What is the TUG Test?
The Timed Up and Go (TUG) Test is often used by Physical Therapists to measure a client’s level of functional mobility, which simply means one’s ability to move about safely in their normal environment. The test is relatively quick and simple, and can be used to roughly estimate your current level of balance and potential risk of falling. I highly recommend scheduling an appointment with a Physical Therapist if you are concerned at all about your own balance or the balance of a loved one, as the TUG test may or may not be appropriate in each case and there are many additional types of evaluation that can be done to more accurately assess balance and potential risk of falls.
What to expect: Physical Therapists are specifically trained to thoroughly and safely evaluate your strength, flexibility and balance, and to help you better understand your current level of fitness and functional mobility. The TUG test may be a small part of what your therapist does with you during your evaluation, and is simply performed using a chair and a stopwatch. We measure the length of time it takes for a client to rise from a sitting position in the chair, walk three meters, turn around, return to the chair and sit down. A score of 13.5 seconds or less tends to be related to better functional performance and a lower risk of falls.
What’s next: Your Physical Therapist will make recommendations for how you can improve your strength, flexibility and balance. This may include additional Physical Therapy, suggestions for group classes or other resources available in your community, or exercises you can do at home. We want to design programming with your unique needs and goals in mind, and we want your program to be something you will enjoy and actually do consistently. Occasionally check in with your Physical Therapist to be re-evaluated and update your programming to keep it fresh and effective.
Healthy strength, flexibility and balance are imperative for maintaining your safety and independence as you age. There are natural declines in our bodies as we age, but we can work to slow this process and stay as active as possible for as long as possible. It takes a little work each day, and in my opinion it’s well worth it!
~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach