FreeTheYoke Starts Today!!

     Happy Saturday! I hope you’ve had a wonder week! And for those of you who work a schedule similar to mine, make this week your best yet! Today’s post is about FreeTheYoke. Certainly check out the website by clicking the link here, but I’ll do my best to give a quick summary of what this is.

     FreeTheYoke is a movement aimed at creating awareness for the chronic diseases that burden our population. Basically letting people know you don’t have to live that way. And with some education and behavioral lifestyle changes, you can reduce your odds of having poor health outcomes. Simply by being physical activity, eating right, not smoking, and getting enough sleep. May sound like a lot, but there are healthcare professionals that can help. They’re called Physical Therapists!

     FreeTheYoke is shedding light on the fact that physical therapists can be active participants in helping prevent illness and death that result from lifestyle-related chronic diseases. So how are they trying to let the public know that a physical therapist can help? Attempting to break a world-record for the longest bike relay, going from PT clinic to PT clinic, from San Francisco, CA to Manasquan, New Jersey. What this does is allow physical therapists to portray their healthy habits and be a model for other individuals.

     So how can you take part? RIDE! You can check out the course by clicking here. And don’t worry, if you’re not near any check points you can join in on the virtual ride. Simply log your hours by clicking here. Doesn’t matter if you’re commuting to work or on a spin-bike at the gym, join in on the fun! Most importantly, SHARE your ride! Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, use #FreeTheYoke so your accomplishments can be shared with everyone taking part.

     If you have any questions or want more information, reach out to @FreeTheYoke or @mikeeisenhart on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

Everyone Deserves General Nutritional Information.

     Hey, Everyone! So just to give a little update on myself, since this past month or so has been pretty hectic. Once we got back from Europe, we took a cross country road trip, but what I should really say is that we moved across the country. Started my first travel PT assignment this week in Reno, NV in a skilled nursing facility and so far it has been great! So enough about me and onto the topic of choice this week, nutritional education. This post is intended for clinicians, but also the consumer (patient or client).

     Getting straight to point with this one, I find that many physical therapists and some other healthcare providers don’t always take the time to educate their patients/clients on the importance of nutrition and the huge role it plays in recovery, as well as the normal day to day function of the human body. Everyone deserves to know this information, and just because you as a clinician may not have a strong background in it, doesn’t mean your patient shouldn’t be informed.

              Image Source

             Image Source

     I’m not talking counting calories, perfecting the grams of protein, and all that kind of detailed counseling that should be left to a dietitian. I’m talking about discussing general nutritional information, such as the importance of calcium for your elderly patient (really all ages), adequate protein for recovery following surgery or injury, reducing saturated fats for someone with high cholesterol, and healthy weight gain for a client that is pregnant. The list can go on and it ends up including every single person you as a healthcare provider come in contact with. And as for the consumer reading this, there is always some aspect of what you eat that can be improved.

     Now let’s say you don’t know those general nutritional needs, don’t be afraid to admit it and do the right thing, refer them to a registered dietitian nutritionist. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a great resource on their website that allows you to find an RDN in your area. Click here for the link. And I’m advising the use of an RDN because they are licensed and hold the highest qualification to provide nutritional education and counseling.

     So whether you are a practicing clinician or a patient, seek out nutritional information, incorporate that knowledge with exercise and safe movement, and live a more preventative lifestyle.

Thanks for reading!

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

Population Health and Being a Lifestyle Physical Therapist

     Hey there! Today I am going to touch on a topic, though a huge passion of mine is somewhat difficult to explain to people, even to those within the healthcare field. And that is population health and being a lifestyle physical therapist. 

     This past week, I was fortunate enough to spend four high-quality days with Mike Eisenhart and his team at Pro-Activity and Base Camp 31 and witness all the many things that they do. I'll tell you right now that traditional physical therapy is about 20% of their operations, so if you're stuck in the mindset of that's only what a physical therapist does, this post may not be for you. However, my hope is that this will be an eye-opener for you if so. 

