Are you physically fit? This question can be a tough one to answer for some people. Fitness enthusiasts probably have no trouble answering this question, because they know they are. Others may laugh because they are the exact opposite. But many of us fall somewhere in between. If you don’t work out regularly, you may not be sure what kind of shape you’re in.
There’s a way to test your physical fitness level. Try to perform these 7 functional movement patterns and see how you fare. According to fitness experts and physical therapists, everyone should be able to do these 7 moves if they are in good physical shape.
- Walking. Let’s start easy with a very basic movement, walking. Most of us do at least a minimal amount of walking each day, and others may walk more. Walking on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do for your physical health. Do you walk properly? Do you have a healthy gait?
Check yourself by walking in front of a mirror or have someone take a video of you walking. Do both legs move evenly or do you limp? Do you swing your hips when you walk? Do your toes point forwards or out to the side? How’s your posture? Bad walking habits can easily develop and cause pain or injury.
You should be able to walk evenly, with minimal hip swinging and toes pointed forwards. Your shoulders should be back, your head up, your stomach muscles tight, and your back straight. Try improving your walking posture and gait to strengthen your lower body.
- Hinge. You probably bend over multiple times a day. Does it hurt your back to bend over and pick something up off the floor? Are you bending properly to protect your lower back? A hinge is any movement where you bend at the waist. In fitness it may be called a deadlift where you bend over at the waist with a weight in each hand and then stand back up straight. When you bend you should feel your glutes and hamstrings working if you’re doing it right.
- Twist. A twist is any movement where you twist from the waste. It could be a standing twist like a wood chopping motion or a movement where you sit down with knees bent in front of you and twist from the waste, with or without weights depending on your strength. A twist should work your core muscles, both your stomach, back, and sides. You should be able to twist without pain. If you’re standing with your feet hip or shoulder width apart, you should be able to twist to each side without either foot coming off the floor.
- Lunge. A lunge can be either a step forward or a step back with one foot. Once you step, your front knee should be at a 90 degree angle and your back knee should be almost touching the floor. Use the muscles in the front leg, the quad and glute, to step your feet back together. You should be able to do at least a few lunges without wobbling or losing your balance.
- Squat. To do a proper squat, stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and bend your knees. Sit back as if you are sitting in an imaginary chair, as far back as you can without falling backwards. Make sure your knees do not go over your toes. You should be able to lower down until your legs make a 90 degree angle and stand back up again without losing your balance. This exercise uses the quads and glutes.
- Push. Can you do a proper pushup? Some people can, but many people can’t, especially women. For a proper pushup you start on your hands and your toes with your body straight and parallel to the ground. You bend your arms and lower yourself down until your chest almost reaches the floor and then push back up again. Your body should remain in a straight line throughout the movement. If you can’t do this, you can work up to it by starting on your knees. You can also do pushups while standing and leaning with your hands against the wall. Another option is to prop your hands on some stairs at whatever height works for you and then work your way down each step until you can do them on the floor.
- Pull. Another difficult move for many people, especially women, is a pull up or a chin up. A pull up is done by hanging from a bar and pulling yourself up until your chin is over the bar. You can do this with your palms facing toward you or away from you on the bar. It takes an incredible amount of upper body strength to complete this exercise. If you can’t do it now, you can work up to it by laying down on your back and pulling yourself up to a bar just above you.
Matawan Physical Therapy Can Help You Master Functional Movement
If you’re experiencing pain or you have an injury that is causing limited movement, working your way up to performing these 7 functional movement patterns can help. These exercises will improve your strength and help you learn to move your body properly so that you can avoid injury and relieve pain. Matawan Physical Therapy can help you learn these movements and build up your strength until you can do them on your own.
Call (732) 970-7894 or contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you improve your physical fitness.