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Assessing Your Mobility with the Functional Fitness Assessment

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Assessing Your Mobility with the Functional Fitness Assessment

Since 2006, the Functional Fitness Assessment has been part of Cooper Clinic’s preventive health exam. The purpose of the assessment is to test a patient’s functional mobility and identify areas of weakness or imbalance.

“When we exercise, we tend to stick to the exercises we enjoy. That can result in imbalance, which can lead to injury or pain,” explains Michael Clark, MD, Preventive Medicine Physician.

By identifying areas of tightness or weakness, Marius Maianu, Clinical Exercise Physiologist and other Cooper Clinic Fitness Consultants are able to provide patients with suggestions of exercises and workouts they can do to improve overall mobility, stability and strength.

The Functional Fitness Assessment also includes a cardiovascular component, a treadmill stress test, which patients complete with their physician. It is common to see patients perform well on the stress test, yet fail the Functional Fitness Assessment.

Surprisingly, even people who exercise regularly typically fail the Functional Fitness Assessment the first time. “Someone who is used to a particular activity, such as a runner, may develop bad habits or bad form, which affects mobility,” explains Dr. Clark. “Even if a runner has perfect form, that form does not translate to other exercises, such as swimming or biking. Anyone who does a whole lot of one type of exercise lacks balance and symmetry, which can lead to injury.”

The Functional Fitness Assessment takes about an hour to complete. During the assessment, patients are asked to do a number of movements that test leg, hip, shoulder and back mobility, as well as trunk stability. Fitness consultants break the body down into left and right sides, testing teach individually to assess symmetry in the body.

“Even if someone thinks they exercise well, they would benefit from an analysis of their movement,” says Dr. Clark, “the assessment can not only help prevent injury, but can also improve physical and athletic performance.”

The assessment is given to every patient who comes to Cooper Clinic for a preventive health examination, but it is recommended that patients be assessed annually to track improvements.

“Those who do the assessment annually are most successful in maintaining a healthy workout routine because we are always working with them to fill in the gaps and correct poor movement or imbalances,” says Maianu.

The assessment used by Cooper Clinic was developed by well-known physical therapist Gray Cook and is a comprehensive look at movement patterns within the body.

To learn more about the preventive exam at Cooper Clinic and to make an appointment, click here

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.