A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. For a journey of 10,000 steps, however, you might want to use a pedometer – or even better, an app.
Studies repeatedly show that our sedentary lifestyles – our long commutes and long hours in front of screens – are slowly killing us. On average, Americans spend 56 hours a week sitting, which is a proven link to obesity, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, cancer, and more.
The only way to combat the negative effects of our modern lifestyle is to make a conscious effort every day to move more – even it’s in short bursts of activity, and even if you never break a sweat.
10,000 steps – about 5 miles – is the daily amount of walking recommended to improve health and mitigate the detrimental effects of sitting. The idea started with the invention of a pedometer in Japan in 1965, and it stuck with many groups and fitness experts touting the benefits. Studies have found that just owning a pedometer can increase activity and fitness levels because the devices not only count steps, but also offer immediate positive feedback.
There’s an App for That
Pedometers can be purchased relatively inexpensively nowadays, but new free cell phone apps like Moves are tough to beat. The Moves app uses sensor and location information from your iPhone to track your movement, whether you are walking, running, biking or in transport by car, bus, etc.
Unlike many pedometers, your phone does not need to be kept out in the open on a belt to function properly. It can be kept in a purse, bag, armband or pocket as well. The Moves app runs in the background so nothing needs to be open for it to operate. The app does use up more battery power than average, but it is designed to enable most iPhones to stay charged for a full day. So as long as you charge your phone each night, you should have no problems.
One Step at a Time
Once you download the app, it’s time to get moving. The app records the number of steps as well as the amount of time that you walked. If you find you are initially falling short of your 10,000 step goal, don’t be discouraged. Remember, small changes made over time eventually become habits.
Here are some simple strategies that add activity to your daily routine and your daily steps without requiring a huge effort or a huge time commitment:
• Park at the far end of the parking lot at work or when shopping. You can easily add 400-500 steps this way.
• When watching TV, get up and take a walk during commercials. You can walk to the laundry room to do a load of wash, take out the trash before it overflows, run the vacuum or walk in place. You can add 200-500 steps during a single commercial break.
• Take a quick 20 minute walk in the morning before leaving for work. A one mile walk can yield 2,000-2500 steps.
• Take a quick walk around the block when you get home from work or an outing.
• Walk the dog.
• Walk when you talk on the phone.
• Go visit a colleague at work instead of emailing. Make it a habit to do this several times a day.
• Designate 10 minutes of your lunch break for a quick walk.
You’ll soon find that increasing activity is pretty painless, and watching those steps tally up is so rewarding and fun! It’s almost like playing a video game…only better for your health.
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
Lisa Washabaugh on a Family Vacation in Antigua
Apex Physical Therapist, Lisa Washabaugh had an early view of the medical field – her mom is a nurse practitioner, and her older sister is a nurse midwife. However, it wasn’t until she was in a clinic, working with her own patients, that she realized how effective physical therapy and women’s health together could be in helping patients to restore function and do the things they want to do. That realization set her on a path to lifelong learning.
Lisa took her first classes in women’s health shortly after graduation from physical therapy school. “I was pregnant with my son, and I took Elizabeth Noble’s prenatal and postpartum exercise class,” she said.
But it was a few years later while treating orthopedic patients for back pain that she made an important discovery that helped her understand how effective physical therapy can be for a host of women’s health issues.
“We were working on strengthening pelvic and hip muscles and patients started to tell me that they no longer had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom,” she said. “They asked me if what we were doing in physical therapy might be improving their issues with urinary incontinence. I had so many people telling me that, I knew I had to look into it.”
Lisa started taking more course work and realized that physical therapy can produce positive outcomes not only for urinary incontinence, but also for pre- and postnatal care, constipation, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and lymphedema. In addition, physical therapy can often improve these conditions without medication or surgery, and when medication and surgery are necessary, physical therapy and a holistic approach to treatment can better help patients to heal.
“Physical therapy can be part of a more conservative approach to recovery,” Lisa said. “There’s a lot we can do.”
The more Lisa learned about physical therapy and women’s health, the more she wanted to learn. Not only did she become certified in women’s health, but she went on to study – Kinesio Taping, TMJ dysfunction, Sahrmann’s approach to MSI (Movement System Impairments), and Gynecological visceral manipulation (management of abdominal and pelvic scar tissue/adhesions). In addition, she earned her certificate in the Graston Technique for treating soft tissue impairments.
