total FF MOT at Home professionals trained


To provide professionals with a functional fitness toolkit and the knowledge and skills to educate and discuss components of fitness and the UK Physical Activity Guidelines with people aged 50 – 90 so they can motivate themselves to reduce their sitting time, be more active and maintain their functional fitness into later life.

The Functional Fitness MOT (FF MOT) was designed by Professor Dawn Skelton and Bob Laventure for the Glasgow Science Festival in 2011, as a science learning event for older people accompanying their grandchildren to the festival. Over 60 older adults took part in two subsequent events, one at Glasgow Caledonian University and one in the Govan Shopping Centre. A further large-scale FF MOT event was then run during the World Congress on Active Ageing at the SECC, Glasgow attended by over 300 older people during the week-long event. The FF MOT was then run by Glasgow Caledonian University with a local Renfrewshire charity – ROAR Connections for Life.

Based on the training offered to Glasgow Caledonian Students and staff for these previous events, in 2013 a professional FF MOT training day was offered through the former BHF National Centre for Physical Activity and Health at Loughborough University. In four years, over 30 training days reached in excess of over 750 professionals as well as 5 Physiotherapy Specific training days reaching over 125 physiotherapists through the CSP Special Interest Group for Older People AGILE.

The original Functional Fitness MOT was designed to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and functional fitness for people aged 60 – 90 and originally used by local professionals as an educational and promotional tool in a variety of public facing settings including leisure centres, shopping precincts, community centres, supported living settings and physiotherapy settings. It includes activities such as the chair sit and reach, the 30 second chair rise, handgrip strength assessment, together with educational and motivational conversations.

From February 2017, Later Life Training then continued the face to face FF MOT training until December 2019 and reached an additional 450 professionals

2021 Onwards – Functional Fitness MOT at Home

In the Spring of 2020, face to face courses ceased due to the Covid 19 Pandemic and Later Life Training took the decision to transfer the Functional Fitness MOT training to their online learning portal under the title of the Functional Fitness MOT at Home. Although the overall educational purpose of this online training remains the same, the FF MOT at Home course provided the opportunity for professionals to reach participants remotely with advice and guidance on functional fitness, wellbeing and physical activity as an alternative approach to delivering FF MOT activities to older people including new materials, strategies and activities for people in their own homes.

NB As of January 2024, the Functional Fitness at Home CPD Course is no longer available, but the FF MOT at Home Tools are included in all Face to Face CPD Training

Other training collaboration

During this time, LLT has also worked in partnership with the following organisations to deliver bespoke FF MOT training to enhance their programme development:

  • Sporting Memories
  • Paths for All (Scotland) training for Walk Leaders
  • Agile (CSP Special Interest Group working with older people)
  • Care About Physical Activity (Care Inspectorate Scotland) face to face and on-line education modules
  • Age Scotland
  • The English Football League Extra Time programme (Club coordinators)
  • Chest Heart and Stoke Association Scotland
  • A number of UK universities to enhance practical learning in exercise and sports sciences, leisure and recreation and physiotherapy
International impact

The Functional Fitness MOT training has also been delivered to organisations in Greece, West Virginia (USA), Canada (British Columbia and Alberta) and Taiwan.

The return to face-to-face training

From January 2024, as restrictions on in-person meetings and training are relaxed Later Life Training will continue to offer the Face to Face training but discontinue the At Home training.

Who can use the Functional Fitness MOT?

The FF MOT CPD course has been designed for use by those who for the sake of simplicity, can be described as a Functional Fitness Coordinators. A number of professionals will be in an ideal position to use the FF MOT tool including:

  • Health and Wellbeing or Physical Activity coordinators.
  • Active Ageing professionals.
  • Adult and Social Care and Housing Support professionals.
  • Exercise teachers and instructors.
  • Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.

The following may also be relevant:

CIMSPA defined Occupations and Job Roles Working with the following Population specialisms
Manager Older Adults
Senior Coach, Coach Inactive People
Group Exercise Instructor Community Environments
Gym Instructor People with Long term Conditions
Personal Trainer

NB. Later Life Training advise that whilst Volunteers, Coaching Assistant or therapy assistants could deliver components of the FF MOT at Home programme, it would not be appropriate for them to undertake a coordination role.


The Functional Fitness MOT CPD Course has been devised to educate a range of professionals on the importance of Functional Fitness in later life, a relatively new approach to fitness, health, physical activity and exercise.

