New Year’s Resolutions and Senior Fitness Testing

It’s that time in the New Year when we all check in with our resolutions. Luckily, Senior Fitness Testing is underway at Horizon House and our Wellness department is ready to help with one of the biggies: Exercise! Throughout the month of February we’ll be offering a series of tests that establish a benchmark of a resident’s current fitness abilities and help guide individual exercise plans for the coming year. For residents who have participated in Senior Fitness Testing before, Wellness staff can compare their historical results with their new results to: 1) help identify areas of concern, 2) track progress and identify areas that have improved, and 3) show residents how their individual results compared with the national norm.

Traditionally, fitness testing has been associated with younger populations; however, we believe that it is even more important during an individual’s senior years. Maintaining adequate mobility (strength, endurance, flexibility, and even agility!) is crucial for conducting activities of daily living (getting out of bed, walking to the store, etc.).

The Senior Fitness Test was developed by Dr. Roberta Rikli and Dr. Jessie Jones at Fullerton University and is sometimes referred to as the Fullerton Functional Test. It is a safe, easy, and often fun assessment of a senior’s fitness level—a useful “snapshot” of where each person is currently in their wellness program.

The testing protocol includes a battery of six different tests, each one of which is conducted under the supervision and direction of Wellness staff. The tests are designed to assess overall fitness through safe and effective exercises and stretches. They include:

  1. Chair Stand Test – assesses lower body strength
  2. Arm Curl Test – assesses upper body strength
  3. Chair Sit and Reach Test – assesses lower body flexibility
  4. Back Scratch Test – assesses upper body flexibility
  5. 8-Foot Up and Go Test – assesses agility
  6. Walk Test – assesses aerobic fitness (for a duration of 6 minutes)

We are all built differently, so each of these tests can be modified for an individual’s needs. All of our residents are invited and encouraged to participate.

Upon completion, each individual’s scores can be compared to national values to better identify areas of success and improvement and set educated, achievable goals for the coming year. The Wellness staff is happy to follow up so that residents’ current exercise programs can be fine-tuned to achieve their goals. Please come down to the Gym and get a leg up on one of the most important New Year’s resolutions there is: Exercise!

 Coming in March: Brain Fitness

Stay tuned for the Wellness department’s newest program coming in the beginning of March–Brain Fitness. We will be exploring how the brain works to retain information and developing strategies to challenge our cognitive abilities!

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