Movement Vital Signs and Physical Therapy

What do you think of when you think Vital Signs ? Heart Rate ? Yes! Blood Pressure? Yes – of course! What about your MOVEMENT VITAL SIGNS?

HOW YOU MOVE is also a vital sign itself! 

Researchers note that moving properly is important for overall health and can often predict future health risk. So – what are some of these Movement Vital Sign numbers you ask? Well here they are!

Walking Speed

What is it: Also known as the 6th Vital sign. Easy to measure, and encompasses Strength, Balance, Coordination, Confidence, Cardiovascular Fitness, Tolerance to Activity, and others.

Orthocare Physical Therapy Center Walking Speed

How to measure: Just walk at your normal pace and time yourself  How fast do you normally walk?

What the Research says: Can predict risk of future hospitalizations, functional decline, and overall mortality.

What to look for: ~ 5-7 seconds for a 4 meter walk : 1.2 to 1.4 meters/ second is considered normal

Push Ups

What is it: Push Ups are popular exercises to build strength.

How to measure: Lie on the floor facing down flat Keep hands to the side facing down and push up with your arms at the side. How many consecutive push-ups can you do?  


What to look for: If you can do more than 40 consecutive push-ups – great ! If you do cannot complete 10 consecutive push-ups – talk to us!

What the Research says: Men who could do 40 or more consecutive push-ups had a 96% lower risk for cardiovascular disease than were men who could do less than 10.

Standing From the Floor

What is it: Asking you to sit down and then stand up from the floor

How to measure: Go from standing to sitting on the floor and back up with as little support as needed


What to look for:  If you cannot easily get down on the floor and back up or use more  than 1 hand – talk to us!

What the Research says: People who needed to use more than 1 hand to get up and down from the floor had 2- 5 times greater mortality rates in the following 7 years than those who did it with just 1 hand, or even better, no hands at all.

Clearly, there are many other tests that are Movement Vital Signs, but the above tests are a good starting point!

If you’re having trouble with any of them, consider seeing your Physical Therapist at Orthocare Physical Therapy Center!

We will take a 1-on-1 approach and create an individualized plan to address your movement concerns in a caring and affectionate manner.

Call us today at 703-310-7610 or email to schedule your appointment.


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