This approach was highlighted in the 2011 and 2019 UK CMO Guidelines on Physical Activity and Health for Older Adults 65+ which introduced and highlighted the importance of the strength and balance components of fitness. Since them there has been no sustained and coordinated promotion of these guidelines leading to confusion amongst professionals and a lack of knowledge amongst the older population.

Consequently, the FF MOT course was designed to disseminate the content of these guidelines to professionals and provide them with an interactive and educational tool to use with older populations on the importance of functional fitness.

Course objectives and learning outcomes

By the end of the FF MOT course activities participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of Functional Fitness and appropriate Messaging for fellow professionals and the older populations they work with
  • Describe the main features of the Functional Fitness MOT and how it can be used in a variety of settings.
  • Know how the Functional Fitness MOT could be used to enhance and support local services, activities and older populations
  • Highlight and anticipate their next steps and actions.

Course content

The CPD training includes a small amount of pre-course on-line learning (4 hours) and a one-day face to face training course.

Content includes:

  • The 2019 UK CMO Guidelines on Physical Activity and Health for Older People (65+)
  • The importance of Functional Fitness to older people and local services
  • The Functional Fitness Assessment Tools and their use in practice
  • Communicating and sharing FF MOT assessment results to initiate conversations with participants and signposting towards local opportunities
  • Taking the first steps towards a behavioural change conversation and intervention
  • Appropriate physical activity messaging with older people.
Part 1.  (Online) Planning your FF MOT Programme and assessments – includes:
  • The importance of functional fitness in later life
  • The components of functional fitness including strength and balance
  • The purpose of the Functional Fitness MOT at Home
  • Opportunities for physical activity
Part 2. (Face to face) Practical implementation of the assessments – includes:
  • Functional Fitness assessments at Home
  • Having the Conversation – How did I do? – sharing results
  • Having the Conversation – What can I do now?
  • Barriers and facilitators to action
Part 3. (Face to face) Post-assessment, supporting people to change and applications – includes:
  • Initiating behavioural change conversation and supporting people to change over time
  • Case studies across services and settings
  • Applications to your role
Learning hours required

The pre-course learning is delivered through the Later Life Training online e-learning portal and learners will be able to access via interactive and self-directed individual learning tasks. These activities will be supported by a course tutor, spread over a period of 4 weeks.

The face to face CPD day is 7.5 hours of learning involving individual, paired and group learning

The FF MOT assessment tool

A new FF MOT Assessment Tool has been devised containing 9 FF MOT assessment activities, (involving strength, balance, flexibility and endurance) and a physical activity questionnaire used as a means of initiating conversations between the participant and the coordinator.

NB Self-assessment is unlikely to be sufficiently accurate to permit robust assessments and be used as pre-post physical activity outcome measurement or evaluation. This would require additional planning. They retain their principal use as awareness raising, educational and motivational tools.

Those attending the FF MOT course are provided with the FF MOT Assessment Tool as a download document which can be customised to enable local information (contact details, information on how to be active and local identity) to be added.

Participants will be provided with:

  • A hard copy of the course manual summarising learning from the course including planning FF MOT programmes and activities.
  • A copy of the FF MOT at Home assessment Tool
  • A Personal Implementation Plan, designed to record learning and issues critical to the local implementation of local FF MOT at Home programmes
  • These and other course resources (including PowerPoint materials) are provided as downloads from the Later Life Training portal for post course use

Participants are provided with access to course resources and tutor support for a period of 3 months after the Face to Face learning

There is no formal assessment of learning for the FF MOT CPD course. Participants will be asked to undertake a number of brief Multiple Choice Questions and learning checks throughout the course.

Participants will also be given the opportunity to consider how the course can be applied to their own workplace or setting and asked to undertake personal and professional reflection on their current practice using a Personal Implementation Plan (PIP).

Following the submission of the MCQ learning checks and their Personal Implementation Plan, participants will be issued with a downloadable certificate of completion.

The Functional Fitness MOT course is endorsed by CIMSPA and has been awarded a total of 3 CPD points.

20 New ideas from UK Universities that will change the world

The theme of Universities week (June 9th–14th 2014) was Ideas for Life and the relevance of university research and its everyday impact on our lives. To this end, a survey commissioned for the annual event, which was run by Universities UK with Research Councils UK, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, asked the general public about the issues that they want university research to address.

