Basic Functional Activities

Physical Therapy is a goal based profession.  We write goals at our initial visit and then continue to reassess them and create new ones as appropriate as we go.  Fitness needs to have similar goals.  Here is a list of basic functional activities that I think could fall into either the physical therapy to fitness spectrum (Training = Rehab per Charlie Weingroff).

I like to think of these from a chronological perspective.  What is the first thing you need to be able to do in the day and then what other things are needed too.

1) lay down in any position: sidelying, supine, prone
2) roll from one lying position to another (simple rolling)
3) get up to sitting (more advanced rolling)
4) stand Up (squat)
5) walk
6) bend over (deadlift)
7) pick something up (deadlift)
8) reach up (press)
9) grab an object (press)
10) pull open a door (pull)
11) sit down (squat)
12) get down to the floor (lunge)
13) move on the floor (crawl)
14) push your self up from the floor (press, lunge)
15) push something (press)
16) pull something (pull)

If I take a look at #1: lay down in any position, this requires a couple of basic fundamental physical abilities.  First is a balance in the relative flexibility (Sahrmann) of leg muscles to trunk muscles.  Tighter hip flexors than abs will make lying supine or prone very uncomfortable.  Similarly, you need full hip extension, full knee extension and neutral spine posture.  If you want to lie prone, you better have full cervical mobility.  If you want to lie with your arms overhead, you better not have any upper thoracic mobility restrictions or thoracic outlet issues.  If not you’ll need to modify this activity.  This doesn’t sound very challenging, it’s just lying down, but I have seen many people who need to modify this activity with pillows, bending their knees, not lying in one of the positions.  If you have an ability to lie in any position, this sets you up well for the next activities.

I’ll take a look at each of these activities in the next few weeks.

Keep Moving, Jason


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