Fitness trends may come and go, but recently I read an article that Hollywood elites like Jennifer Aniston, and world-class athletes like Serena Williams, have figured out something we at the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic have practiced for years: apparently healthy adults can improve their health and fitness by using physical therapy wellness.  Here is why you too should workout like the stars!

The Apparently Healthy Adult

Physical Therapy Wellness approach

“Apparently healthy adult” is a fitness industry term that, according to the American Council on Exercise, is an individual who is between 18 and 65 years of age and does not have symptoms or activity restrictions from any physical condition.  Not the typical person we see in our clinic; however, many Hollywood headliners are seeing rehabilitation professionals to complement their workout programs so they stay healthy and fit.  Although most of our clients are not professional dancers or performers, many are stuck for long hours in meetings, on a plane or in an office managing stressful tasks.  In fact, this makes them just as susceptible to a health condition as if they were on stage seven days a week.

Benefits of a Physical Therapy Wellness Approach

A physical therapy wellness approach goes beyond just having the occasional steam bath.  It is a monitored, progressive and integrated approach to managing health risk factors which looks at lifestyle factors that can be addressed to prevent a possibly devastating health condition in your future.  In addition to helping you reduce your chance of developing chronic illness or injury, additional benefits of this approach include:

  • faster fitness gains,
  • avoiding plateaus in performance,
  • decreasing risk of physical injuries
  • even lowering your general stress level

One reason this approach is so effective is that it is tailored to individual physical needs and activity goals, which means that different tools must be used to make the complete assessment worthwhile.  Contemporary fitness tests used by many trainers in even the best gyms and sport medicine centres are often not very good at identifying the risk potential for an injury (see here).

Testing to Prevent Injury and Improve Performance

For many years the research in kinesiology has shown that fitness tests for strength, stamina and even core stability are unable to reliably indicate risk factors for a future injury and do not predict improved performance. Part of the reason they don’t work is that a single test is often applied across all people, regardless of age, health status, or athletic ability.  This general approach makes them ineffective in measuring subtle changes in your fitness that are strongly related to your history of injury.  A 2016 article in The British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that current popular fitness screens do not to show a relationship between their scores and the risk of sustaining a future injury.

Our Approach

At the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic, our approach combines evidence-based findings from research in physical therapy and kinesiology to help find functional problems before they cause pain.  We identify areas for improvement in your program and help keep you on track toward your personal health and fitness goals.

Each profession in the team specializes in a different area to provide the greatest benefit to your program.  If you are experiencing continuous  or intermittent pain, at rest or during daily activities, you will typically benefit by seeing a physiotherapist first.  We recommend you start with a registered kinesiologist or therapeutic fitness professionals if you:

  • only feel pain during your fitness or sports activities
  • have a past history of injury
  • are having difficulty progressing your fitness as a result of a past health condition

What to Expect From Your Physical Therapy Wellness Assessment

After your initial assessment, your rehabilitation professional will discuss the test results with you and explain what they mean to your current and future health status.  This will help determine your prognosis for returning to any activities you may have been avoiding.  For example, we may use different balance tests (based on your activity level, health history and age) to determine your risk of falling.  We also often incorporate dynamometry (an objective tool used to measure muscle strength), joint mobility and movement tests to give us a more accurate and detailed examination of any weaknesses and restrictions that may not have been identified in less specific assessment protocols.  By comparing these results against norms for your age-group and known risk factors for injury, we can determine the best approach to your fitness.


Follow-up appointments are important to help you see results as soon as possible.  These appointments include consistent re-evaluation and modification of your program to make sure you maximize your recovery or maintain your healthy condition.  Our expertise and experience helps us provide solutions and create a program suited to a wide number of fitness goals.  We have worked to provide programs for Olympic athletes, chronic pain and post-surgical patients.  Our goal is to help you feel, move and look your best!

To learn more about how we might be able to help you please contact John Gray, RKin at    If you would like to develop a healthy workout program call us at 416-925-4687 to book an appointment with John Gray or Claire Curtis.