gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Physical fitness of active and inactive women aged 50-65

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author M. Rakovac - University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • S. Heimer - University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • M. Tonkovic-Lojovic - University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • S. Beri - University of Zagreb, Croatia

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa042

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Rakovac et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




It is well documented that regular aerobic physical activity increases exercise capacity and physical fitness, leading to many health benefits [4], especially for women of postmenopausal age [1]. The aim of this study was to compare physical fitness of regularly active to inactive women aged 50-65 yrs and to compare the results with Eurofit norms for adult population of the Republic of Croatia.


The sample consisted of 216 women, aged 50-65 yrs. 116 women had been participating in regular physical activity (aerobic classes 2-4 times a week) for at least 5 years, whereas 100 women had never participated in any kind of regular physical activity.

Physical fitness of the participants was evaluated with the Eurofit test battery [3]. Women were subjected to tests measuring body composition (body weight and height, and waist and hip circumference), aerobic fitness (Astrand's cycle ergometer test), motor fitness (single leg balance test, plate tapping), and musculoskeletal fitness (sit-ups, sit-and-reach, vertical jump, hand grip). T-test was used in data analysis.


Statistically significant differences between the two groups were found in the five observed variables in favour of the active group. Namely, single leg balance test – attempts/30s (active 5.4 ± 5.6 vs inactive 8.9 ± 8.9, t= -3.43, p=0.001), sit-ups - n/30s (10.6 ± 6.6 vs 5.1 ± 5.2, t=6.74, p=0.000), plate tapping - n/20s (39.1 ± 7.9 vs 35.9 ± 5.6, t=3.30, p=0.001), absolute maximal oxygen uptake (V02max) – L • min-1 (1.5 ± 0.7 vs 1.2 ± 0.7, t=2.82, p=0.005) and relative V02max - ml • kg-1 • min-1 (21.6 ± 10.9 vs 17.8 ± 10.7, t=2.61, p=0.009).


Compared to the inactive group, the regularly active women showed significantly better results in five variables describing motor, musculoskeletal and aerobic fitness. Moreover, the results of the regularly active women were above the average even when compared with the respective gender and age group Eurofit norms for adult population of the Republic of Croatia [2]. These results point to the positive effects of regular recreational physical activity and its potential for the improvement of physical fitness, and, at the same time, health enhancement of female population of this age group.


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