen (at any test occasion or either sex) for 5 sit-to-stand or for maximal step-up height L and R, only for grip strength where age group 65–69 years had generally higher values compared to the three older age groups (+8–19%), in both men and women.

Postexercise Test Scores – Cardiorespiratory Fitness Tests

From pre-2 to posttest, 6MWT significantly improved (17–24 m) generally for all women’s age groups, however. only those aged 65–69 years among men (increases of about +20 m, Table 6; Fig. 5). High-load cycle HR was significantly reduced only for women 65–69 and 70–74 years (−3 bpm), however, not for men. For standard load cycling HR, no significant differences were seen for any sex or age group. Thus, increase in these cardiovascular fitness tests was seen for women’s age groups, however, mostly not for men.

No significant sex difference was seen on any of the three separate test occasions among the walking and cycling parameters, except for a few examples. Men walked, compared to women, about 35 m further in 6MWT in the age group 65–69 years (where women achieved 94% of the mean values in men). In standard load cycling about 10 bpm, lower HR was noted for men versus women in the two youngest age groups (where men achieved 93–95% of the mean bpm values in women, Table 6). However, a sex comparison is not appropriate for high-load cycling HR since the load was generally higher for men than for women.

Significant age group differences were seen in 6MWT where those 65–69 years generally walked further distances versus all older age groups (+5–18%, on all three test occasions, seen in both sexes), and women 70–74 years walked further than those 80–84 years (+9–13%). However, there were no significant age differences in the two cycle-load HR, although high-load cycling HR is not useable for this comparison, see above).

Postexercise Test Scores – Motor Fitness Tests

Significant improvements (from pre-2 to posttest) were generally seen for TUG (−0.4 to −0.6 s) in all sex and age groups (except men 65–69 and 80–84 years.). Generally, no significant differences were seen in the stand-and-reach test or any of the balance tests (on either leg, with open or closed eyes) for any sex or age group (Table 7; Fig. 6).

Women showed significantly higher flexibility than men, with 7–11 cm lower stand-and-reach scores (in all age groups for all test occasions, Table 7). No significant sex differences were seen for TUG or balance tests.

A significant age group difference was seen for TUG in those 65–69 years versus all the older age groups (+7–29%, for both sexes on all three test occasions), and in women 70–74 years versus 80–84 years (+9–20%). No significant age group differences were seen for stand-and-reach or balance tests closed eyes (for either sex). However, balance tests open eyes showed generally significantly better values for those 65–69 years versus the other age groups, in both sexes. Further, women frequently and men rarely showed significantly better balance open eyes results for those 70–74 years versus 80–84 years.

Main Findings

This is the first study to assess test-retest reliability in novel fitness test measurements as well as postexercise test scores (from pre-2 to posttest) in these tests along with several other field-based physical tests performed by community-dwelling older men and women divided into different age groups 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, and 80–84 years. Between pretest 1 and pretest 2, a significant difference was seen in some of the novel test measures, but generally not, e.g., in static trunk flexion and step height on either leg among all sex and age groups. In most of these novel measurements, no significant differences occurred between the two pretests. After 8 weeks of exercise, the older adults’ mean values improved significantly from the second pretest in several of the twelve studied field-based fitness tests of muscle strength and cardiovascular and motor fitness. However, the results varied substantially depending on tests, sex, and age group. These findings should contribute to future evaluation of health and exercise interventions utilizing field-based fitness tests in older adults.

Physical Fitness: Its Importance for Health

Strength, aerobic, and motor fitness are all associated with improved health, reduced occurrence of several diseases, and increased life expectancy. Muscle strength, both in the upper and lower body (assessed as hand-grip and knee extension strength), is a predictor of mortality in healthy adults, regardless of age and follow-up period, as concluded in a meta-analysis by García-Hermoso et al. [23]. These authors stated that muscular strength tests can be easily performed to identify people with lower muscular strength and, consequently, with an increased risk of mortality. Further, muscle weakness, especially in the lower extremities, was in another meta-analysis associated with higher risk of falls in older adults [4]. In addition, early research has shown that increased muscle strength correlates with reduced incidence of common diseases such as osteoporosis, lower back problems, metabolic syndromes (increased blood pressure, waist circumference, insulin resistance, blood sugar, and blood lipids), and also some forms of cancer [15, 24‒26].