“I love learning,” she said. “I want to know I am doing everything I can to help my patients.”
Lisa has worked in variety of both in- and outpatient settings, including nursing homes, nursery schools, hospitals and sports medicine centers, and she has also provided home health care to orthopedic, pediatric, neurological and geriatric patients. Her unique experience treating women with cancer, pelvic pain, incontinence and pre- and post-natal problems makes her one of the few physical therapists in the area to provide these types of care. She now works in at Apex Blue Bell, treating patients for orthopedic and neurological impairments in addition to her work in women’s health. She plans to pursue her doctorate in Physical Therapy and to further her education by completing coursework in her field.
“I find that as soon as I finish one class, I am ready to sign up for the next one,” she said.
Apparently, Lisa’s love of learning runs in the family. Her son, Kyle, a Yale graduate, is pursuing a PhD in aero-astro engineering in Stanford, CA, and her daughter, Jenna, a Princeton graduate, is following in her mother’s footsteps and working toward her DPT at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. With her kids away at school, the once-busy mom is now finding a bit more time to focus on some of her other interests, including travel, bicycling, cooking, photograpy, taking long walks with her English springer spaniels, Bomber and Lewey, and of course, taking lots and lots of classes.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt
Excel PT Danielle Gallante, Rock Climbing at Wissahickon
Physical therapy, like rock climbing, takes place in a lot of different places and requires special tools and skills to meet the challenges in each setting. Excel Physical Therapist Danielle Galante likes the myriad challenges and rewards of both rock climbing and physical therapy, and as a physical therapist, she loves working in the very different worlds of both Pediatric Rehab and Outpatient PT.
Caring for Kids
Danielle’s first experiences with the role that physical therapy can play in rehabilitation began when she was a teenager.
“My brother was an avid skateboarder, and he’s broken almost every bone in his body,” Danielle said. Once, he even broke both arms at the same time, and as a devoted sister, Danielle accompanied him on many of his doctor and physical therapy appointments. She recalls thinking, “I’d really like to do something like this someday.”
Danielle has always loved children. “Growing up, I was always with kids. I was always babysitting,” she said. So the idea of combining her burgeoning interest in physical therapy with her love of children seemed a natural progression.
So while working toward her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at University of the Sciences, Danielle gained valuable clinical experience in the physical therapy department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She worked in the hospital with juvenile oncology patients and at one of CHOP’s outpatient physical therapy clinics. She also volunteered with Easter Seals, helping kids with disabilities to experience the joys and challenges of summer camp in a fully-accessible setting.
“You learn about all types of conditions and treatments in PT school,” Danielle said. “But I never actually saw and treated any of them until I worked in the field. You learn so much.”
Part of working in a pediatric setting is working with parents, as well as young patients, to help teach them how to reinforce treatment at home. In her time at CHOP, Danielle treated kids with developmental challenges due to Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida. She also helped kids overcome toe-walking by using serial casting and stretching and strengthening exercises, and she helped infants to overcome torticollis, a condition common after breech or multiple births where babies’ heads are turned stiffly to one side.
Work as Play
Danielle said treating kids can be much more challenging than treating adults because their stage of emotional and cognitive development often determines how they respond to treatment. For example, it can be nearly impossible to convince a toddler in the throes of the terrible 2’s to perform exercises on command. The solution: make the work seem like play.
“You have to figure out how to manipulate the (PT) session into a game or a competition,” Danielle said. So in order to coax a recalcitrant toddler, she might challenge her young patient to a kickboxing game to see who can kick over the most bolsters.
Many Settings. Many Rewards.
Physical therapists who specialize in pediatrics build strong competencies in some very specific areas of treatment, but they sometimes lose the skills they need to work with the general population in outpatient physical therapy clinics. Danielle said that as much as she loves pediatric physical therapy, she doesn’t ever want to lose her manual therapy skills and her ability to treat all sorts of patients.
“There are so many applications of PT, and I love all the settings,” Danielle said. So shortly after graduating and passing her certification test last summer, she began work at Excel Krewstown in Northeast Philadelphia. Now, many of her patients are adults and older adults, who need help getting back to doing day-to-day activities. In addition, Danielle sees high school athletes and some younger girls who are dancers or figure skaters.
