Monday, November 17, 2014

Why do you exercise?

Last month we asked our members, trainers, physical therapists, and office staff “Why do you exercise?”  We received numerous responses.  Everyone has a different reason and motivation to work out.  Some of us love it.  Some of us hate it.  We know we have to do it.

Below is an essay Anna Cavanaugh, a Cape Cod Rehab Physical Therapy Aide, shared with us about regarding the topic…

Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience

“Physicist Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion states: An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an external force. When this law of motion was first introduced in the 1600s, Newton used it to explain how mass behaves in a system free of external forces such as friction or gravity. As a recent graduate interested in physical therapy, I view this law not only applicable to physical objects and systems, but also to the work of physical therapists in rehabilitating, managing and preventing of injuries for people in our society.

As an athlete, I fully appreciate the need to stay active, flexible, and strong for muscle and joint health. I am committed to improving the human body and how it moves and stays mobile at any age in order to empower individuals to be able to lead independent and dynamic lives, especially with the sedentary lifestyle of many today. As a future physical therapist my goal is to embody this philosophy through education, commitment and innovation.

Education is the foundation to a successful recovery and enhancing a patient’s wellbeing. I want to help people heal, but first, I want them to understand how they became injured. Making this a more active process, I want us to work together to restore their health and prevent future injuries and complications through proper demonstration and practice of exercise techniques. To establish this plan of action, I plan to treat the people I work with as "students" interested in learning about their body and injury prevention, as opposed to "patients", where they might think of it as a one-way experience.  In doing this, I hope to create a different level of engagement and involvement, which allows them to continue independently long after their treatment is complete. It is critical to empower a patient with knowledge and confidence in order to encourage them to take charge of their own therapy.    

Among many goals that people have in their lives, the ultimate goal is to live a pain-free life, and I am committed to making that happen for people as the second step in my vision as a physical therapist. As a competitive swimmer, I learned the best way to stay pain and injury free is through self-discipline in developing good technique. I want to help my "students" live their lives without restrictions or pain. Knowing effective techniques of any exercise is vital in order to be able to practice and perform effectively.  My approach to this is to be positive and encouraging to make therapy and exercise enjoyable without pain so they do not avoid workouts.

A third component of my philosophy is to incorporate innovation into my practice. The body is fascinating with its ability to perform complex and connected moves as one through whatever motions we desire. When the body is not able to perform the motions that were so effortless in our youth, problem solving is key to finding the route of the issue and figuring out ways to strengthen and rehabilitate the individual back good health. An important consideration for this is that we live in a society where advancements in science and medicine are constantly changing.  It becomes our responsibility to stay abreast of this new information and to incorporate it into new treatments, techniques, and exercises. By incorporating more innovative and individualizing techniques, I will help my patients move toward better functional lives. 

In Newton's third law, he stated: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Concluding with another fundamental physics law, it is important to help the patients become aware of the fact that the more work that one puts into his or her own recovery the greater the results he or she will see over a lifetime. While not everyone is, or aspires to be an athlete, a few minutes of exercise daily is a step on the road to higher mobility. In today’s lifestyle, where food is readily available and a high level of activity is not required to stay alive, many may atrophy into weaker versions of their intended selves, which is detrimental to their bone mass and musculature. In wanting to transform the health of society, one patient at a time, I hope to challenge and motivate individuals to lead more active lives and encourage people to invest in their own health and future. I wish good health and wellbeing for those I treat through our work together, and envision that I can make becoming strong and fit contagious.”

Think about it.  Why do you exercise?

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

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