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We conducted a fitness self-assessment in order to evaluate our overall health and fitness status. The areas that were tested included cardiovascular, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, body composition, agility, balance, and coordination. Once these assessments were completed, I picked an area I was lacking in to form a goal. Height measurement is taken by easily marking the top of a person’s head against a wall and measuring up to it. When taking measurements of height, the person should remove their shoes prior to recording, and their feet, calves, back, and head should all be in contact with the wall. To measure weight, a scale can be used. A reliable measurement is taken by first asking the person to remove any items from their pockets and remove any heavy items of clothing. The person’s state of hydration and recent food consumption should be noted so that subsequent tests can be taken under identical conditions (“Taking Height, Weight, and ‘BMI’ Measurements”, 2018).
Girth measurements are typically used to determine fat gain or loss. The midsection of the waist and hip are common areas of measurement since fat tends to accumulate here. The waist measurement is taken at the narrowest waist level of the client, while the hip girth is taken over the level of greatest protrusion of the gluteal muscles. The chest is another common area of measurement and is taken by placing the tape measure around their upper torso and under their arm pits (“Taking Girth Measurements”, 2018).
Anthropometrics involves collecting statistics and measurements relating to the human body. I learned that when recording height and weight, we can use it to assess our body mass index (BMI). This is a common way of assessing if a person’s body weight to fat ratio is healthy for their size. Although, BMI measurements are not that accurate for persons who are healthy and muscular. They can be perceived as obese since muscle weighs more than fat, and this is not really differentiated on the BMI scale (“Taking Height, Weight, and ‘BMI’ Measurements”, 2018).
According to my measurements, my BMI is calculated to be 20.9, which is said to be normal. Girth measurements were another form of assessing body dimensions. Usually, if your circumference measurements increase, this is shown as an increase in your body fat. This proposes an increased risk of developing heart disease if fat accumulates around the waist. It is said that these assumptions are only reliable when taken on populations who have average to above average body fat. For men, a general guideline for measurements that show an increased risk of heart disease are waist girth greater than 102cm, and a waist to hip ratio greater than 0.95 (“Taking Girth Measurements”, 2018). Based on the data collected for myself, my waist girth is 77cm, and my waist to hip ratio is 0.84. I am fairly below these guidelines and I aim to maintain my size in order to not increase the risk for heart disease.
Heart rate is the number of heart beats counted over a 60 second period. This can be measured either at rest or at exercise. Heart rate allows us to assess a person’s cardiovascular fitness, as a decrease in resting heart rate over time due to training indicates an increased cardiovascular fitness level. Measuring a person’s heart rate can be done by taking the radial pulse. This can be found on the thumb side of the wrist with the palm facing upward. You count the number of times a pulse is felt over a 60 second time-period. An alternative is to count the number of pulses at 15 seconds and then multiply that number by 4 in order to count the full 60 seconds (“Taking Heart Rate Measurements”, 2018).
Blood pressure measurements are important to assess when a person’s systolic or diastolic pressures are raised beyond normal limits, thus having high blood pressure. The tools needed for this assessment are a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer.
To take the blood pressure reading, the arm should be supported on a table or chair. The inflatable cuff is wrapped around the upper arm, and a stethoscope is placed over the person’s brachial artery. As the cuff inflates with air, the arterial pulse can be heard while air is let out of the cuff. Systolic pressure is measured at the first audible pulse of the brachial artery. The sound then becomes louder, and then more muffled until it is no more. The moment when one is unable to hear the pulse is the diastolic pressure (“Taking Blood Pressure Measurements”, 2018).
Heart rate and blood pressure are common measurements when assessing a person’s vitals. I learned that low resting heart rates are a sign of high fitness levels. Based on my heart rate measurements of 79bpm, I am below average for men since this falls between the range of 74bpm to 81bpm (“Taking Heart Rate Measurements”, 2018). I was not that surprised with these results since I do know my cardiovascular health could be better.
