[July 2016] –There are countless solutions available these days to help improve the public’s health, activity level and sports performance. But first things first: just how fit—or unfit—are you?
Can you walk up two flights of stairs without becoming fatigued? Are you able to sleep through the night and wake in the morning without pain? These are just some of the questions posed in an online lifestyle tool dubbed “The Fit Factor.” Developed by a team of physical therapists, the tool is tasked with rating participants’ physical health.
In the time it takes to scan the morning’s news headlines on a smartphone, users can complete a handful of yes/no questions and walk away with a clear sense of how their physical health stacks up. The easy-to-use survey is separated into multiple age categories and assigns a score to indicate the user’s fitness level.
As a physical therapist, Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, of Performance Physical Therapy in Rhode Island, has noticed that people often seek out feedback on their physical health and desire to know how they compare to others. Some of the questions she hears from clients include “Can other people my age balance on one leg? How many push-ups should I be able to do? Am I flexible?”
According to Collie, The Fit Factor “was researched and designed to provide a trustworthy assessment of how one’s flexibility, strength, balance and functional abilities compares to others.”
The Fit Factor score is calculated based on responses to questions about the person’s exercise habits and ability to participate in everyday activities. In addition, users have access to videos and other instructions to participate in self-screening tests of balance, strength and flexibility. The tool’s main focus is to help people lead an active, pain-free life.
The Fit Factor was conceived in 2013 by a committee within the American Physical Therapy Association’s Private Practice Section to help advance knowledge of the physical therapy profession. With a task force of physical therapists in Rhode Island leading the charge on the tool’s research and development front, it’s beginning to gain traction in cities across the United States.
The Fit Factor provides an overview of the spectrum of problems and ailments physical therapists treat and prevent. “I’ve found that many people are unsure of what physical therapy is or how it can help them,” says Collie who also chairs the PR and marketing committee for the APTA’s Private Practice Section. “In this changing healthcare environment, people need to become advocates of their health and learn the role of all healthcare providers.”
The relationship with The Fit Factor project doesn’t need to end upon completion of the tool. Participants may elect to receive an email that details the meaning of their score and a link to find a physical therapist in their area who can determine precisely what needs to be done to improve their physical health. To find out your Fit Factor, visit: http://privatepracticesection.org/fit-factor
About The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association
Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the health care system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit www.ppsapta.org.