     As some of you may know, Pro-Activity operates under five key elements consisting of Move, Fuel, Recover, Endure, and Connect. All of which are beautifully integrated into several different models or programs, as you may wish to call them. There's the average Joe looking to live a healthy life, your teenage athlete looking to improve performance, your individual struggling with metabolic conditions, and lastly the blue collar employee that doesn't know you're there to improve his/her quality of life. 

     None of these approaches have a single focus. They're not geared towards preventing only musculoskeletal injury. And you know why? Because as a physical therapist you can do more than strengthen some quads, perform a manipulation, and walk your patient down the hall. You have the skill set to change lives. You have the power to reinvent the way someone lives and the ability to facilitate a much higher quality of life for them, their family, and their friends. 

     As a physical therapist, I strive to make a difference, to change lives, and to help the population as a whole. This approach isn’t something easy, nor enjoyable at times, but if you’re a physical therapist because you genuinely want to help people, you would love being a lifestyle physical therapist. You shouldn’t be solely focused on correcting a dysfunction or biomechanical impairment; you should be treating the person as a whole. And as a whole, that individual deserves education beyond movement patterns and exercise prescription; they deserve an approach that sets them up for life. 

     Now is the opportunity to change not only the profession but also the lives of the people you encounter. Population health is possible and as a physical therapist, you should be striving to provide more. And if for whatever reason you feel ill-prepared on a topic, please know that referring to another healthcare provider is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of excellent patient/ client care. 

     If you're someone who wants to change and improve the population's health and well-being, please reach out! Mike can be contacted on Twitter @mikeeisenhart or at meisenhart@pro-activity.com

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT

Start Your Healthy Life, But Do It Right

     Hey, everyone! Today I’m talking about starting on your path to a healthier lifestyle. Now I’m not talking about ditching everything unhealthy all at once because frankly that won’t work. Change takes time, so take it slow and enjoy the ride. There is no such thing as an overnight transformation, no pill that will cure all your problems, and no magic potion to change you from Professor Klump to Buddy Love. If you want change that lasts a lifetime, do it right. Here are a few steps to help you out. 

Find Motivation
     Find a reason to change within yourself because no one likes being told what to do. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to live longer and have some fun with the grandkids? Do you want to travel more and take full advantage of all that life has to offer? Once you have that inner drive, you’re ready.

Determine What To Change First
     Do you want to tackle your diet, your level of fitness, the amount of stress you have, or do you need to quit smoking? I wouldn’t try and do all of these at once. Pick the thing you think you’re ready for and go with that. As you get further in your lifestyle changes, you can be working on multiple aspects of a healthy life. In determining what’s first, you can go for easy, the biggest impact, or what will keep you motivated. I suggest going with what continues to motivate you from within.

Start Small
     Like I said, I’m not talking about ridding all the bad habits you may all have at once. Just pick one thing to start with. Park farther away and increase the amount of walking in your day. Find a new fruit or vegetable you like. Cut down the amount of soda you may drink. Drink more water. Cook with less salt. Decrease the number of times you eat out. Take a walk around the block while you talk on the phone. The possibilities are endless. 

Gradually Add
     Once you have successfully made that first small change, add on another one. Remember keep them small. Just because you started eating apples doesn’t mean you’ll now go to the gym every day and never drink soda. Try for a new change every week or every two weeks. It’s gradual, it’s a slow process, but your body needs time to adapt to accept these changes. 

Take Pride In Your Success
     Be excited about the changes you have made, no matter how small you may think they are. A successful transformation isn’t going from where you are currently to having the body of a supermodel. Other things can be used to show improvements, such as improved blood pressure, glucose readings, and cholesterol levels. Those things show how your body has changed internally, how more efficiently your engine is now running. But the most important sign of success is how you feel, whether you now feel healthier or feel the power you have in changing your life for the better. 

     Welcome to a healthier lifestyle! And if you’re ever having trouble in making a lifestyle change, seek out a physical therapist or registered dietitian, they make great life coaches and will help get you to where you want to be. 

Thanks for reading!

- Patrick Berner, SPT, CEAS