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?
"William and I have been working out with Kristi on Saturday mornings for months now and we love it! We find the couples training so beautiful physically, mentally and relationally. Kristi not only challenges us with cardio and lifting but has introduced us to exercises that relate to balance and stretching. As we enter our 60’s we appreciate these balance routines and can see how it benefits our daily lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard William say, “I am not doing that, that’s a girl exercise!” and then later he’ll say “wow that was harder than I thought” or sometime that week he’ll bring up an exercise we do on Saturday and how it benefited him that day! Most importantly we have blast encouraging each other, competing with each other and having fun! We appreciate A2 and Kristi for providing a space for us to stay fit and have fun. We wish you all much success! Thank you"
− Pam and William
"I had a lot of fear after surgery, afraid that I would not regain mobility and strength. I feel that A2 helped me achieve a higher plateau of health, motion, and strength than I would’ve achieved elsewhere. Also, A2 has taught me the exercises to go even further, to strengthen and mobilize my shoulder. I fully trust A2 and will recommend them to all my friends, family, and coworkers. They have all treated both me and my wife with a gentle kindness that is rare today and have made us feel welcome in their care. Very professional, but with a sense of caring; that is how I would describe A2. I will miss them all and am very grateful to have been in their hands."
"A2 staff are friendly and informative. All my questions and concerns were addressed. I looked forward to my appointments because even if I didn’t see my progress, because it was so gradual, the staff here made sure to celebrate every move forward. I thought I’d always have a limp/never recover fully, but I was wrong!"