The benefits of a sound Exercise/Fitness TherapySM program fit into two categories: those yielded to the client and those yielded to the company. By benefiting the client, a sound rehabilitation program directly benefits those who employ that person. Some of the benefits to the employer include reduced absenteeism, lower insurance claims, healthier, injury-resistant, productive employees, and various others. For the client, benefits include being able to return to or continue to work and perform their personal daily activities in better overall physical and psychological health than before the injury.
Benefits for the Client
1 – PHYSICAL: Promotes Healing
Looking at Exercise/Fitness TherapySM through the eyes of the client, the most obvious benefit is the break-up of the monotony of Physical Therapy. This is not to say that Physical Therapy is not an important part of an individual’s rehabilitation process because it is. The difference is that Physical Therapy rehabilitates the individual after they have had surgery or an acute/severe injury and prepares them for the next level/phase which is Exercise/Fitness TherapySM.
The major physical benefit of Exercise/Fitness TherapySM for the client is the facilitation of the healing process. Injured tissue is stressed to ready itself to accept forces required during their job and in every day life, thus making the tissue stronger and more resilient. Without this type of rehabilitation, injured tissue is not stressed sufficiently to heal itself for job participation. During the healing process, the injured tissue must be stressed according to the manner in which it functions. Stress imparted on the tissue must be sufficient to encourage healing, but not so much as to inhibit healing.
Clients appreciate performing activities related to function and overall (health, wellness and fitness) general conditioning. Of course, they are also pleased to know that, by performing these skills, they are also facilitating the healing of the injured body part. Healing tissue responds to stress by reacting along the lines of the given stress. For optimum healing, tissue must be stressed gradually to accept a given force. If, during rehabilitation, the healing tissue is not stressed as it was before the injury, the tissue will not be ready to accept pre-injury requirements. Making the soft tissue accept this stress during rehabilitation will lead to the strengthening of the tissue. The same principle applies to healing bone.
2 – EDUCATIONAL:
Our Professional Personal Trainers, Exercise/Fitness TherapistsSM, Sports Specific Conditioning Specialists, Nutrition Specialists and Specialized Programs aim to “teach each client a complete education” on how to physically take care of themselves effectively for the rest of their lives through exercise and proper nutrition (good eating habits) to reach the best health, wellness and fitness levels they can achieve. Stretching, strengthening (weight bearing resistance exercises), coordination, balancing techniques, proper nutrition and cardiovascular conditioning are all used to promote overall health, wellness and fitness. The education that we teach during each appointment provides each client with the necessary knowledge to avoid injuries (injury prevention) in the future. We personally don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to prevent injuries, chronic conditions, diseases and disorders, learn how to look better, feel better, improve strength, flexibility and endurance levels and improve his or her overall health status. This not only makes Exercise/Fitness TherapySM necessary and interesting, but it is also extremely motivating, educational and entertaining.
Maximizing Post-Injury Performance
Post-injury performance enhancement is a major benefit of Exercise/Fitness TherapySM. During the successful completion of the Exercise/Fitness TherapySM program, the client graduates from simple skills and motions to more complex ones that closely mimic those performed on the job. The differences in the performance of a client who has not undergone adequate Exercise/Fitness TherapySM programming and one who has are readily apparent. Typically, inadequate strength, endurance, and agility in a given skill characterize the performance of an individual who has not taken part in this type of program. This is especially true as the degree of difficulty or the duration of a job is increased. The individual that returns prematurely to his/her job must favor the injured area and often ends up injuring either the same area again and/or an entirely different area, having to once again leave or be kept out of work. On the other hand, the client who has completed an Exercise/Fitness TherapySM program usually performs on the same level if not higher than before. Normal, unencumbered post-injury performance is the goal of the Exercise/Fitness TherapySM program.
Job performance is maximized by our ability to simulate a client’s job movements inside our facility. The final phase of our rehabilitation program involves direct simulation of the physical activity that the client will experience in their job. This is done through the use of machines and weight-bearing movements. Our controlled simulations are the safest, most effective way to insure the client’s readiness to return to work. In most cases, it is only at the end of the program that the client is allowed to perform their job-specific movements.
Listed below are just some of the problems that inspired Rochester based corporations, insurance companies, self-insured corporations and the public to seek us out and ask if we could design and develop the next step or phase of rehabilitation (Exercise/Fitness TherapySM) that could help eliminate a high percentage of these problems.
Once Physical Therapy sessions have been exhausted or the individual is at least considered well enough to go back to work, the client is given a program to continue on their own at home or in a fitness facility. This works fine right up until the client is released completely from Physical Therapy with only the suggested program to do on their own.
1) Will the individual actually continue their program on their own? Our research has shown that 80% to 90% of the individuals who finish physical therapy will not continue on their own. For the most part, these individuals are considered a re-injury just looking for a place to happen.
2) Even if they tried to continue on their own, the individual would not know how to evaluate their current status or how to advance (upgrade) their program. The adjustments and upgrades (changes) to the programs must complement the individual’s personal daily activities and specific job description. Therefore, when and if they were to try to continue on their own, there is not only a great chance of re-injury, there is also a chance they may injure another body part.