Thirty per cent said they wanted improved wellbeing in old age; just under half (47 per cent) wanted better treatments for the UK’s most deadly diseases; a quarter wanted technology that would improve people’s quality of life; and 38 per cent said they cared about living in cities that are safe, enjoyable places. With this in mind, 20 UK university research projects that hope to tackle these issues were highlighted as part of the celebrations.

“The FFMOT was included as one of the 20 new ideas from UK universities that will change the world”.

ROAR (Reaching Older Adults in Renfrewshire)

Glasgow Caledonian University worked closely with a local charity called ROAR (Reaching Older Adults in Renfrewshire) training their volunteers to run Functional Fitness MOTs with the older people they befriend and as a result the partnership won “Innovation Partnership of the Year” (2016) from Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland. The awards, held in the Scottish Parliament, celebrated people and projects from across the country which support others to feel in control of their health and wellbeing.

What do our professional participants say?
Working in supported living settings – Anchor Hanover

“We’ve used the Functional Fitness MOT as part of a grant-funded project in Hackney to encourage those who’ve not yet experienced a fall to take part in preventative activities. Not only have we had some great feedback from participants, it’s helped us to better understand the level of risk among older adults living in Anchor Hanover properties. This information has helped us to think about how falls prevention services and activities can be adopted within retirement housing, and how we can work more closely with the NHS and local voluntary services.”

Amy Charters, Service Improvement Business Partner, Anchor Hanover

Read the Anchor Hanover Evaluation Report “Staying Strong”

Working in community rehabilitation – Hampshire

“The Functional Fitness MOT is a really great tool which we run alongside our exercise classes. The seven tests are all very straight forward and all our participants are able to perform them and even enjoy it and feel motivated by it! Participants really like to be able to see where they score against their peers. It is really informative for both the instructor and the exerciser and it works as a great outcome measure and goal setting tool. Using the FF MOT we are able to promote the benefits of physical activity in succinct way. The Functional Fitness MOT training was time very well spent – we implemented it the next day and haven’t looked back”!

Caroline Taverner, Therapeutic Groups Coordinator, Hobbs Rehabilitation, Independent Provider of Specialist Neurological Rehabilitation Services.
Rural Community Physiotherapy Services, Cumbria

“We have used the Functional Fitness MOT across Cumbria as a key component in multi-agency health and wellbeing days. FFMOT has been incorporated into various health promotion initiatives such as falls awareness week, carers week and Older Peoples’ Day and we have held events in a variety of locations such as local libraries, farmer’s markets and health centres. The benefits of these events have been felt not only by participants and visitors but by staff and services taking part. FF MOT days have proved to be invaluable in building links between services and sectors including our local voluntary organisations”.

Vicky Johnstone, Highly Specialist Physiotherapist, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Read the North Cumbria Integrated Care evaluation report

Falls Prevention – Shropshire Rural Communities Charity – Elevate Project

The Functional Fitness MOT events were programmed to support the start of “Elevate” strength and balance exercise classes. The Elevate project, funded by Shropshire Public Health, was run by Energize STW to train local exercise teachers to be Level 4 Postural Stability Instructors and support them to start 20-week strength and balance exercise programmes (branded “Elevate”) in the community.

Functional Fitness MOT events were held in 18 community settings across Shropshire, resulting in 332 attendees, 261 of whom completed feedback forms and 283 completed review interviews. Of the attendees, 70% were women. Suitable FF MOT attendees were referred to the Elevate programme, helping to kick-start new Elevate classes in each area.

Read the Full Shropshire RCC Report

Active Wellbeing service – Active Suffolk

The Babergh and Mid Suffolk project is a three-year project between Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils and our Active Wellbeing service; a service that supports older adults who are physically inactive to become more active. The Active Wellbeing service will be works closely with separate surgeries in 9 district to support patients to improve their physical activity levels.

With the support of one of a Physical Activity Advisors, clients are invited to complete a Functional Fitness MOT, discuss their motivations to get active, different options that are available locally to them and consider any barriers, issues or concerns they might have. The service is focused on the individual, and the Advisor will support clients through consultations, phone calls and on-going reviews to provide support and motivation.