The work she does now is every bit as rewarding as the pediatric work, she said. Young children may not recognize the role a PT plays in their recovery from an injury, but older kids and adults do. Kids who play sports often come back to treatment and joyfully report that they were able to play tennis or basketball without pain, while older adults are often grateful for little improvements that make a big difference.
“I had one patient with chronic shoulder pain from a rotator cuff injury tell me she was so happy and grateful to be able to hook her bra for the first time in years,” Danielle said. “That’s the best part of this job. When my patients are happy, I am happy!”
Danielle plans to continue to look for opportunities to help patients of all ages to get back to doing what they want to do.
“Top Workplaces are not only better places to work but are more likely to be successful than peer organizations.”
Philly.com released its annual list of the Top 100 Philadelphia Workplaces, and it’s no surprise to E&A Therapy employees that their workplace made the list. The list was compiled based solely on the WorkplaceDynamics’ annual employee survey of companies in the Philadelphia area, and E&A Physical Therapists and Patient Service Representatives had this to say about working here:
“I love that I have the ability to treat patients and have a positive impact on their lives.”
“They keep their employees well informed of any changes that may impact us or our patients. Training for the therapists and administrative staff is an ongoing process. ”
Our company operates under the brand names of Excel Physical Therapy and Apex Physical Therapy, and we employ more than 60 licensed physical therapists and 80 business office and clerical staff across 18 owned clinics, plus 4 additional clinics operated under management services contracts. Our company mission is our patients’ recovery! We provide outpatient physical therapy to restore movement and improve function for those with pain, injuries and disabilities. Our physical therapists use highly skilled hands-on techniques to improve mobility of stiff joints and restricted tissues.
According to Philly.com, “Top Workplaces are not only better places to work but are more likely to be successful than peer organizations.” Through Passion, Integrity, Excellence and Accountability, our company is always striving to be “A Step Ahead…A Step Above,” and we are proud of the success our dedication brings.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca
Apex Physical Therapist Jarod Strauss didn’t travel a lot as a child. “I think the first time I was on a plane was when I was 12,” he said. But he made up for it later. His mom sent him to Europe after graduation from college, and after that, he began looking for ways to combine his two passions – physical therapy and travel.
Jarod loves being a physical therapist (PT). “For me the best part of my work is knowing it affects people’s lives and knowing they appreciate the job I’m doing, getting them back to where they want to be and helping them meet their goals,” he said. And his travels have made him a better PT.
As an undergrad at Shippensburg University, pursuing his BS degree in Exercise Science and Biology, there didn’t seem to be many study-abroad opportunities. “I saw business and language students traveling a lot, but not really science students,” he said. So when he began pursuing his Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University, and international study opportunities became available, he didn’t let them pass by.
“I found that as I experienced travel – seeing new places and learning about other cultures – the more I wanted to do it,” he said.
First Stop: Japan
Jarod had been intrigued at the thought of visiting Japan for a while. His roommate at Jefferson had taught English there for several years, and Jarod was fascinated by his stories about the country. In addition, Jefferson sponsored a Japanese exchange student, and Jarod got to know him in the course of his studies. “What I heard from him was so interesting,” he said. So when it was time for someone in the program to visit Kitasato University in Sagamihara, Japan as part of the exchange, Jarod signed up.
“I jumped on it!” he said.
While in Japan, Jarod not only learned about different approaches to physical therapy and rehabilitation, he also learned quite a bit about Japanese culture.
“They don’t have a lot of out-patient orthopedic clinics there,” he said. He isn’t sure why, but he thinks perhaps Eastern medicine and its holistic approach to healing have an effect. “It just seemed like the Japanese didn’t turn to physical therapy for an injury right away,” he said. For the bulk of the population, it seemed to be “more of an afterthought.”
Jarod visited hospitals there, which he described as “absolutely pristine.” And he visited a senior center, where residents were receiving physical therapy treatments.
“It was interesting to see them using different modalities, not commonly used in rehab and physical therapy here,” he said. One treatment was diathermy – a method of heating tissue for therapeutic purposes electromagnetically through specialized lamps or ultrasound.
