Fitness and Exercise Evaluation and Prescription

Physical therapists commonly provide fitness evaluations and individualized exercise prescriptions for their patients and clients. Exercise prescriptions—or plans—are tailored to each individual’s needs and abilities. Almost anyone can safely exercise; however, many people—especially those with conditions that may limit their ability to exercise—would benefit from consulting with a musculoskeletal expert as they embark on their fitness journey. A professional fitness assessment will establish a baseline from which a client can determine his or her goals for improvement as well as identify the types of exercises that the client can safely perform. This evaluation may involve measuring a person’s blood pressure, heart rate, strength, flexibility, body composition, cardiovascular health and endurance, exercise history, and fitness goals and interests. Following the evaluation, the therapist will build a custom program featuring the appropriate exercise type (e.g., cardio or strength training), frequency, duration, and intensity. This plan may also include modifications based on individual limitations or needs. Patients may be encouraged to keep personal exercise logs, as feedback is important in a patient’s fitness development and progression. Over the course of a patient’s exercise program, his or her therapist will likely continue to conduct tests to ensure that the patient is on track to meet his or her goals.