Introduction: Physical fitness has a direct impact on daily motor function. The level of fitness generally increases with age to reach a maximal level for a given individual at around 20-30 years of age, after which it begins to gradually decrease - with the pace of the decrease depending on the type of physical activity engaged in. At every age, physical fitness can be improved by the right physical training. One factor that frequently limits participation in various types of physical activity is insufficient free time. Older individuals frequently have more free time, yet do not spend it in an active way. At the same time, elderly individuals are becoming an increasingly sizeable group within society. That means that soon a large share of Poland's population will consist of individuals with low motor fitness. To mitigate this, organizations are being formed where older individuals can participate in motor-exercise classes. This type of activity can have a positive impact on the condition of older individuals, who represent an ever-larger part of society. It is thus possible to boost the physical fitness of the elderly, and doing so is very important for this population segment's health.
The objective of this study is to identify the level of physical fitness of elderly individuals who participate in the Third Age University at the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw, and to trace the evolution of their physical fitness after 3 months of motor-exercise classes.
Materials and methods: The physical fitness of 31 women was tested. All were female participants in the Third Age University at the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw. The mean age of the subjects was 65.3 years (SD 4.42), with mean body mass 66.4 kg (SD 7,44) and mean height 157.7cm (SD 5,11). Their body mass index (BMI) ranged between 21.5 and 31.7, with the mean value being 26.5. The test was conducted twice, after an interval of 3 months. The objective was to identify an exercise regime that would cause a given individual's heart rate to increase to 130 bpm.
Results: The individuals studied showed a low level of physical fitness. A 3 month period was sufficient to effect an improvement in the physical fitness of elderly individuals
1. Physical capacity subjects is low.
2. Using regular physical activity adapted specifically for the needs of older people can improve physical performance in elderly people.
3. A period of three months is sufficient to improve physical performance in the elderly.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.