Read the full active Suffolk Report

Working in Higher Education – Sheffield Hallam University

In developing our BSc Module ‘Working with Ageing Populations’, we included the Functional Fitness MOT as a key practical element and experience to enhance our students learning. It provides excellent insight into understanding how physical functioning relates to well-being and successful ageing and in Later Life. The Functional Fitness MOT is an absolute must.

Dr David Broom, former Reader of Physical Activity and Health, Sheffield Hallam University
Link4Life in Rochdale

At Link4Life the Functional Fitness MOT is used as a guideline and starting point for participants attending a 10-week exercise course. We gained funding to run 3 of these courses across the borough by applying for a grant from the Clinical Commissioning Group. The courses target those at 60+ and anyone with mobility problems, or who needed to strengthen joints and become more functional in daily activities.

Using the Functional Fitness MOT as a guideline and providing the results really brings home how people can improve and how much more they can do, and encourages them to keep trying and work harder to get better. Participants from this course now attend, aqua aerobics, yoga and Zumba Gold sessions on a regular basis. Several of them are coming back on our next course as they want to further improve their results.

Elaine Stott – Active4Life Officer Rochdale

Read the Link4Life report

A city-wide approach to well-being – Aberdeen

“As a wellbeing team, we have used the FF MOTs for 7 years now, and delivered both FF MOT events on a large scale citywide, smaller in community centres and individualised approaches in sheltered housing. We have evidence that the FF MOT is a great motivational tool to initiate conversations about physical activity and getting started! We have also realised the potential of the FF MOT to our partnership working with our local authority leisure provider, city physiotherapists, university and college students and our local care providers. We can’t talk highly enough of this great resource! #BeLikeAberdeen”

Darren Smith Wellbeing Coordinator, Public Health and Wellbeing. Aberdeen City Council

Read the Aberdeen FFMOT report

Cardiff Vale UHB – Cardiff Community Resource Team

Since October 2018, Cardiff & Vale UHB in collaboration with Cardiff Council, the Cardiff Third Sector Council and Public Health Wales, have been running a weekly Stay Steady Falls clinics across Cardiff. These clinics are for people over 65, living in Cardiff, to help them to identify and reduce their future risk of falls. The clinics are accessed by self-referral into the Cardiff Council Independent Living Service First Point of Contact Team (see poster below).

During the clinics, each person spends time with a Physiotherapist to talk about their own personal risks and any action they could take to reduce these. This is followed by the Functional Fitness MOT assessment of their strength and balance. The benefit we have seen of using this particular measure /tool is that people report enjoying completing it and that it is meaningful and motivating for them. They like the normative data that is provided and the fact that, with some changes to their current lifestyle, they can see an improvement in their performance on the tests in quite a short time. With this in mind, recent changes were made to the service to offer each participant a review of their functional fitness after 8 weeks, using the FFMOT again to compare their test results.

Read the Cardiff Vale UHB report

Community physical activity and falls services – Bury

“The FF MOT tool is a fantastic way to engage with individuals and provides a very tailored bespoke programme. By doing each assessment and documenting the results, you have a working document that allows the monitoring of progression for that individual with an agreed action plan. BEATS have found the individual then takes enhanced ownership of their plan, as they have something clear to work toward. It is a very powerful motivator. The FF MOT also enables our exercise referral officers to baseline test and re-test a group of individuals in one session as it’s also is very cost and time effective, which is essential when you have a small team like ours with large demands on your service”.

Shelley Caulfield, BEATS Team Leader, Bury Sport and Physical Activity Service
Further education – Perth

“I use the Functional Fitness MOT with my HND Fitness, Health and Exercise students and also our year 3 BSc Sport and fitness Degree students. All of our fitness students are qualified fitness instructors and have knowledge of the Functional Fitness MOT, as they may use this in industry in the future when working with older adults. I also teach practical sessions on functional fitness testing for older adults and the Functional Fitness MOT resources are excellent for introducing this”.

Lisa Dods, Sport and Fitness Lecturer, Perth College UHI, Scotland

The FF MOT CPD programme is underpinned by a strong evidence base relating to what is required to improve functional fitness and how we can support individuals to change their physical activity habits and behaviour. We retain the original functional fitness assessments (with some modifications) and continue to advocate that supporting people over time (including the use of goal setting and self-monitoring) is fundamental to their ability to make decisions and changes that will improve their physical activity behaviour. Recent research offers additional insight into the impact of Covid 19 upon physical and psychological function and how (older) people are adapting to the increased use of information technology, virtual learning and communications.

