14 November 2014 by Neil Boston
Where can I take one?
These MOT’s are designed for people 60 or over, though those 50 or over can also take part. Saturn Fitness and Wellness has been appointed by GO Active (Get Oxfordshire Active) as a centre to undertake these MOT’s. The great news is that they are free, there is lots of scope for arranging them at a time to suit you and you could learn some information which could benefit your quality of life and how long you live. What are you waiting for?
What would I have to do?
We will take you through a variety of measurements and tests that will give you an indication of various aspects of your fitness. Each test comes with a set of “normal values” for people of different ages and this will give you an idea of whether you are “doing well” compared to your peers, or whether you could benefit from being more active.
What are the tests?
In all, there are 7 tests; they are as follows:
1. 30 Seconds Chair Stand
The 30 seconds chair stand measures lower limb strength, which is needed to climb stairs, walk distances, get out of a chair, a bath or car, or rise from lying down. Lower body strength also helps reduce the risk of balance problems and falls. The test is normally performed with your arms folded and we record how many times you are able to get from sitting in the chair to standing and then back to sitting sit down again in the time allowed.
2. Chair Sit and Reach
The chair sit-and-reach is an overall measure of lower-body flexibility, which is important for posture and for mobility activities like walking and climbing stairs. Lower body flexibility can also help prevent lower-back pain and musculoskeletal injuries. We will measure how far you can reach your hands towards your feet while in a sitting position.
3. Back Scratch
The back scratch measures upper body and shoulder flexibility, which is necessary for several everyday tasks, such as combing or washing your hair, zipping a dress, putting on an over the head garment or reaching for a seat belt. Keeping the shoulders flexible also helps reduce pain and stiffness. We will measure how close together you can get your hands while reaching behind your back.
4. 8 Feet Up-and-Go
The 8 feet timed up-and-go measures both motor ability and dynamic balance, which are important for a number of common mobility tasks, such as recovering after tripping, manoeuvring in a crowd, being able to walk across the street before the signal lights turns red and a variety of recreational and sports activities. We will measure how long it takes you to get up from a seated position, walking to a marker 8 feet away, walking back to the chair and sitting down again. We will also record whether you used a walking aid.
5. Handgrip Strength
You need good handgrip strength to be able to hold on tight on the bus, to open jars and taps and of course, to carry heavy shopping bags. We will use a piece of equipment called a dynamometer to measure your grip strength and you are able to choose which hand you wish to use for this measurement. If you wish, you can have a go with both hands.
6. Single Leg Stance
Balance is important so that you can correct a trip, reach for things in high cupboards and generally maintain your independence. For this test, we will ask you to stand on one leg for as long as you can without losing your balance. You choose which leg to balance on and if you reach 45 seconds, we will stop the test. If not, we will record how long it was before you lost your balance.
7. Six Minutes Walk
The six minutes walk measures your aerobic endurance, which is needed to perform a variety of activities, including walking, shopping, completing household chores and participating in sports and recreational activities without undue fatigue. We will measure how many metres you can walk in a six minute period and record whether you used a walking aid.
What measurements will be taken?
We will measure your height and ask you to weigh yourself. You do not have to tell us your weight if you don’t wish to.
What will you do with my test results and measurements?
This is the really interesting part; we will record your ability on each of the above tests and compare your results to other people of the same age and gender as you. Each test has its own graph which has two grey lines on it – these are the upper and lower limits of “normal” across the age range 60-95 years. If your score (marked with an X on the graph) is within the two grey lines then you are in the normal range for that test for your age. If your X is below these two lines then your performance is below average and if your X is above the two lines then your performance is above average. You may have a medical condition or other reason for your performance not being average and we encourage you to tell the person doing this test with you if this is the case.
Recording your physical activity:
We also ask you to complete a record of your typical weekly physical activity. Physical Activity Guidelines for Older People state that for maintenance of health and independence, they should:
1. Do activities that leave them slightly warmer or make them breathe slightly harder than normal for at least 150 minutes (could be 5 × 30 mins, or in shorter more regular bouts) a week.
2. Do activities that challenge and help improve their strength at least twice a week.
3. Do activities that challenge and help improve their balance at least twice a week.
4. Do activities that help maintain or improve their range of movement (flexibility) daily.
What feedback will I get?
We will consider all of the information we have gathered, test results, measurements and your record of typical weekly physical activity. We will tell you a number of things:
Whether you meet the physical activity guidelines?
If your test results fall within the normal range for your age and gender.
If your measurements are in the normal level for your age and gender.
For any areas in which you are not within the normal range, in other words, it would be beneficial if you can make improvements, we will suggest some actions you can take to help you to do so. This includes considering any medical conditions you may have that might mean we suggest certain activities over others. If there are any components of fitness where your test results are below the average of your peers, we will suggest activities to improve these. When working out an action plan it is always best to try to set short term achievable goals.
Is there anything else?
Yes, we give you all of your results and measurements and your improvement action plan to take home with you. Also, you will receive useful information about physical activity and exercise available locally and online.
Finally, you can contact us at any time after your MOT to ask any questions or look for further advice. All of this and it doesn’t cost you a penny.