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Health and Fitness Testing

Health and fitness testing, casual blood pressure, height, body mass/weight, bio electrical impedance, body measurements and body mass index.
older lady squats with personal trainer
© CQUniversity 2021

Testing is an important part of the screening process as it gives one an accurate picture of fitness, an indication of appropriate starting intensities, a baseline for goal setting and assistance in group fitness recommendations. As the instructor for an older adult client, you need to be able to identify and select the appropriate health and fitness tests for your client.

Testing needs to be:

  • Valid (test should measure what it claims to measure)
  • Reliable (obtain the same result on two or more separate trials/occasions (quality control).

When choosing a method for testing, the main priority is the safety of the client.

You will need to consider:

  • Injuries or medical conditions e.g. is it safe to ask the client to do an overhead exercise? The goal of the client e.g. if the goal is muscular endurance you will need to select a muscular endurance test
  • The current health state of the client e.g. mobility. – is it appropriate for the client to get onto the floor to complete a sit-up test?
  • Current cardiovascular fitness level e.g. will the beep test be too hard? Will the step test be too easy?
  • Experience, coordination, and balance e.g. are the tests too complicated for the client?
  • Self-esteem e.g. Is it necessary to tell the client their BMI result?

General guidelines – prior to testing:

  • Refrain from ingesting food, alcohol, caffeine or tobacco within 4 hours of testing
  • Ideally, the test should be carried out at the same time or day under similar circumstances e.g. similar activity and food eaten prior to testing
  • Clients should be rested for the assessment
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Clients made aware that the test may be fatiguing
  • Note that temperature and humidity on the day can also affect results
  • Clients should continue with any medications
  • Bring a list of medications and detail – the dosage, frequency of dose & last dose taken
  • 24 hours prior to testing, drink ample fluids to ensure hydration.

What tests? Health

  • Blood pressure
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Girths
  • Body Fat %.

What tests? Fitness

Consider the components of Fitness

  • Cardiorespiratory endurance
  • Muscular strength
  • Muscular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Body composition.

What tests? Choosing appropriate fitness tests:

  • Available equipment to the instructor
  • Client health and medical clearance
  • Time available
  • Client comfort
  • Client goals
  • Client experience
  • Contraindication – where the risk of exercise testing outweighs the benefits to the client.

Why test? You must explain to your client:

  • What is the test called?
  • Why are you doing the test?
  • What does the test tell us?
  • How will you do the test?
  • Explain the process
  • What is the result?

Casual blood pressure (CBP)


  • Seated quietly 5 minutes with both feet flat on the floor
  • No smoking or caffeine 30 minutes prior
  • Systolic (the top reading) – is the pressure exerted on artery walls as heart contracts
  • Diastolic (the bottom reading) – is the pressure remaining in arteries when the heart relaxes
  • At least two measures taken (average).
© CQUniversity 2021
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