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Continuum of physical function


Physical activity
= daily activities that increase energy expenditure, such as gardening, walking, raking leaves, playing golf, housework, washing car.

Exercise = physical activity with the intention of developing physical fitness, such as strength, cardiovascular or flexibility exercise, challenging walking, pre- or post-rehabilitation exercise.


Functional levels


ICAA's Continuum of physical function IS adapted from the work of Waneen Spirduso, EdD (Physical Dimensions of Aging, Human Kinetics)

Athlete

Fitness: Exercises or participates in sports activity almost every day or works at a physically demanding job.

Goals: Maintain or improve fitness level.

Needs: Exercise that builds physical reserves and provides conditioning for improving performance in competition or in strenuous vocational and/or recreational activities.

Program: General conditioning in muscular strength, endurance and flexibility; agility; cardiovascular endurance. Sport- or activity-specific conditioning.

Active now

Fitness: Exercises at least twice a week and engages in physical activity most days of the week.

Goals: Maintain or improve fitness level; manage weight; improve conditions such as osteoarthritis or diabetes.

Needs: Exercise that helps build physical reserves and maintain the level of fitness to live an active, independent lifestyle.

Program: Concentrate on muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, joint range of motion, balance, coordination, agility and cardiovascular endurance.

Getting started

Fitness: Engages in physical activity at least three days a week.

Goals: To live independently; manage weight; improve conditions such as arthritis or diabetes.

Needs: Exercise that helps improve physical function and develops fitness and health reserves.

Program: Focus on increasing and building reserve in muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, joint range of motion, balance, coordination and cardiovascular endurance.

Needs a little help

Fitness: Engages in physical activity three or fewer times per week. May have medical conditions and movement limitations

Goals: Regain strength and balance; improve function and mobility: improve medical conditions.

Needs: Movement that helps maintain or improve physical function for basic self-care (Basic Activities of Daily Living), such as strength, range of motion, balance and coordination.

Program: Improve hand strength and agility, arm strength, shoulder and hip range of motion, quadriceps and shin muscles strength, and ankle strength and range of motion.

Needs ongoing assistance

Fitness: Does not engage in physical activity.

Goals: Improve ability to perform activities of daily living.

Needs: Movement that helps maintain or improve physical function for basic self-care, including self-feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring and walking.

Program: Concentrate on activities that improve strength, range of motion, balance and coordination.

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