Farmington Hills, MI (October 29, 2007)--- Larry Pender knows first-hand the importance of transitioning from a physical therapy program to a fitness program for achieving optimal health. In September 2006, Pender spent three and a half weeks in a coma as a result of meningitis. After he came out of the coma, he had occupational therapy twice a day until he was able to make it out of bed by himself. He soon progressed to using a walker and in January 2007 he was able to go home and walk with a cane.
Shortly after this, Pender experienced pain in his back. An MRI revealed that he had a pinched nerve. He was then referred to Botsford's Total Rehabilitation and Athletic Conditioning Center (TRACC) for physical therapy. Twelve sessions at TRACC helped him maintain his balance and control his pain. After therapy, Pender decided he wanted to regain the strength he had prior to his coma. He decided, with the recommendation of his physical therapist, to join the Botsford Center for Health Improvement to continue a fitness regimen and currently has 80 percent of his strength back.
Pender is one of many that are moving from physical therapy to a planned fitness program. The transition from physical therapy to fitness is essential to achieving optimal health. While in physical therapy, a person is in a state of rehabilitation and repair, and the focus of the treatment is very specific to reaching a goal of becoming pain free or being able to meet functional needs of daily living. For most people, optimal health is more than just being pain free or functionally capable of completing activities of daily living (taking a shower, personal grooming and hygiene, working, housekeeping, etc.), rather it means feeling energized, strong and maintaining a disease-free state. Therefore, once the body is rehabbed and repaired, the person must strive to reach a higher quality of living through regular, purposeful exercise.
Monica Pagels, Manager of the Botsford Center for Health Improvement, says, "Successfully making that transition from functional to fitness often requires assistance of a professional who understands the physiology of the body and who can incorporate alternative exercises to address any specific weaknesses into a quality exercise program that will progress as the individual's fitness improves. This transition to fitness is essentially a broader focus than physical therapy with goals to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and tone, flexibility, posture and balance and mental health."
A progressive exercise plan is typically 8 to 12 weeks in duration with a re-evaluation of the individual's fitness level at the conclusion. At that time, new goals and a more challenging exercise plan can be set. Unlike physical therapy, a fitness program has no end date. The fitness programs should be monitored regularly and updated every two to three months until a performance standard is reached.
So, what are Pender's future goals? "My next goal is to get back to my golf game."
Botsford Hospital, an independent 330-bed community hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., was founded in 1965. Nationally recognized for quality, safety and medical education programs, Botsford has received the 2006 Governor's Award for Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in the Hospital Setting, and, in 2007, a three-year recertification as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Botsford's Web address is www.botsford.org.
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