South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Self-perceived physical fitness and physical activity demand in the Spanish elderly

María Espada-Mateos, José-Carlos Calero-cano


The importance of establishing how the elderly subjectively perceive their physical fitness has been studied so that future action plans may be established to improve their quality of life. The main goal of this research was to evaluate how Spanish people aged 65 years and over, perceive their level of physical fitness and the relationship this has with the different types of demands (established, latent, absent), for physical activity. Cross-sectional research was conducted involving face-to-face interviews using a standardised questionnaire and involving 907 elderly persons (male=428; female=479), aged over 65 years (74.12±6.55). The results suggest that the majority of the elderly perceived their fitness as good or very good, with this variable being most positively perceived among people who exercise, the males and the younger persons among those interviewed. However, nearly half of the participants perceived their physical fitness as being somewhat poor and considered that they should start participating in physical activity.

Key words: Elderly; Physical activity; Fitness; Self-perception; Established, latent, absent demand; Spain.

AJOL African Journals Online