Study aim: To explore how elderly people with different living conditions are characterized by their fitness, body composition, and quality of life.
Material and methods: Women aged 60 years and over (n = 60; age = 76.2 ± 7.6 years) were examined in cross-sectional study from a medium-sized city in western Hungary. Participants were chosen from a twilight home (n=27, age = 79.4 ± 7.7years) and clubs for retired people (n = 33, age = 73.7 ± 6.6 years). Physical fitness status was assessed by Fullerton Functional Fitness Test - Senior Fitness Test (FFFT); body composition (BC) with Inbody-720 bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy; and quality of life with WHOQOL-OLD questionnaire. Data were analysed with the use of t-test for independent samples and stepwise discriminant analysis.
Results: FFFT shows significant differences in each variable: lower and upper body strength, aerobic endurance, upper and lower body flexibility, and dynamic balance. These variables were significantly higher in the clubs for retired people. The BC of twilight home residents was significantly lower in height and fat-free mass. Regarding quality of life, there were significant differences in perception, autonomy, and sociability for the favour of elderly in clubs; however, there were no differences in activities of past, present and future, or differences in attitudes towards death or intimacy.
Conclusions: A sedentary and institutionalized lifestyle with little variety in daily activity and programing has a negative effect on physical fitness status, body composition, and quality of life. Self-motivation, active lifestyle, and regular and varied programs seem to have leading roles in the quality of life in elder population.
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”.