Lower cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is associated with increased healthcare costs, worse clinical outcomes, and reduced life expectancy [27, 28]. One of the first prospective studies that illustrated the importance of CRF for longevity, when adjusting for known confounders, was performed by Blair et al. [29]. Thereafter, among many reports, a meta-analysis also showed that high versus low CRF is linked to lower mortality and cardiovascular disease risk [28]. Several studies, including longitudinal follow-ups, show that higher CRF is associated with better cognitive function [30] and reduced risk of developing dementia [31]. Thus, great health benefits of increased aerobic fitness were reported early [29]. Measured good aerobic fitness has proved to be of greater importance than assessments of self-reported good physical activity habits for reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, according to, e.g., an early meta-analysis study [32]. Motor fitness is synonymous with neuromuscular control, i.e., daily activities which require speed of reaction, speed of movement, agility, coordination, and balance [30]. Another component of motor fitness is flexibility which refers to the ability to move a joint through a certain range of motion. Movement motor fitness is positively associated with cognitive performance and brain activation patterns in older adults [30]. The risk of falls has been demonstrably more than doubled when the TUG test requires over 13.5 s to complete, i.e., a gait speed <1 m/s [33]. Further, falls in older adults can be reduced with exercise and balance training [33], and one-leg standing balance is an inexpensive screening test for detecting low functional level and frailty [34]. Accordingly, the strong health benefits of good physical fitness shown above indicate the great value of reliable data to further evaluate exercise interventions with a battery of easy-to-perform physical tests for older adults in different health contexts.

Test-Retest Reliability

A significant improvement between the two pretests was noted for static trunk extension, only in women, but generally not (in any age and sex group) for the new fitness test measures: static trunk flexion, step-up height left and right leg, and in 50 sit-to-stand for number of bounces. Usually, two of the four age groups (in both men and women) showed a significant change between the pretests in shoulder press, 30-s sit-to-stand and for 50 sit-to-stand speed. Among the new fitness test measures not having any significant change between the pretests, ICC test-retest reliability generally ranged above 0.80 (95% CI) (see Tables 2-3). Thus, for these situations, a single pretest might be sufficient in future exercise intervention evaluations.

In order to achieve good reliability, it should be emphasized that a significant difference between two pretests detected in a paired t test supersedes the ICC value and provides evidence that the test is not reliable. Some of the fitness tests included in this study showed significant improvements between the two pretests, this should be considered when evaluating intervention effects where only one pretest is used in evaluating older adults. In these tests, it may be necessary to perform two pretests before starting an intervention. Alternatively, the absolute and relative improvements between the two pretests, shown here, can be used to interpret the magnitude of post-intervention effects (see also Tables 2-7 and text below).

For the novel fitness tests (where no significant differences between the pretests was noted), we noted ICC scores generally to be >0.80 in all age and sex groups (see Tables 2-3). This was true, e.g., in shoulder press, maximal step-up height for left and right leg, in 50 sit-to-stand speed and number of chair seat bounces. Within this test, we derived similar ICC scores in 30-s sit-to-stand (0.84–0.88) as reported in an older adult review (0.84–0.92) [35]. For isometric trunk extension ICC scores of 0.59–0.97 were reported in a review of those below 65 years with/without low-back pain [36], whereas we had the values 0.71–0.90. In isometric trunk flexion 45°, our ICC scores were 0.67–0.90. For a similar test, with trunk flexion angle 60° (n = 5, mean age 23 years), 0.93 was stated as a reliability coefficient [37].

Of previous reported reliability assessments, a review performed on community-dwelling older adults describes that grip strength, gait speed, 5 sit-to-stands and number of sit-to-stand in 30 s provide a valid and reliable measurement of muscle strength and physical performance, with ICC values of 0.71–0.94 [35]. In these previous reliability reports on field-based fitness tests, no information is generally given about any statistically significant differences with, e.g., a t test between two test comparisons. Two reviews of the 5 sit-to-stand test reported ICC values between 0.71–0.99 for this test and concluded the test to be a highly reliable tool for assessing lower limb strength, balance control, and mobility in both healthy adults and those with pathologies [38]. A grip strength review of older adults showed good-to-excellent ICC reliability, ranging >0.80 [39]. The ICC scores in 6MWT were reported to be 0.99 for older adults with type-2 diabetes (n = 18) [40], and 0.82–0.96 in a review covering adults 19–64 years [36]. Among motor fitness tests, ICC scores for TUG varied between 0.56–0.97 in an older adult review [35]. For the flexibility test chair sit-and-reach test in older adults of both sexes, ICC scores were 0.92–0.96 (n = 76) [11]. For the one-leg balance test in older adults, ICC values of 0.75–0.85 were shown (until first miss, n = 42) [41]. In the EB cycle ergometer test, ICC values of 0.76 were found for HR (bpm) standard load and 0.91 HR higher load among adults 21–65 years [42].

