Year of Publication

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Public Health

Department

Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Terry R. Malone

Second Advisor

Lori S. Gonzalez

Abstract

Activity and fitness levels decline through the years from 30 to 60 years of age. Minimal research is available regarding functional assessment tools in this population. Reliable functional tools are needed to reintroduce individuals to appropriate physical activity levels following an injury and to maintain high levels of participation through their lifespan. The purposes of this study were multiple: 1) determine if three functional tests correspond with neuromotor fitness levels, 2) establish a model of functional tests, activity levels and descriptive data that distinguishes the most from the least fit, 3) describe expected mean functional test performances, and 4) demonstrate the reliability of the three functional tests in a sample of 30-60 year olds. 63 females and 38 males completed activity surveys, a neuromotor fitness test, the star excursion balance test (SEBT), the four square step test (FSST), and the Biering-Sorensen test of trunk extensor muscle endurance. Moderate to high reliability of the functional tests was determined with 29 subjects. The SEBT (r=.97), FSST (r=.88) and the Biering-Sorensen test (r=.64) were reliable. All functional tests were able to distinguish between the most fit and least fit with regards to the fitness tests. A model of the body mass index and the FSST predicted 25% of the variance in fitness level. Functional test means are reported by 10-year age groups and represent expected performance values.Health care professionals can use this information to compare their patients to this group of healthy individuals. This will allow them to have some idea of how well a person with an injury is performing relative to a healthy individual. Additionally the combination of a persons BMI plus their FSST gives the health care professional some information about an individual level of neuromuscular fitness so that the health care professional can guide their patients toward an appropriate level of physical activity after their injury or illness.

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