3) Injuries often take much longer than 8 to 12 weeks to completely rehabilitate. In fact, many injuries can take as long as 8 to 12-18 months to fully recover. This does not mean that an individual can’t go back to work until they are completely recovered from their injury. What it does mean is that with out the proper guidance most individuals will never reach the full capabilities of the injured area. A certain percentage will re-injure the same area and a smaller percentage will injure another area of their body. None of the above is good.
4) When an individual is injured, his or her daily activities (work and personal) are not only altered but often come to a complete stop for an undetermined amount of time. Therefore, most individuals become sedentary, gain weight (body fat), lose muscles tissue, strength, flexibility, endurance and fall farther and farther out of shape (de-conditioned).
NOTE: Regardless of your job description or personal hobbies/activities, the situations mentioned above are not good on multiple levels, especially for those individuals whose job is physically demanding (labor intense). For these individuals, over a period of time, the job itself “physically” conditions their bodies (improves strength, flexibility and endurance). When an individual becomes injured and is out of work for a period of time or can no longer perform their regular job requirements at work, they become de-conditioned by simply not doing their job and are now out of shape, accident-prone and a place for injuries looking to happen. If these individuals are sent back to work prematurely (in a de-conditioned state), the quality and capacity of work will be nowhere near what it was prior to the injury. Do to the facts mentioned above, a percentage of these individuals will not only re-injure themselves, there is better than a fair chance they may also injure other areas of their body.
These are just a few of the problems that Exercise/Fitness TherapySM can help individuals and employers avoid. This is when Exercise/Fitness TherapySM is “At Its Best and Shines the Brightest!”
Psychological Benefits for the Client
It has become a widely accepted concept that the psyche of an injured client deserves as much attention as the body. Helping the client return to his or her job with confidence after an injury is a major concern.
3 – PSYCHOLOGICAL: Minimizing the Stress of Being Injured
As if the physical problems the client must deal with after an injury are not enough, he or she must confront the psychological ones as well. Being removed from their job after an injury can be devastating. For some clients, their job is one of the most important things in their lives. Taking this away from such a client can completely disrupt his or her life. So, of course, the sooner they can resume normal activities, the better their peace of mind.
Not all cases are this drastic. For most clients, their job is an important part of their lives, but not their entire existence. Most will, however, experience similar psychological responses when removed from their job due to injury. Questions, such as “What will I be like?” and “Will I be able to function?” are normal, and will be answered through the course of the Exercise/Fitness TherapySM program. Job endeavors, especially in the work setting, provide the client with a comfort zone, which injury removes them from. It is in their best interest to return to their job as soon as possible. The camaraderie of coworkers is one of the many positives of their job. When one is injured and no longer able to interact with others in a work environment, he/she may feel deprived. We must be sure to address their psychological as well as their physical needs.
Returning a client to the regular work environment as soon as possible minimizes the stress of not fitting in or of missing out due to injury. It is important, however, to remember that the client must be sufficiently rehabilitated before returning to their job can even be considered.
Just as feelings of deprivation are normal for the injured client, feelings of uncertainty are also as common. During rehabilitation, the injured client has to wonder how their post-rehabilitative function will compare to their pre-injury function. Extraneous pressures may be placed on the client to recover to maintain their position and/or standing at their place of work.
As the client responds to rehabilitation, functionally progressive activities are introduced that prepare the client for their return to work. It goes without saying that preparation enhances confidence. If the client tolerates a graduated series of progressively difficult drills well, their self-confidence will improve right along with the specific work functions. The ideal Exercise/Fitness TherapySM program will prepare one for any situation that they may encounter after returning to their job. The key is having the client tackle each of the steps in our controlled, supervised rehabilitation program before being asked to perform on the job. The client can then re-enter their job with confidence that they will be able to function to working standards.
Benefits for the Company
As you can see, there is a multitude of ways that the Benefits for the Client result in benefiting the Company. But let’s examine two more benefits that you will receive as a result of your employees’ involvement in Exercise/Fitness TherapySM.
1 – Gauges of Progress:
One of the major benefits of Exercise/Fitness TherapySM is that it enables you to gauge the progress of your client’s tolerance to functional activity. We can give you an accurate assessment of the client’s tolerance to a given activity. Tolerance is the measuring stick.
2 – Establishes a Bridge to Participation:
Exercise/Fitness TherapySM also provides a work-specific bridge from our rehabilitation programs to work participation. This is essential as healing tissue needs job-specific activity to ready itself for job participation. A series of activities based on function is offered in order to facilitate the client’s transition from the acquisition of clinic-based goals to work-specific goals. The client’s tolerance of this program can give you a better idea of when he or she will be able to safely return to work.
Robert J. Bovee Certified Master PPT, RTS, ETS, FTS, LMS, WMS, HWFS, SNS, SSCS, MES, E/FT, PSCS, PRCS