Wellfie Wednesday Tip #120: It Starts with "Connect"

Happy WellfieWednesday! Welcome back! This week comes with a personal blog story from Patrick (@TheFuelPhysio) and It Starts with “Connect.” So without getting into a long explanation and back story, “connect” is one of the five human elements adopted by APHPT from Pro-Activity. And it is essentially the relationships/bonds/connections you have with family, friends, colleagues, and communities.

A week and a half ago I ended up partaking in something crazy… maybe more than crazy. It was initially a call to action and actually DOING rather than preaching good health behaviors. I also thought it was a good reason to see some friends and colleagues, have a few beers, and hang out. But it was more than that.

The initial spark came from this past Summer of Move and a flame was lit when learning that in 1908 President Roosevelt issued a directive (Executive Order 989) requiring that officers of all military branches be able to complete “a march of 50 miles, to be made in three consecutive days and in a total of 20 hours, including rests, the march on any one day to be during consecutive hours.” Years later, President Kennedy in a Sport’s Illustrated piece titled “The Soft American,” stated that “physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity” and that “physical fitness is the basis of all the activities of our society.” JFK than thought that those 50 miles should be covered in ONE day. Lucky we went with TR’s version and the craziness became known as “The Teddy.”

The plan for the weekend was to run a half marathon on Saturday, a half marathon on Sunday (as part of Hunterdon, NJ’s Main Street Event), and than a full marathon on Monday, utilizing the Main Street course throughout Clinton and Flemington, New Jersey, and putting us at approximately 52 miles, if completed.

Now… I’m in no way a distance runner, my primary choice of planned exercise is strength training and living in hotter temperatures makes it a tad difficult to train for distance runs during the summer months. And before this attempt my farthest run EVER was a 10K, and I like using the kilometer version because it sounds better than 6.2 miles… So needless to say, with work and other obligations, I showed up in New Jersey without having really trained, which was about the dumbest thing I could have done.

But still, 4 of us set out that Saturday morning to start “The Teddy.” First few miles went great, certainly easier with motivation by your side. I slowed down significantly at about the half-way point, but we finished day one, I ran the farthest I had ever run. I was stoked! But hurting… significantly. And we had only completed a fourth of what we set out to do. The afternoon and evening were rough, and as any crazy healthcare provider, I started self diagnosing myself with a multitude of things. I of course had several places suffering from some sort of tendonopathy, probably a few stress fractures in my left foot, and was highly convinced of bilateral tibial plateau fractures. Not to mention I did have actually blisters on my second toe and heels. Walking was difficult…

The next morning was of course the next half marathon, and a real one at that with bibs, timing devices, and hundreds of others. So I pushed through and ran again. Everything… and I mean everything was painful after that. But hey, I finished another half marathon. Though that evening was rough; so rough that even heel slides were about my limit.

But Monday came around as it always does and it was time to complete the other HALF of “The Teddy.” Even with an additional friend (full of new energy), it wasn’t enough to have me run again. Though I was determined to hit 50 miles. So I ENDURED it… for 8 and half hours, until my milage hit the mark. I had done it! But most likely significantly “broke” or “injured” something. Getting off the plane that evening was about the most difficulty thing, ankles swollen like you couldn’t believe, again self diagnosing… surely a blood clot this time.

The week following was rough… Tuesday I had to cut down my patient caseload because walking and standing were so painful. But I knew of the human body’s resilience and if I continued to move and actively recovery I would come out the other end, as I have! Maybe at about 95% now.

Throughout the weekend I heavily experienced all five of Pro-Activity’s human elements, MOVE, FUEL, RECOVER, ENDURE, CONNECT. But everything started with CONNECT. It was the CONNECT that put me in New Jersey. It was the CONNECT of my APHPT tribe and my Physical Therapy community that supported my body can MOVE this way. It was the CONNECT of those in Jersey that ensured proper FUEL and RECOVER was had, whether it be eating enough or getting enough sleep. And it was the CONNECT, support, and motivation that helped me ENDURE the weekend.


Remember that the human body is RESILIENT! And with CONNECT anything is possible! Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@FreestylePhysio@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-WW Crew

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #58: Change Talk: Six Sources of Influence

     Happy Wellfie Wednesday! A few weeks ago, Aaron discussed #ScienceSecrets for health and longevity. The point of that post (#SPOILERALERT) was that knowledge alone is not enough to change behavior. Willpower alone is also not powerful enough to change behavior. So, what are the key ingredients to behavior change? That’s the topic of today’s post!

    Humans are hard. We’re amazingly complex in every facet of our being. Our behaviors are no different. Even our most mindless actions are the result of several sources of influence. Unveiling the sources of influence that affect our behavior can simplify our complicated lives. More importantly, awareness of these influences allow us to address each for a comprehensive behavior change plan. So, let’s reveal six sources of influence.

