Functional Fitness, Life Stress, and Transitions Across the Life Span

  • John Nyland
  • James D. Abbott


Function refers to activities identified by a client as being essential to support physical, social, and psychological wellbeing and to create a personal sense of a meaningful life (Physical Therapist Guide to Practice 2000; Brody 2002). Maintaining functional fitness across the lifespan is essential both to independent living and to the overall quality of life. Functional fitness is the presence of adequate cognitive, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and integumentary system function to enable participation in activities of daily living considered to be vital to one’s quality of life (Nyland 2007).

The goals of rehabilitation generally focus on returning a client to functional activities such as those associated with their vocation, daily activities, sports, or recreational pursuits. Functional rehabilitation and conditioning relies on exercise activities to simulate the weight-bearing and nonweight-bearing components of daily activities in a manner that replicates three-dimensional function within joint ranges and velocities that facilitate the desired physiological responses (Nyland et al. 2005) (Fig. 30-1). With activation of large lower extremity muscle groups creating movement across the hip, knee, and ankle joint, clients can positively influence cognitive, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary, musculoskeletal, vestibular, and integumentary system function throughout the lifespan (American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand 1998).


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Eccentric Exercise Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty Health Information Exchange National Football League 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Nyland
    • 1
  • James D. Abbott
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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