Obesity prevention may not be the first thing that comes to mind when the topic is “physical therapy.” But the profession has a lot of information to offer on the subject, said Pam Perry, Rehab Services director at Central Kansas Medical Center.
October is National Physical Therapy Month and CKMC is following the lead of a national organization by concentrating on preventing and combating obesity. The American Physical Therapy Association is urging families to adopt healthy habits during the special month.
CKMC’s Rehab Services is distributing literature and healthy snacks to support this nationwide effort.
“During October, we are focusing on helping those who want to burn a few calories and learn more about proper nutrition,” Perry said. “We have many suggestions that are available for the asking.
“Our physical therapists are committed to fighting obesity and its consequences,” Perry added. “We want to help people commit to being physically active, no matter their age or physical ability.”
It is much easier for everyone if the whole family is involved in adopting healthy lifestyles, Perry commented. If children see parents making physical activity a priority, they will follow suit.
“Children and adults who participate in daily physical activity and follow a balanced diet enjoy many benefits,” Perry said. “These include cardiovascular fitness and greater bone mass and strength. Weight management is the fringe benefit.
“Physical therapists help families balance their priorities,” Perry added. “We can help them find ways to incorporate physical activity in children’s playtime, family leisure activities and daily routines.”
In addition, there are a number of simple ways to burn in the neighborhood of 200 calories in 30 minutes to an hour, Perry noted.
These include joining children in a game of hopscotch followed by jumping on the trampoline; bowling; playing a lively game of charades; uprooting pesky weeds and planting new seedlings; re-arranging furniture; and washing the family car.
“All of these activities can help burn extra calories that would turn into extra pounds over time,” Perry said. “Our therapists also can recommend several exercises that you can do while sitting in a chair.”
These chair exercises include leg squeezes, raising and lowering arms, abdominal twists, bicep curls and leg extensions.
“Not only can you burn a few calories, these activities are good for strength, balance and conditioning,” Perry said. “They also show that you don’t need fancy home equipment to be active. And walking is always a good way to keep moving.”
Rehab Services’ staff include Kim Sefton, Jody Vesper and Tamara Dody, physical therapists; Jessica Poe and Robert Givens, physical therapist assistants; and Kelsey Hickel, physical therapy technician.