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Raising the Bar in Rehab

PT = Exercise

Published August 20, 2009 3:58 PM by Lisa West
As physical therapists, we teach our patients every day the importance of remaining active, of increasing our endurance, the never-ending benefits of exercise.  But, do we practice what we preach?

On average, I ascend between 17-25 flights of stairs every day.  I run between several floors to treat patients, and it is more convenient and much faster to take the stairs.  Likewise, I am also on my feet all day.  I sit during my documentation time, but otherwise I spend my day doing a fair amount of manual work.  When I ask a patient to perform therex, I sit by their side and perform it with them.  I have several total assist patients on my caseload each day- an exhausting task in itself. 

In addition, I TRY to run 2-3x/week, usually between 2-3 miles each time.  I really have to push myself to do this, because I am exhausted at the end of my day.  Every time I run I think of my patients who can't run, and it motivates me to push myself farther. 

While I blabber on and on to my patients about exercise and healthy lifestyles, in the back of my mind I know it's a difficult commitment to make.  The American day is short- we are busy people with thousands of tasks to complete once the work day ends.  However, it would be difficult for anyone to take advice from an inactive therapist, which is why I do my best to stay in shape.

6 comments

Hey Liser,

I agree.  You are a visionary for all of us.  Your work ethic and DEVOTION to living a healthy lifestyle are truly inspirational.  Furthermore, you should be commended for your efforts to increase awareness of this problem in the health care field.  Bless your soul.

HAHA!  Just kidding.  Good post.

Remember freshman year on the way to the boathouse...good run!  Oh and that one time in Denny's class when he asked who smoked in our class...good times!

Me Again August 27, 2009 1:06 PM

...or policemen who park in handicapped spots to run in and do an errand at the post office...

anon ymous August 24, 2009 6:24 PM

....like respiratory therapists who smoke.....

Christie ,, August 22, 2009 11:18 PM

I remember seeing a cardiac rehab specialist therapist who was at least 40 pounds overweight. I thought to myself, I wouldn't listen to him, why would a patient? I've also seen a diabetic nurse specialist who was at LEAST 100 pounds overweight. When she came into the room to present an inservice, the other nurses reacted with disbelief, tuned out and worked on their notes while this woman spoke. Her information was excellent but nobody heard it because they shut her out before she started. I commend you for setting a good example!

Dean Metz August 21, 2009 10:15 AM

I have worked with overzealous exercisers and obvious couch potatoes  (noted by the rotund shape) who either push their patients too far or not far enough.  

You are right, therapists should be in good shape if we are to tell patients the benefits of exercises.

jason August 21, 2009 8:22 AM

Thanks for posting this. You make a great point and are setting a great example for your patients. All PTs should do the same.

physio August 20, 2009 6:31 PM

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