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Functional Movement: Your Fitness Base

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Functional Movement: Your Fitness Base

Can you bend down to tie your shoe without any trouble? What about reaching for that box of cereal on the top shelf of the pantry? Both of these sound like simple tasks, but they are, in fact, indicators of your overall functional movement.

Cooper Aerobics has always been focused on testing and assessing health based on data and research. Body composition, weight and fitness have always been prominent topics within Cooper Fitness Center, and functional movement has also become top of mind for clients. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) has been adopted by Cooper Fitness Center as a way to study basic movement patterns with a goal of improving overall fitness.

Carla Sottovia, PhD, Director of Fitness and Personal Training Education at Cooper Fitness Center, is a Master Instructor for FMS and understands the importance of movement and fitness, especially throughout the aging process. “For sedentary and aging populations, the first thing that is lost is mobility, or the ability for joints to move well,” says Carla. “It becomes difficult for these people to tie their shoes, sit in chairs and perform basic movement patterns such as squatting, lunging and reaching.”

FMS is comprised of seven simple movement pattern tests designed to screen a person’s overall mobility and stability including squatting, lunging and reaching – Carla demonstrates a few of these movements here. The screen is conducted by a certified FMS professional who observes and measures the movements and scores the individual based on set criteria. Each movement is worth three points, so a perfect score would total 21. A score of around 14 or below indicates a greater risk for injury.

The system is used as an entry point for physical activity. “If you are starting a new exercise program or recovering from an injury, FMS is a great indicator of your body’s status,” explains Carla. Movement can often be altered due to injury, in which case the body and brain have to be retrained to perform basic movements correctly.

If FMS denotes a movement that needs to be refined, an overall corrective strategy is put into place. This correction will be specific to the poorly performed pattern and will focus on mobility exercise (how well you can move joints) as well as stability (motor control) and an integration movement. For example, if a person scores poorly while performing a squat during FMS, he or she would be tasked with focusing on that movement in particular in order to correct it. With focus and practice, the abnormal movement should be corrected in about two weeks, notes Carla.

“You have to have a good base of movement before you can add any sort of load to it,” says Carla. “Exercise isn’t all about adding intensity and load. To avoid injury, it’s important to establish a good base of movement first. We want people to move better, move well and move often – that is what FMS and Cooper Fitness Center is all about.”

The key to longevity, besides being generally healthy and following Dr. Cooper’s eight steps to Get Cooperized, is to simply keep moving. “Dr. Cooper’s message is to stay physically active throughout the aging process, and he is a prime example of the importance of movement,” says Carla. “Cooper Fitness Center members prove this every day – most of them do not look anything close to their actual age because they have never stopped moving and continue to stay active every day.”

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center’s functional movement screening, visit or call 972.233.4832.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.