Strong evidence suggests that movement is a valuable predictor of future health and resilience against disease. If your goal is to live a longer, healthier life, seeing a PT makes sense, given their expertise in human movement. Here are some examples of the predictive power of movement:
Gait VelocityGait velocity is how fast you walk. If your typical walking speed is over 1 m/s or 3.3 ft/s, you're likely able to complete typical daily activities independently. You're also less likely to be hospitalized or to have an adverse event like a fall.
To test yourself, measure out a straight, flat course to walk between 10' and 30' long. You'll also need 5' or so at the beginning and the end for acceleration and deceleration. Walk the course at your typical speed and divide the length of the course by how long you took to complete it (distance/time). That's your gait velocity.
Get On and Off the FloorAnother series of studies suggest that if you can go from standing to sitting on the floor, then back to standing without using your hands, you're a lot less likely to die than someone who can't. It's called the sitting-rising test. Here's how it works:
You start standing and without support you sit down on the floor, then stand back up. You start with a score of 10. Every time you put a hand, knee, forearm or the side of your leg on the floor you lose 1 point. Putting a hand on your knee or thigh to help also costs a point. In a sample of over 2,000 people, they found that scoring less than 8 points made you twice as likely to die in the next 6 years when compared to people who scored higher. Score 3 or less and you're 5 times more likely to die in the same period. Overall, each point in the test is worth a 21% decrease in mortality from all causes.
Notice that both gait velocity and the sitting-rising test aren't specific. The risk of hospitalization in the gait velocity studies was for any reason. Death in the sitting-rising studies was death from anything. So while we know that exercise and a healthy lifestyle reduce your risk of specific diseases like heart disease or diabetes, it appears that being able to move well provides more wide ranging protection than we thought.