Regarding the other reliability measures in our study, e.g., CV, LoA, and SEM, higher present dispersion-of-measurement error was found among some of the muscle endurance tests. This implies that between individual results varied largely. The test units used may here also play a role. However, in the muscle endurance tests, significant improvements after the exercise period (pre-2 to end test) were often present among various age groups in both sexes, as were overall high ICC values between pretests in these situations (see also text above).

In summary, significant improvements between the two pretests were found in a third of all novel fitness test measures in the different age and sex groups, including static trunk extension. Thus, in most of these assessments, no significant difference occurred from pretest 1 to pretest 2, and ICC values generally ranged from good to high. However, looking solely at ICC values for reliability assessments may not be appropriate since a high ICC can be observed even when there is a significant difference between the two pretests.

Comparisons between Sex and Age Groups

Generally, there were no significant sex differences at pre-1, pre-2, or posttest when comparing all age groups, except men consistently exhibited higher hand-grip strength and reduced stand-and-reach flexibility compared to women. In the youngest age group 65–69 years, men performed significantly better in 50 sit-to-stand, maximal step-up height – both legs, and in 6MWT, compared to women in the same age group. In comparisons with a cross-sectional study of community-dwelling older adults in Spain, our results similarly show that older women have better flexibility than older men [3]. However, in contrast to their results, we found no sex differences in TUG; and only for the age group 65–69 years in 6MWT. Similarly to Gusi et al. [3], we also found that performance in 6MWT and TUG decrease with increased age for both sexes. Among the pioneers starting to evaluate older adults with an easy and valid fitness test battery for field contexts were Rikli and Jones [11]. As they did, we also found a decrease with older age in 6MWT and TUG for both sexes, but generally not in 30-s sit-to stand. The latter contrasts their findings. They reported 10-year age groups of older adults, whereas we in 5-year age groups.

For a single test occasion, a significant difference between 10-year sex and age groups was found in a meta-analysis only on the TUG test with healthy older adults [43] whereas we found no sex discrepancy, with a difference only between some age groups in TUG. No significant age group differences were usually seen in the present study, except in the four tests: grip strength, 6MWT, TUG, and balance tests open eyes at all three test occasions. Here, the age group 65–69 years most often had better scores than the older age groups.

Postexercise Test Scores

The main results from the RM-ANOVA were that after the 8-week exercise period, significant improvements, from pre-2 to posttest, were generally seen for both sexes in: 50 sit-to-stand speed and 5 sit-to-stand time among all age groups and in isometric trunk flexion 45°, isometric trunk extension-180° and shoulder press for those 65–74 years (i.e., in 5 of the twelve assessed fitness tests from pre-2 to posttest). In addition, most women’s age groups showed significant improvements (usually not men’s), in, e.g., MST with left and right leg, respectively, and 30-s sit-to-stand, TUG, 6MWT, and in high-load cycling HR. In cases where a significant improvement was seen, the ES was most often large (assessed via partial eta squared, see Tables 4-7). No significant postexercise differences were generally noted in hand-grip strength, stand-and-reach, or balance tests for any sex or age groups.

Some meta-analyses with mostly RCT exercise interventions for older adults exist, but these do not report sex and age group comparisons, neither do they include results from a second pretest to end test or comparisons between two pretests. One meta-analysis reported beneficial effects of combined strength/aerobic-training for adults >50 years in the four field tests: TUG, 30-s sit-to-stand, 6MWT, and aerobic fitness [44]. The women in our study improved significantly in these four tests, whereas the men only in TUG. In a meta-analysis on Pilates training (strength/balance exercises), no effects in 30-s sit-to-stand or 5 sit-to-stand were found, but effects were seen in 6MWT, TUG, balance, and flexibility [45]. One meta-analyses on community-dwelling older adults performing resistance training (6–48 weeks, 2–6 times/week) found a significant improvement of the tests TUG and knee extension 1 RM (especially when the exercise training was performed with maximal effort) and in 30-s sit-to-stand [46]. A meta-analysis of Nordic walking (brisk walking with poles, most often 3 days weekly for 12 weeks) showed improvements in balance, flexibility, 30-s sit-to-stand, 6MWT, and TUG [47]. In the three latter tests, the women in our study improved in most age groups, but the men improved only in the TUG, with no noted changes in balance or flexibility.