Specific evidence

The content of the FF MOT CPD course and the resources provided are based upon the following evidence.

  • The 2019 UK CMO Guidelines on Physical Activity for Adults (19 – 64) and Older Adults (65+) (DH 2019)
  • Normative data sets from large research studies of adults and older adults

The evidence base relating to motivation and behaviour change including

  • Make Every Contact Count
  • Achieving Behaviour Change – Guidance from Public Health England and the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change
  • The importance of one to one, tailored, advice and action planning included in NICE Public Health Guidelines
  • The Physical Activity Messaging Framework (PAMF) and check list (PAMC)

The course has been enhanced by the evidence from the Centre for Ageing Better publications :-

  • Raising the Bar on Strength and Balance: The importance of community-based provision.
  • How has COVID-19 changed the landscape of digital inclusion?
  • The experience of people approaching later life in lockdown: The impact of COVID-19 on 50-70-year olds in England

The Impact of COVID19

Activity restriction brought about by shielding and the (voluntary) restrictions on movement brought about by Covid19 has resulted in deconditioning, functional loss amongst older people and has contributed to increased fall risk. This has been accompanied by an additional loss of confidence and feelings of increased vulnerability amongst those who have been shielded or isolated. These feelings may also have been exacerbated by a lack of meaningful social contact with family and friends and increased loneliness as well as a lack of contact with health care and support professionals who provide access to healthcare for pre-existing or new non-Covid-19 illnesses.

Consequently, physical activity now provides an even greater challenge for those deconditioned as a result of movement restriction but also a greater need for those seeking to return to a previous level of functioning and independent living

Turning research into practice

As yet there has been no scientifically evaluated outcomes on the previous Functional Fitness MOT. However, recently in Edinburgh, a feasibility study on the implementation of the FF MOT within musculoskeletal physiotherapy out-patient clinics was undertaken. You can read the published paper for this study here.

The FF MOT has received a lot of anecdotal evidence on the positive outcomes to participants and also to the professionals attending training and delivering the FF MOT in practice. More information can be found in the Case Studies section.

Open courses

FF MOT open courses are organised across the UK and open to individuals. The full costs for the course are £70 + VAT per person which includes all resources, access to the Later Life Training Learning Portal and tutor support.

Payment must be received at least 4 weeks prior to enrolment in order to allow access to the online training portal.

Locally hosted and commissioned courses

As a result of requests, Later Life training is also able to deliver the FF MOT CPD course to local services through locally hosted courses. The cost to host a course is £1,200 + VAT (maximum of 20 people) and further details of arrangements for locally hosted courses can be obtained from the LLT Office.

If you are an individual wanting to attend a course but there are no course dates offered in the course dates listings, please contact the LLT office.

To celebrate Later Life Training’s 21st Birthday, we have a special offer for the one-day Functional Fitness CPD course to Leisure, Recreation and Fitness Services.

To host a discounted one-day Functional Fitness MOT CPD day, you’ll need to:

  • Provide an adequate space in your venue to run a Functional Fitness MOT one-day course (details can be requested from the office)
  • Recruit 10 paying participants @ £70.00 + VAT per head

Up to 10 free places will be offered to additional participants.

Later Life Training will provide course tutor materials and resources for your own use, online learning from the Later Life Training portal and a certificate of completion to all participants.

Pre and post course learning face-to-face sessions will be delivered via Microsoft Teams, accessible through our e-learning portal, which also provides access to the FF MOT Assessment and other resources. For maximum compatibility we recommend using a personal laptop or desktop computer with the most up to date version of your web browser.

If connecting via a work PC, please check with your IT department to ensure you can connect to our MS Teams Meeting prior to commencement of your face-to-face days.

A brief summary of the recommended minimum requirements:

  • 2GB of memory and a 1Ghz processor
  • For a reliable internet connection, at least 1Mbits download and 0.5 Mbits upload speed
  • An up to date web browser, we recommend Google Chrome (please note that Internet Explorer has known issues, so please avoid)


  • Headset for audio
  • Webcam and microphone

We encourage everyone to be responsible for their own learning. In light of this, we ask that you please inform us, at point of application, about any learning support requirements and/or medical conditions support that will help you to access our course content and learn effectively. All information will be treated confidentially and we will make reasonable adjustments to meet your needs