Flexibility & Age

3.8 based on 16 ratings

Updated on Oct 25, 2013

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Life Science

In this experiment students will examine how our bones change over time by studying flexibility in the young and old.

Does age affect flexibility?

Over 200 bones support the human body. They not only give structural support but also protect vital organs such as the heart, spinal cord, and brain. In conjunction with our muscles the bones allow us to move. These movements are a result of muscle groups attached to the bones that either flex or extend allowing you to walk, raise your hand, and more complex movements such as tumbling. As we mature, so do our bones. These changes can often be quite dramatic such as bone fusion that can eventually affect range of motion. In this experiment we will examine how age affects flexibility.

  • Measuring Tape or Yard Stick.
  • Masking Tape

1) Choose your subjects. In order to determine if age has an affect on flexibility you must choose subjects from at least 3 age groups and find at least 5 people for each group.

a) 5-12

b) 13-18

c) 19-29

d) 30-39

e) 40+

2) Warm Up. Have your subjects warm up before performing the flexibility tests.

a) Stretches

b) Running in place

c) Jumping Jacks

3) Flexibility Test Set Up:

a) Sit & Reach (Lower Body Flexibility)

i) Find an area with a hard floor to perform this test. You will need at least a 6' x 6' area.

ii) Place a piece of tape on the floor.

iii) Place your yard stick or measuring tape perpendicular to the tape so that the tape intersects at 15".

iv) Have your subject sit with their legs fully extended on the floor with their heels at the tape (15").

v) Position the feet shoulder width apart.

vi) Have the subject extend their arms and hands with one hand over the other.

vii) Subjects will slowly fold forward so the tips of their fingers move toward or past the 15" line.

viii)Record the length at which their arms, hands, and fingers are fully extended.

ix) Perform this test 3 times, record each trial, and calculate the average length.

b) Based on your background research choose two more flexibility tests. You should find at least one upper body test to perform.

4) Organize your data into a table and graph. Compare these values with the average values according to age.

5) Did age have an effect on flexibility? Does flexibility increase or decrease with age?

Sit & Reach

Age Group

Average Score (inches)

5-12 years


1-18 years


19-29 years


30-39 years


40+ years


Terms/Concepts: Flexibility Tests; Range of Motion; Flexibility averages among age groups; Bone Composition; Bone Formation; Collagen; How many bones are we born with? How many bones do adults have?


Melissa Bautista is a research scientist, freelance editor, and writer, with a focus in Neuroscience. She believes in establishing solid foundations in education through experience, creativity, and collaboration. She is fascinated by pedagogy and the concept of learning through living.

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