Another meta-analysis on combined strength/endurance training, where fitness tests were primarily performed with specialized laboratory equipment, showed that women generally achieve larger effects in knee extensor isokinetic strength than men do, but no intervention effects were seen for aerobic fitness and balance among older adults up to 73 years of age [48]. Our field-based fitness test results are somewhat similar – usually women (and not men) increased in the leg tests maximal step-up height and 30-s sit-to-stand. In contrast, both sexes generally improved in our leg tests, 50 sit-to-stand speed and 5 sit-to-stand time, across age groups, and women improved in the aerobic tests, 6MWT, and high-load cycling HR.

Larger increases in relative leg muscle strength in older women compared to older men have further been reported in a meta-analysis of resistance training interventions, assessed with 1 RM/3 RM/10 RM or isokinetic dynamometry [49]. No improvements were seen in hand-grip strength for either sex, but there were improvements in shoulder press for both sexes, without differences in number of weight lifts, although men lifted heavier weights than women did (5 kg vs. 3 kg) and consequently a higher total load. In our study, no sex difference in relative upper body strength was found; however, older men gained more absolute upper strength in shoulder press than older women, which was also true in some tests of lower body strength, e.g., in the sit-to-stand tests, since they generally have a higher body weight.

Our significant postexercise improvements for TUG were somewhat smaller than those in a meta-analysis of mixed exercise interventions studying mostly the TUG and one-leg balance tests in older adults [33]. Those authors also found, in contrast to our results, significant improvements in one-leg balance tests (with open and closed eyes) post-intervention.

A systematic review reported benefits for frail elderly performing resistance training alone or in a multimodal training (with 1–6 sessions per week, 1–3 sets of 6–15 repetitions, and intensity of 30–70% of 1 RM) with significant enhancements on muscle strength (7–37%), muscle power (8%), and functional capacity and decreased risk of falls (5–58%), although some studies did not show these benefits [8]. Postexercise improvements were observed for our community-dwelling older adults, varying between 8 and 37% for muscle endurance tests, 7–12% for muscle strength tests, 2–4% for aerobic fitness, and 6–9% in motor fitness tests (from pre-2 to posttest, Tables 4-7). However, some of our assessed fitness tests did not show a significant improvement after the 8-week exercise period for any sex and age group (see above).

A three-month intervention with exercise (2–3 times/week) measuring MST showed a significant improvement from the mean 27.2 (5.7) to 29.0 (5.5) cm in middle-aged female primary care patients (mean 52 ± 11 years) with obesity and other cardiometabolic risk factors [17]. These MST values are higher than the youngest age group in our study (65–69 years) increasing from pre-2 to the end test in a two-month intervention (2 sessions/weeks). We noted increases for the left leg from 23.5 (5.9) to 25.5 (6.5) cm and for the right leg from 23.8 (6.3) to 25.8 (6.6) cm. Our study is the first to investigate MST in older adults, both men and women, in various age groups between 65 and 84 years.

In summary, previous reports of postexercise effects for older adults usually include one to six field-based fitness tests, often without analyses for different age groups of older men and women, and this may influence the results. We conducted sex and age group evaluations among our twelve fitness tests (with 22 test parameters), including some newly developed test tasks, primarily comparing a second pretest with a posttest after 8 weeks of supervised exercise.

Strengths and Limitations

This is the first study to include both reliability analyses for two pretests in some novel fitness test measures and also effects from pre-2 to a posttest in connection with an 8-week exercise period for those new tests and some other fitness test measures. Analyses of men and women in the age groups 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, and 80–84 years (n = 1,407) were included regarding their performance in a total of twelve different field-based fitness tests (Fig. 2).