From the book Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success

1 & 2: Personal Motivation and Ability

     Willpower is usually where behavior change starts and often where it ends. Think about the times you’ve tried to make a lifestyle change. What inspired you to act? Was your motivation strong? If you got all the way to action, it’s likely your motivation was indeed strong! Which can then make it all the more upsetting when we fail to sustain our efforts.  Don’t fall into the willpower trap. Strong desire can be the spark that gets the fire started, but we need more than motivation to keep the fire burnin’.  

     So, tap into your personal motivation. Dig deep to find out what’s driving your desire for change. And get weird. I mean use descriptive language and paint a vivid picture of what the future looks like if you don’t change versus if you do change. Then, add some skill to your will. Be mindful of crucial moments. These are moments where you are most tempted to behave in ways that contradict your best intentions. Develop sayings and rules to follow during these crucial moments. Turn bad days into good data. Remember, progress over perfection. 

3 & 4: Social Motivation and Ability

     Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “You are the average of the five people closest to you.” There is some truth to this. Humans are social beings. Much of our behaviors are influenced by our social connections. For example, obesity is in part a social disease. Sometimes our close friends might actually be accomplices to unhealthy behaviors. Recognizing this is half the battle. The other half can be more challenging. Crucial conversations can turn accomplices into friends. These discussions may be difficult to have, and you can’t expect everyone to support your change efforts. Ultimately, you may need to separate yourself from the unwilling. At the same time, you can discover new friends and support groups to encourage you. Think about a game of tug-of-war. You want as many people pulling towards your side to increase your chances of success. 

5 & 6: Structural Motivation and Ability

     The last sources of influence deal with our economy and environment. Humans are incredibly intelligent, and yet, indubitably irrational. That’s a lot of “I’s” (Shout out to the synonym function on Microsoft word). Our behavior is often influenced more by short-term pleasure than long-term consequences. Inverting the economy improves our likelihood to perform beneficial behaviors. Incentivize good behaviors, and raise the price on bad behaviors. Importantly, your incentives don’t need to be big. Your intrinsic motivation should be the primary incentive. Also, put some skin in the game. Humans are far more motivated to avoid loss than to receive a similar gain. In fact, there is a website dedicated to this “loss aversion” strategy https://www.stickk.com/ with all sorts of success stories.

     Finally, consider your environment. Our environment has an enormous influence on our behavior. It often works its powerful influence in subtle ways. For example, a larger plate size encourages us to eat larger portions. Similarly, the built environment has an influence on how physically active we are. The key is to first become aware of how your environment affects your behavior. Then, change your space to support your goals. Distance yourself from temptation. While “Out of sight, out of mind” may not always work, it will be much more successful than having frequent stare downs with temptation. Enhance your environment by providing visual cues of desired behaviors. For example, having your gym clothes already laid out in the morning may cue you to get up and put them on rather than keeping them in the closet. Write down your change plan. The simple act of writing it down dramatically increases your chances of success. It will also allow you to make changes. Expect to make changes. We are rarely successful with behavior change on our first attempt.  


     The goal of all the above is make the healthy choice the easy choice. Addressing all six sources of influence will greatly increase your likelihood of success. Check out the short YouTube video below to find out more! Reach out to the #WellfieWednesday crew and let us know what you’re working to change! Thanks for reading, and best of luck to you! And be sure to tag the WW crew members in your post (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

Change Anything Stats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBIQLmESeU8&t=2s 

- WW Crew

Wellness Wednesday Tip #49: Personalize Your Fitness

Welcome back! Happy Wellfie Wednesday! 

     Following last week's post, Fitness vs Fatness, we wanted to keep the theme of Fitness going and highlight the benefit of choosing to do something you love. This week is brought to you by Aimee.

     All too often we have some new fitness trend or workout that makes its way through the ‘inter-webs’ that claims to have helped a person lose 10 pounds in one week (okay so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but you know what I mean!) The reality is that while this might have worked for one person, or even a few hundred people it doesn’t mean that you have to do it, especially if you’re not the slightest bit interested!

     I think it’s safe to say that we know fitness is important for our health, but the question always remains “what should I do?” The answer here is: Do What You Enjoy! I cannot stress enough how important it is to find some sort of activity that you love because you are much more likely to stick with it!

     This is not to say that you should disregard weekly recommendations for strength training and aerobic exercise, but more to promote that if you can find an activity that meets some of those requirements, it bodes well for your long term success!

Here are 10 of my favorite activities:

1. Walking

2. Running

3. Hiking

4. Yoga

5. Basketball

6. Soccer

7. Golf

8. Obstacle course racing

9. CrossFit

10. Stand up paddle boarding

     My challenge to you this week: find an activity you love, take a picture of you doing the activity, and post it with #WellfieWednesday in hopes that we can inspire the masses to personalize their fitness!

     Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@fitnerdaimee@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew