Volume 16 (1997) Issue 4 Pages 123-131
There is no doubt that the older population in Japan is rapidly increasing. The over-65 age group is the fastest growing age group in Japanese society. The quality of life for this rapidly growing segment of the population can no longer be ignored without disastrous consequences. The advent of an increased life expectancy has focused attention on the issue of functionality versus disability. We are all faced with the inevitable consequences of aging, yet each of us has the capacity to modify the aging process physiologically through appropriate physical activity and other preventive health measures. Therefore, with the aid of a physically healthy lifestyle, an exercise participant can be physically capable, energetic, and live actively beyond the ages of 50, 60, or even 70 years. Consequently, a key issue for successful or healthy aging would appear to be the improvement in perception of physical ability through education, as well as improvement in health-related physical fitness through a change in lifestyle involving regular exercise. In addition, it is a major responsibility of the physical education profession and related health fields to clarify and publicize the benefits, risks, and specific parameters of physical activity, and to develop an effective prescription for physical activity in programs that are age adjusted. This review discusses from this perspective the significance of health fitness appraisal in the aged society. Much more research is needed to clarify these issues in Japanese society.