“I had heard about it, but not seen it used before,” he said.
Jarod also went on home visits with licensed PTs, and that’s where he learned the importance of non-verbal communication.
“You learned to communicate with very few words using non-verbal cues and eye contact. You don’t always need to speak to build relationships,” he said.
This was especially true with one older couple who collected and displayed baseball memorabilia and seemed to love the sport as much as Jarod.
“I am a huge baseball fan – a huge Phillies Fan – and we didn’t speak five words, but we had a great visit sharing our love of baseball,” he said.
Next Stop – Ireland
Before graduating from Jefferson, Jarod performed his final clinical outside Dublin, Ireland, where he worked at the National Rehab Hospital of Ireland.
In Europe, physical therapists are called physiotherapists, so while there, Jarod worked alongside physiotherapists treating patients that were recovering from traumatic or acquired brain injuries.
One of the biggest differences in the Irish hospital system was length of stays, he said. In fact, one man that Jarod treated was in the rehab center for several years. “That’s something we would never see over here,” he said, but the Irish national system pays most healthcare costs.
Jarod returned home and graduated with his DPT from Thomas Jefferson in 2010. He began work in Apex Physical Therapy in Phoenixville in August 2012, and since then, his work has kept him a bit closer to home. He admits to traveling vicariously through his patients, however. They frequently share stories with him about trips they’ve taken or the countries they’ve emigrated from.
Jarod knows he learned a lot about physical therapy in his travels, but he feels he gained even more than that. “It gave me life and world experience,” he said. “I learned a lot about interacting with people – listening to them and learning from them. I feel like I can talk to or relate to just about anyone – regardless of cultural difference and language barriers.”
“Strength is the foundation for development of the rest of physical qualities.” Leonid Matveyev
Photo Credit: GiryaGirl
It was a passion for sports and exercise that led Campbell McCormack to physical therapy…and to kettlebells.
“I played baseball growing up and hung out with the Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) at my high school when I could and thought I’d like to do sports medicine,” he said. But after looking at all of his options, he realized physical therapy was a way to use exercise to help people get better.
After finishing with a BS degree in Biology from Shippensburg University and then obtaining his MSPT from Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia, he worked at an outpatient clinic, treating a variety of orthopedic conditions before joining the Excel Physical Therapy team in Glen Mills in 2004.
His interests now lie in sports injuries, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement techniques. He’s worked closely with a number of athletes – analyzing swing mechanics for golfers and helping pitchers to improve mechanics and increase throwing speed. His newest passion, however, is kettle bells, and how they can be used for building strength and restoring function.
What are kettlebells?
Kettlebells (KB) are cast iron weights that look like cannon balls with handles. They were first used as early as the 1700s in Russian, where they evolved into becoming a tool in the Soviet military’s physical training regimen. Over the past few years, they have gained popularity, internationally and the United States as a tool used by professional, Olympic and novice athletes to build and maintain strength and agility.
“Kettlebell training started as a personal workout challenge for me,” Cam said. “I needed something different, challenging, and fun, and my course through KB instruction and training has been extremely fulfilling.”
Cam enjoyed kettlebell training so much that he went on to complete the kettlebell instructor certification course called the Russian Kettlebell Challenge in 2009.
“The group I started training with (RKC) offers the highest level of instruction and is taught in such a way as to develop strength as a skill. So learning HOW to train is more important than just banging out a bunch of mindless reps which unfortunately is how many people train – be it KB or otherwise. Since the RKC, the leaders of that organization left and formed a new one called StrongFirst, which I am currently involved with,” he said.
Physical Therapy and Fitness
Cam believes physical therapy and rehabilitation should blend seamlessly into fitness training.
“The kettlebell is my favorite tool for strength, conditioning, and movement awareness,” Cam said. “It teaches proper alignment, sequencing, and stabilization and can be scaled for rehab purposes or more advanced fitness routines.”
Cam is continuing to build his skill and expertise in kettlebell and Functional Movement Systems to help his patients. He completed the Certified Kettlebell-Functional Movement Specialist (CK – FMS) workshop in 2011, the Certified Indian Club Specialist (CICS) in 2012, and Titliest Performance Institute training (TPI level 1) in 2012. He will complete the final FMS mentorship this July in Durham, NC.