Exercise has been shown to improve brain function

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As physical therapists, we want to see you active and independent. One of the best ways to accomplish those goals is through exercise. Exercise can improve your sleep, strengthen bones, bolster your immune system, control weight, decrease falling risks, decrease anxiety, improve your stamina, improve digestion… and the list goes on. But, none more compelling is what exercise does for the mind. In fact, John J. Ratey, MD, a Harvard psychiatrist claims, “Exercise is for the brain, not the body.”


How does exercise help the brain? In the late 90’s neuroscientists found something previously thought impossible. The brain IS capable of creating new neurons: “neurogenesis”. Multiple complex biochemical and genetic cascades are enhanced by exercise and this is measurable in humans. David McCullough, MPT, COMT, and owner of Thunder Physical Therapy with 2 locations in Washington, emphasizes that “exercising 2-3 times per week with strengthening combined with 20 minutes of cardiovascular activity will improve your physical health as well as your mental health by releasing endorphins which improves your overall mental well-being.” So, if you ever find yourself trying to get out of exercising, remember that your brain needs it as much as your body does.

National Physical Therapy Month
The month of October is also National Physical Therapy Month, which is hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The APTA uses this month to recognize how physical therapists and physical therapy assistants help transform society by restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.

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Last year the APTA released the campaign “Fit after 50” and named the top 10 fittest Baby Boomer cities in America. The criteria included life expectancy, cardiovascular health and stress levels of Baby Boomers, as well as local health and fitness resources. This survey was administered to the top 50 largest US metro areas and your winners were…..

  1. 1. San Jose, CA
  2. 2. Minneapolis, MN
  3. 3. San Francisco, CA
  4. 4. Denver, CO
  5. 5. Boston, MA
  6. 6. Salt Lake City, UT
  7. 7. Washington, DC
  8. 8. Seattle, WA
  9. 9. San Diego, CA
  10. 10. Raleigh, NC

During this October the APTA will be focusing on a media campaign designed to debunk 7 of the most common myths about physical therapy. What do you think these are? Stay tuned for for the results!