What is a health assessment, you may ask. Well, a health assessment is a series of tests that spas, gyms, and even personal trainers will do with a client before they schedule them on a diet and/or fitness plan. These tests the health care professional to find out how active the patient currently is, what health risks they may have and their health history and gets all of the statistics of the patient’s current physical shape, like weight, BMI (body mass index) and the like.
A health assessment is an important step in the beginning of a new fitness routine. If someone is just getting ready to start to exercise this assessment will tell the coach or trainer where that person needs to start out at, obviously someone with no experience would start out on a slow track. It will also tell if the patient has any heart conditions or other health issues that may make it difficult for them to do certain things, like use a treadmill or run on the track.
The main health assessment that is usually used is the PAR-Q & You, which is a questionnaire that is given to people when they are planning to start a physical activity routine. All reputable gyms will have some form of this test, albeit under a different name. The questions range from whether or not this routine has been discussed with and recommended by a doctor and if there are any health risks involved, like previous bouts of chest pain, or joint problems. It is just a basic questionnaire that lets the coach or trainer know if this person can perform physical activities without it being a major health risk.
There are other types of health assessments which include the Cardiorespiratory Assessments and Flexibility Assessments. The Cardiorespiratory Assessments determine how fast the heart beats at different intervals of exercise, letting a patient know what is too little, enough, or too much for them to handle when it comes to their fitness routine. There are three different basic tests that can be done for this; the Rockport Fitness Walking Test, the Cooper’s 1.5-mile Run/Walk Test and the YMCA Step Test.
Flexibility is very important because a person must be able to move correctly if they want to refrain from getting injuries that were easily preventable . These tests help to find out how flexible an individual is in order to suit their exercise routine to their individual status, and it includes taking into account a persons age also. The older a person is the less flexible their body becomes. The same with weight. The heavier a person is the less flexible their body will be, to start out with. The two basic flexibility tests are the Sit-and-Reach Test and the Shoulder Flexibility Test. The Sit-and-Reach test has a person sitting on the floor with their legs out in front of them and they must reach their fingers to their toes. The farther they can get to grabbing their toes the more flexible they are. The Shoulder flexibility test has the person in a chair and they reach one arm over their shoulder and the other one under and they grasp their hands together in the center of their back. This one is done with both sides and the better they can grasp your hands the more flexible they are.
Even when starting a fitness routine on your own at home it is good to look into some of these tests to make sure you are starting yourself off on the right track and to help prevent any injuries.
Thygerson, A. (2006). Fit To Be Well and Lab Manual to Accompany Fit To Be Well.