The newly developed fitness test measures for older adults included isometric 45° trunk flexion, alternating shoulder press, and 50 sit-to-stand, while measuring, e.g., speed and the number of stand-ups performed while just bouncing against the chair seat. Further, the recently developed MST of either leg is so far little studied [16]. This test shows a significant correlation with isokinetic knee extension strength (r = 0.68, p < 0.001).

A notable limitation in the present study is that we could not compare post-results with a control group. Therefore, we cannot with certainty conclude that improvements were due to the 8-week exercise period rather than to other confounding variables – for instance, seasonal effect or due to learning effects associated with repetition of the tests themselves. The postexercise comparisons should therefore be interpreted with care. We have however previously published data from a subsample of this cohort where physical activity patterns were measured with accelerometers and compared to a control group [50]. Here, significantly larger improvements were found for older adults in the 8-week exercise intervention regarding (i) total physical activity (tot-PA), (ii) time at moderate-to-vigorous intensity (MVPA), and (iii) decreased sedentary time compared to a control group of older adults assessed before and after the same period.

Another limitation might be that some of the tests are influenced more than others by motivation, especially muscle endurance tests. Further, the testing sessions were not conducted in private, so the influence of other older adults present at the different test stations may have affected performance. Although interindividual performance could vary more in some fitness tests, RM-ANOVA analyses often revealed significant improvements from pre-2 to posttest. Some of the age and sex groups’ novel fitness test measurements showed significant improvement between the two pretests, which should be considered when evaluating, e.g., post-intervention effects regarding these tests (i.e., a third of all measures). In these situations, however, we found that postexercise improvements from pre-2 were generally noticeably higher than the significant increase between the two pretests (Tables 4-7).

A limitation of the 6MWT is a noted significant correlation among relatively healthy older adults only for men and not for women versus direct measures of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in maximal cycle ergometer tests [18]. Thus, 6MWT does not reflect maximal aerobic capacity in relatively healthy community-dwelling older women.

It is of value to study the reliability of novel fitness test measures and to examine which of such tests are useful for accurately exploring possible positive exercise effects in older adults. Since muscular strength and endurance as well as aerobic fitness are strongly associated with health in older adults, some of the currently studied field-based fitness tests can be used to evaluate and monitor health status and effects of exercise interventions in health care, and in community, and sports settings. Our students, as test and exercise leaders, verbally reported that the older adults often expressed great joy and gratitude for the training sessions, the positive social context, and their improvements in various fitness tests.

This is the first study to assess test-retest reliability performed by 1,407 community-dwelling older men and women (65–69, 70–74, 75–79, and 80–84 years) in novel field-based fitness test measurements and to present postexercise test scores (from a second pretest to a posttest) in these novel tests and several other field-based fitness tests. For the assessed novel field-based fitness measures, we found no significant difference between the two pretests in a majority of the fitness test measures. The older adults improved significantly from the second pretest to the postexercise test in several of the twelve fitness tests, including the novel tests. These findings should contribute to future evaluations of exercise interventions in older adults by selecting field-based tests for use in an easy, objective, and cost-effective manner.

We wish to thank all following persons for invaluable help with the study: all the participants performing the tests and the ordered exercise, project leaders Evelina Starkeby, Frida Wagman, and Cecilia From in Solna and Lidingö municipalities for organization and recruiting participants, Sara Peterson and Cassandra Spoonberg for work with collected data, all the joyful students at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences who performed fitness test assessments and supervised exercise sessions, and Tim Crosfield for the very valuable language revisions.

The study was approved by the Regional Ethics Committee, Stockholm, Sweden, approval number [ID:2017/2064-32, 2021-00948]. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants after oral and written information was provided. We have received written informed consent from individual shown in Figure 2 for publication of these images.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

This study was supported by Stiftelsen Solstickan, Stockholm, Sweden.

All authors contributed in various ways to the project administration. Conceptualization and methodology: Manne Godhe, Gustaf Rönquist, Johnny Nilsson, Örjan Ekblom, Lillemor Nyberg, and Eva Andersson; data curation and formal analysis of the data: Manne Godhe, Gustaf Rönquist, Örjan Ekblom, Gunnar Edman, and Eva Andersson; visualization: Manne Godhe; and writing original draft preparation: Manne Godhe and Eva Andersson. All authors have contributed to the writing process – review and editing and read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

The data that support the findings of this study are not publicly available due to privacy reasons but are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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