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Rev Esp Salud Publica. 2018 Mar 27;92. pii: e201803013.

[Organized physical activity in the elderly, a tool to improve physical fitness during ageing].

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

Author information

Centro Universitario de la Defensa. Zaragoza. España.
GENUD (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) Research Group. Universidad de Zaragoza. España.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERObn). España.
Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2). España.
CIBER de Fragilidad y Envejecimiento Saludable (CIBERFES). España.
Grupo de Investigación GENUD Toledo. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha. Toledo. España.
ImFINE Research Group. Departamento de Salud y Rendimiento Humano. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. España.
Instituto de Biomedicina (IBIOMED).Universidad de León. León. España.
Universidad de Extremadura. Cáceres. España.
Unidad de Medicina del Deporte. Cabildo de Gran Canaria. España.


in English, Spanish


An adequate level of fitness is critical to achieving healthy ageing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of organized physical activity (PA) and the number of hours of practice on the fitness levels of the elderly.


A total of 3104 people over 65 years old from Spain, belonging to the EXERNET Multicenter Project (722 men and 2382 women, mean age: 72.1 ± 5.3 years) participated in the study. Fitness was evaluated by 8 specific tests for this population. Participation in organized PA was recorded through a questionnaire. Differences in fitness values depending on the participation in PA and the number of hours were measured with ANCOVA adjusting for age, hours of walking and sitting time.


Those who did not participate in this type of activity increased their risk of having a low level of fitness in most variables evaluated, with some differences between sexes (OR: from 1.6 to 2.6 in men and from 1.4 to 2.2 in women). In men, no significant differences were observed between practicing less than 2, 2-4 or more than 4 hours (P grater than 0,05), with an exception in the strength of the left arm. However, women who performed more than 2 hours a week in organized PA had better balance, strength of lower and upper extremities, flexibility of lower extremities, walking speed and aerobic capacity than those who performed less than 2 hours of PA a week (P less than 0,05).


The practice of organized PA produces a beneficial effect on the fitness of the elderly regardless of age, hours of walking and time sitting per day.


Aged; Ageing; Exercise; Frail elderly; Health; Healthy lifestyle; Muscle strength; Physical endurance; Physical fitness; Quality of life; Spain

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