It is also important to note that heart rate can be fickle, and can be affected by factors such as stress, nutrition, or caffeine. In regard to blood pressure, normal systolic blood pressure is below 120 and normal diastolic blood pressure is below 80 (“Taking Blood Pressure Measurements”, 2018). My values were recorded to be 119/78 which is normal. I know that my family has a history of hypertension, especially on my father’s side, so I must try to maintain my current blood pressure in order to not risk any cardiovascular health issues.Skinfold measurement is one a common method of measuring a person’s body fat percentage.
This is a measure of skinfold thickness at specific parts of the body. The tester pinches the skin at the site and pulls the fold of skin away from the body so only the skin and fat tissue are being held. Special skinfold calipers are then used to measure the skinfold thickness in millimeters. A common 3 site measurement for men include the pectoral, abdominal, and quadriceps regions to measure fat. These data are then inputted into a body composition calculator to reveal one’s body fat percentage (Quinn, 2018).
After my skinfold measurement, I entered my measurements into a body fat calculator, and I have 18.2% body fat which is average (“Body Composition”, 2018). I now know how to perform this skill on the areas that I had measures. I also realized how uncomfortable this test can be since the calipers do pinch the skin quite tightly.
The sit and reach test is used to measure a person’s flexibility, especially of the lower back and the hamstrings. All that is needed is a 30cm high box and a meter stick. To perform this test, the client should sit with their legs out straight and bare feet against the box, and head and back flat against a wall. The client is instructed to stretch their arms towards the box without their head and back losing contact from the wall. The ruler is placed at the end where the finger tips reach so that a zero point is established. Now, the client can lean forward as far as possible along the length of the ruler for a total of three times (“Sit and Reach Test”, 2018).
Flexibility has always been a weak component of mine. After performing the test, I was able to reach 18cm. For males, this falls between below average which ranges from 26.5 to 17cm (“Sit and Reach Test”, 2018). Whenever I try to stretch my hamstrings by trying to reach my toes, I could never get very far, and my legs would feel so tight and burn if I tried to reach further. I used to attend yoga classes years ago, and my flexibility was far greater than what it is to now. From this assessment, I learned that I should try to implement a few minutes of stretching each day to my morning routine.
The Overhead Squat Assessment (OHSA) helps to analyze the health of a client’s kinetic chain. An overhead squat utilizes all the musculature from head to toe when successfully complete, so it’s a good movement to help assess musculoskeletal function. Honest results are achieved when minimal instructions to the client are given. Coaching beyond basic protocols could skew the natural path the client’s body wants to take during the squat. The client should keep their hands straight up and squat as low as possible for about 15 repetitions. The trainer should then evaluate the clients from an anterior, lateral, and posterior view to catch any form of deviation. Few notable compensations include foot turn out, knee moving inward/outward, forward lead, low back arches/rounds, arms fall forward, forward head, shoulder elevation, foot flattens, heel rises, and asymmetrical weight shift (“The Overhead Squat Assessment”, 2015).
The OHSA is a very comprehensive assessment that can identify obscurities in one’s kinetic chain. When performing my assessment, a classmate noticed that I had some low back arch when viewed from the lateral direction, and my knees moved slightly inward when viewed from the anterior position. According to “The Overhead Squat Assessment” (2015), low back arch could be due to an overactive hip flexor complex of erector spinae. It could also be due to an underactive gluteus maximus, hamstrings, or intrinsic core muscles.
A few strengthening exercises that I could implement in my day are ball squats and floor bridges. An inward movement of the knee is said to be due to overactive adductor complex, tensor fascia latae, or vastus lateralis. Underactive muscles such as the vastus medialis, and medial hamstrings can contribute to inward movement of the knee during a squat. A few helpful strengthening exercises include a ball squat with abduction, and a ball bridge with adduction.
The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) is used to assess static postural stability, usually in populations with a concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, and vestibular disorders. This test requires a foam pad, a stopwatch, and assistant to help proctor, and a BESS score card. There are six conditions required for this test and should only take ten minutes to administer. The patient needs to assume a double leg stance with feet together, single leg stance on the non-dominant foot, and a tandem stance with the non-dominant foot in the back.
