DOI: 10.3138/ptc-2023-0026 ISSN: 0300-0508

A Virtual Versus In-Person Comparison of the Senior Fitness Test: A Randomized Crossover Trial

Giulia Coletta, Claire Tuckey, Angelica McQuarrie, Michelle Ogrodnik, Emma Nicholson, Stuart M. Phillips, Colleen Cupido
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

The Senior Fitness Test (SFT) is a validated tool for examining older adults’ mobility, strength, and flexibility. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person training facilities were closed, there was a need for effective virtual options for assessments, including the SFT.


The purpose of this study was to compare the validated SFT conducted in person versus an online virtual setting.


A virtual modified version of the SFT was compared to the modified in-person validated SFT. Community-dwelling older adults were randomized, using a random number generator, to start in either the in-person or virtual modified SFT mode of delivery. After completion of the first mode of delivery (i.e., either in-person or virtual), participants completed the second mode of delivery.


Forty participants (50% women; 72 ± 4 years) showed no differences between the in-person and virtual delivery measurements in the 2-minute step (mean [ M] ± standard deviation in person = 87.9 ± 18.5; M virtual = 87.2 ± 20.7; p = 0.65), 30-second arm curl ( M in person = 16.9 ± 4; M virtual = 16.5±4; p = 0.43), 30-second chair stand ( M in person = 15.6 ± 5; M virtual = 15.2 ± 4; p = 0.36), and chair sit and reach ( M in person = 1.2 ± 15; M virtual = 4.2 ± 11; p = 0.06).


Performing the modified SFT in a virtual setting may be a useful delivery mode for seniors and healthcare professionals if in-person testing is not viable.

More from our Archive