October 29 marks the beginning of Obesity Week—time to celebrate!
Wait, we’re celebrating?
Yes! Because Obesity Week is the annual gathering of scientists, researchers, and medical professionals committed to improving the way we approach, treat, and overcome obesity. Despite the overwhelming statistics surrounding obesity, this condition can be treated, and physical therapists often play a key role in implementing effective programs that deliver life-changing results.
We’re like high-energy obesity gurus.
So. Many. Reasons. PTs can help patients living with obesity ease chronic pain, be comfortable during exercise, and help create a more positive outlook on life.
It’s More Than Burning Calories
Forget boilerplate recommendations with two predictable bullet points (1. eat well, 2. burn calories). Dig deeper into the details! Start with Body Mass Index (BMI) and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), two numbers that clients can take home with them and focus on as they work toward their goals. Introducing the calories in, calories out (CICO) principle, alongside specific diet recommendations, often translates into more consistent results.
Simple, right? But results are what physical therapists are really after, things like reduced pain, better progress during therapy, and improved self-esteem. When clients can see the potential results of their efforts in the gym and kitchen, they’re more likely to buy in. After all, losing fat is like any other condition—it requires a specific and comprehensive approach! Creating value by communicating specific results is a great place to start.
Like Diet, Like Movement – A Tailored Approach
Of course, dietary recommendations should be implemented in tandem with a movement program fine-tuned for obese patients—think synergy. Safe, effective physical activity for people of all ages and abilities is what we’re after as physical therapists. So, we need to ask ourselves what specific conditions we’re targeting: muscle weakness and gait imbalances? Tightness and restricted mobility? Maybe it’s poor posture and bad mechanics. Whatever it is, we need to tailor our approach.
Take the Load Off!
And it starts with reducing body-weight impact, a roadblock that commonly prevents PT programs from getting off the ground. Fear not! Physical therapists are masters in pain-free exercise. This could mean a walking program for the obese, an aquatic therapy program, or the use of innovative load-reducing tools like the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Whatever takes out the increased stress obesity puts on joints, tendons, and organs.
Physical therapy is a big part of #OW2017. With an informed, positive, and upbeat approach to the programs they design for obese patients, PTs can effectively reduce pain, improve strength and movement, and work toward a program that is less of a chore, and more of a life-changing passion—a program that helps patients reach weight-loss goals in the safest, fastest, most effective way possible.
And that’s what Obesity Week 2017 is all about.