These conditions are all tested barefoot with the patient’s eyes closed for 20 seconds each, and on both a firm surface and a foam surface. These trials are scored by counting errors during these 20 seconds, with a maximum number of errors in a single condition being 10. Errors include moving hands off the iliac crest, a step, stumble, or fall, opening eyes, abduction or flexion of the hip beyond 30 degrees, lifting forefoot or heel off testing surface, and remaining out of the proper testing position for greater than 5 seconds. The number of errors in each trial are added together for a total score of 60. A lower score indicates better balance and less errors (“Balance Error Scoring System”, 2017).
The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is used to assess dynamic stability which helps to differentiate patients with lower limb conditions such as chronic ankle instability, patellofemoral pain, and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. It is also used as a screening tool for sport participation and as a post-rehabilitation test to ensure dynamic functional symmetry. This test requires tape, a measuring tape, test administrators, and a performance recording sheet. The set up includes two 120cm lengths of tape on the floor, intersecting in the middle, with two addition tapes placed at 45-degree angles to form an 8-pointed star. The athlete should remove footwear and stand at the center of the star.
Their hands should be placed firmly on the hips, and starting with the right foot to balance, reach the left leg as far as possibly to lightly touch the tape clock in all directions counter-clockwise. The administrator should mark the spot where the athlete touched on the line with their toe. This test should then be repeated for the same leg for a total of three time and then be performed again with the opposite leg. The averages of each direction should then be calculated for each direction, providing a total of 16 scores (“Star Excursion Balance Test”, 2018).
The Balance Error Scoring System and the Star Excursion Balance Test are both reliable assessments to measure static postural stability and dynamic stability. Since I don’t really have any vestibular problems, these balance tests were not that difficult. Aside from what these tests measure, I now learned how to administer these tests. This is beneficial for my future practice as a physical therapist when performing evaluations.
The Vertical Jump Test is used to assess lower limb power by measuring the height a client is able to jump. All that is needed for this test is measuring tape or a marked wall, and chalk for marking the wall. The client first stands next to a wall and reaches up with the arm closest to the wall. The point of the fingertip is marked, and this is called the standing reach. The person then puts chalk on their finger to mark the height of their jump. Then they stand away from the wall to jump vertically as high as possible, while using both arms to propel the body upward. The client should try to touch the wall at the highest point of the jump, and the distance between the standing reach height and the jump height is the score. The best of three attempts is then recorded (“Vertical Jump Test”, 2018).
My score for the vertical jump test was only 42cm and falls under poo average which ranges from 41-50cm. This shows me that I need to work more on the strength of my lower limbs, especially the calves and hamstrings since they produce the most explosive power. I also learned that when performing this test, one needs to make sure to mark the wall at exactly the highest point of their jump. This can be difficult since the person might be focusing more on their ability to jump while also remembering to mark their height that is reached precisely.
The T-Test helps to assess the agility of athletes through forward, lateral, and backward running. The equipment needed for this test included a tape measure, cones, and a stopwatch. One cone (cone A) is placed to designate the start/finish line. The second cone (cone B) is place 10 yards directly in front of the first cone, and the other cones (cones C + D) are placed 5 yards to the left and right of the second cone, forming a “T”. The subject starts at cone A and sprints to cone B. The then turn left and shuffles sideways to cone C, without crossing one foot in front of the other. Then they shuffle right to cone D and back to the center of cone B.
Lastly, the subject runs backwards to cone A, then the stopwatch is stopped once they pass cone A. This test is repeated three times and the best score is recorded (Wood, 2008) The Hexagon Agility Test is used to assess the ability to move quickly while maintaining balance. The equipment required for this test include a tape measure, tape for marking the ground, and a stopwatch. Tape is used to mark a hexagon on the ground with the length of each side being 66cm. The participant stands at the middle of the hexagon and faces that one direction throughout the entire test. They then jump over the one line then back to the center of the hexagon. This test is completed once the participant jumps in and out over each of the lines once. If the athlete jumps over the wrong line, the test is to be restarted (Mackenzie, 2018)
Testing agility can be done by the T-test and the Hexagon Agility Test. Just like the BESS and SEBT, these were additional tests that I have learned and am now knowledgeable to administer. When I performed these assessments, I realized how much coordination these requires between the mind and lower extremity muscles. My speed during these tests were about average. During the T-test, I learned that it was possible.
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