Imagine going to the doctor with symptoms of depression and she hands you a new prescription: Do two sets of squats, 15 bicep curls, 10 laps around the track and call me in the morning. Though this is not (yet) an accurate picture, experts are starting to recognize that regular exercise is not only good for your mood but may help combat depression, too.
Until physicians and other healthcare providers universally prescribe exercise as an alternative treatment for depression, it’s best to turn to a group of professionals who are already in the know: physical therapists. PTs are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health illnesses like depression and understand how the disorder can interfere with a person’s ability to enjoy life.
An individualized care plan starts with a thorough assessment and detailed patient history so the PT can capture the limitations of the illness and understand the goals the patient would like to achieve. Each custom treatment plan includes some combination of flexibility, strength, coordination and balance exercises designed to achieve optimal physical function and to help shed the layers of depression.
For patients suffering from depression, it can be stressful and overwhelming to think about incorporating exercise into their lives either for the first time or after a long hiatus. Because the illness’ symptoms often include fatigue and loss of interest in activities, it can be difficult for patients to take that first step, both literally and figuratively. But physical therapists excel in motivating patients to perform exercises both safely and effectively. In fact, another bonus of seeing a physical therapist to get started on a new exercise program, is that he’s trained to identify other injuries or illnesses that require a special approach.
You don’t have to have depression to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, the mood-boosting pastime can help anyone who might be temporarily sad or otherwise not themselves. Major life stressors—divorce, loss of a job, and death—are difficult for anyone and regular exercise is a great way to help people through a tough time.
With regular exercise, you’re guaranteed to see improvements in the following areas:
• Strength and flexibility
Even minimal changes in any of these areas could change your outlook on the day and your ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed. So, what are you waiting for?
"Kristi gives me a great positive feeling; to feel good bout myself. I have never been able to keep up on a food journal- now its easy. My personal goals are to have a decreased pulse rate, be fit, and take care of my heart. I come in on Wednedays at 5 am. Sometimes its hard to ge tout of bed, but I know I am working with someone (Kristi) who I am accountable too. Kristi is always so pleasant and never makes me feel ashamed of myself. A2 is a great place, each person is so positive. You learn to feel better by getting your mind to feel better first…. Think positive! I love this place, I will recommend each personto A2 either for PT or personal training. You guys are #1!"
"I’ve had 4 surgeries with different physical therapy clinics and this was my favorite. I felt comfortable and felt like I mattered to my PT which was a good feeling. My progress was as I had expected and any time I had a question or concern it was always answered and my PT adjusted. If it needed to be to avoid the pain I had I didn’t feel pressured to have more PT appointments or pressured to do workouts that aggravated my pain. Thank you for your help! I think offering stem and ultrasound for every patient will be really beneficial. Great experience overall."
"I had a great time coming in to A2 every week. Everyone was really helpful and fun to be around. The exercises we did made a huge difference in getting my body and confidence back to shape. Next time I'm injured, I will know just where to go. Thank you!"