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

Choose the Correct Motivational Path for a Successful Rehab

      Various approaches to therapy will come and go, but the need for motivation will always remain. Patients or clients need incentive in order to achieve their goals, whether these goals are their own, their families’, or the clinician. From a clinician’s point of view, goals need to be created that will help their patient’s attain the highest quality of life. So what is the #1 question all patients should be asked?

 What do you enjoy doing and what physical requirements does your body need to have?  

      Once you have this information, you can create an individualized plan to help them reach their goals. But how will you motivate them? This is when you need to find out what pushes your patient to do well and what kind of reinforcements they prefer. Aside from your patient’s health status, choosing the best motivational approach is what indicates the need for personalized therapy.


      Some patients may only require general reinforcement as motivation, such as:

·      verbal praise

·      healthy treats or sweet treats

·      small rewards for reaching milestones or completing goals

·      quantitative data for those patients that prefer to see their numeric values change

      However, I believe the biggest motivator to be visual change. Is your patient able to actually see progress towards doing what they enjoy? Whether it is performing your therapy session in front of a mirror, keeping photographic record, or video recording them, this approach allows patients to see the improvements being made and spark the desire to continue on. Clinicians should consider this motivational approach because most patients will respond positively towards their visual transformation.

       Find what motivates your patient, client, or anyone for that matter and utilize that approach.

-Patrick Berner, SPT


Patient Involvement During Clinical Decision-Making

      A research article I presented last year inspired this short blog. The study looked into patient collaboration during decision-making and whether or not patients wanted to be involved. The results indicated that a majority of patients preferred to be a part of making decisions for their intervention. However, the therapists in the study did not utilize this approach. I have included a link to the article if you wish to check it out.

       I believe a current misconception about therapy is that the therapist should be in total control of the intervention. This misconception occurs among all healthcare professions, not just physical therapy. A patient’s preferences or ideas should always be utilized in determining their care, but within reason of course. A skilled professional should know a patient’s limits. This approach is a great way to boost motivation and prevent noncompliance. Quality care needs to be a top priority among all professions and what better way to do that than giving patients what they want. 

       As for those of you reading who are in the patient’s shoes, don’t be shy. Speak up about things you would like to see done in your therapy session or treatment plan. Being involved will certainly improve your end result.

- Patrick Berner, SPT


Click here for the article.