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PTA Blog Talk

Parkour in the Gym

Published April 28, 2011 4:03 PM by Jason Marketti

I enjoy challenging patients to their highest potential and will often set up an obstacle course where they have to step over several objects, traverse a floor mat, go up stairs or do some other replicated activity that is particular to their environment. I also instruct them in fall recovery if they do end up on the floor. This seems like the most dreaded of all activities I have them do. Getting on the floor and getting back up seems easy enough until they are actually trying to get on the floor.

When patients have to scoot to the edge of a mat or edge of their chair and look down at the floor, it becomes a task some have refused. I can't blame them; who wants to get on the floor if you don't have to? Those who do attempt it, I applaud them because getting back up seems to be where they use the most energy despite my instructions of energy conservation and efficiency.

When I take the patients outside, I will have them do the ramp and curbs. But what I would really like to challenge them with is a "fall" in the grass, followed by trying to get back up and walk the 30 to 50 feet it would take them to get back into their house. Some things, like a fall in the bathroom, are really hard to replicate but I think the challenge would be intriguing for some patients.

Fortunately we don't work on falls but at prevention of falls and ways to avoid being on the gym floor listening to me. I recently had a patient who I wanted to say, "I told you so" to but didn't. The person fell after refusing therapy specifically for fall prevention. Not sure if he will reconsider but I hope so.


We see this a lot in our falls clinic! For people who have fallen, we find a huge fear of being on the floor. I suspect it has a lot to do with fear of not being able to get up (no matter what we say or do), looking foolish, and/or revisiting a scary memory. We always make sure there are no other patients in the gym when we attempt it, that there are at least 2 people to assist them back up, and that the patient actually has the strength and flexibility to perform the task, of course. Some still won't do it, that's OK. We'll still do everything we can to make sure they never wind up in that position unintentionally.

Dean Metz April 28, 2011 1:51 PM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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