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Physician Update – July 2022

Help Your Patients Reach Their Fitness Goals

By Calling in a PT!

Can going to a physical therapist change a patient’s fitness habits for life? That might seem like an unrealistic goal. After all, every doctor knows how tough it is to get a patient to change their lifestyle and start an exercise routine. But in 2015, the journal Physiotherapy shared this big news: Outpatient physical therapy really does change a patients’ activity level for the better! It may very well be the first step toward a longer, healthier life.

The trial included 190 patients with long-term musculoskeletal conditions. Each patient was given an exercise program tailored specifically for them as part of their PT treatment plan with the aim of transforming their habits long term.

It worked! At the end of the trial, 12% of patients with a “low” activity level had increased their exercise, and many more who didn’t/couldn’t work out had established new routines. Researchers reported “significant improvements” in physical fitness, mental health, and daily activities and concluded “a general physical exercise program initiated by a physiotherapist led to a positive change in level of physical activity.”

This trial brought good news for every doctor with a patient struggling to start an exercise
routine. PT may be the secret to unlocking their potential and helping them reach their fitness goals. In addition to promoting physical activity in general (which, of course, comes with health benefits like a lower risk of cardiovascular disease), PT helps patients reach specific goals related to weight loss, strength, and flexibility.

Unlocking Weight Loss

One study of 192 patients who followed a PT weight-loss program reported patients
reduced their body weight and waist size; improved lower extremity function; and
reduced systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose.

Discovering New Strength

PTs like me use targeted exercises to build muscle strength and endurance in patients striving for athletic goals and recovering from injuries and surgeries. These exercises can be tailored for any patient to help them achieve their fitness goals. Critically ill patients in the ICU have seen increased peripheral and respiratory muscle strength after PT, and PT-recommended progressive resistance training has helped reverse age-related muscle loss and build strength in older adults.

Finding Flexibility

Flexibility is incredibly important, both for athletes and ordinary people picking their clothes up off the floor. Flexibility exercises reduce risk of injury, relieve muscle tension,
and improve athletic performance — and physical therapists are experts at implementing
them. In patients with Parkinson’s disease, for example, a 10-week physical therapy exercise program improved both axial mobility and physical performance. After PT, patients could look over their shoulders while driving for the first time in years!

If you have patients struggling to reach their fitness goals right now, refer them to me and my team. Physical therapy may just be the key to unlocking their athletic potential! Not only will a referral help them with their strength, flexibility, or weight loss goals, but it will also set them up for a fitter, longer life. There’s no downside to that. Call 949-709-8770 to refer today.

2019 focuspt headshot julian

Julian Manrique

Focus Physical Therapy

"We Help Adults Get Back To Their Normal Active Lifestyles Naturally...While Avoiding Medications, Injections, And Surgeries"