5 Reasons to Run Your First 5k

You have goals to get in shape, but you hit the snooze button instead of hitting the gym. If that sounds familiar, you're not alone. It's not uncommon to experience a major difference in your fitness goals versus your fitness realities. A great way to stay on track is to sign up for a race. Once its on paper its much more likely to happen, but if crossing that finish line seems like a lot more than 3.1 miles away, think again. Here are 5 reasons to make a spring 5k your top goal:

1. Running is an awesome workout. Even if you're just starting out, you'll burn some serious calories, raise your heart rate, get the blood flowing, and relieve stress.
2. It's a short race. It might not seem like it on day 1, but in just 8 short weeks you can train for a 5k and triumphantly cross the finish line.
3. Running makes you happy. A runner's high is real and its caused by the endocrine system in your body. If you're having a bad day, lace up your sneakers and pound the pavement. After a few minutes you'll feel so much better than you would have, had you stayed home and eaten a pint of ice cream.

4. Support a great cause. Most organized runs are attached to a specific charity or notable cause. How often do you get the chance to break a sweat, achieve a personal goal, and support a great cause?
5. Crossing the finish line is exhilarating!

How Do I Get Started?
Glad you asked. A couch to 5k program, like our new RunFit 5k training program is great way to start the journey. You'll be training with a fun group of people who are all beginners, too. Each week we'll progress in speed and distance, all under the guidance of sports rehab experts. At the end of our 8 week session, we'll run a 5k together. The feeling you get when you cross that finish line is indescribable, and everyone is there to share in that special moment. If running a 5k is something you never thought you'd be able to do, think again. You can do this, and the time is now. Our RunFit 5k Training Program is starting soon in Grand Rapids and Wayland. Sign up today!

A Safe Start Exercise Plan

If you've taken a long break from a fitness routine or are starting up for the first time, its important to start slowly so you can make forward progress and avoid injury. We often see patients who are just a few days or weeks into a new fitness routine and they've started off a little ahead of themselves. Some were excited and others tried to start at the level which they previously left off. The injuries that occur are typically healed after just a few visits, but this definitely puts them much further behind on their fitness goals.

By starting a program under the guidance of a physical therapist or personal trainer, we can help you identify muscles that are weak and tight, ultimately locating those areas that are susceptible to injury.

In the video below, fellow APTA physical therapist Robert Gillanders will show you a series of exercises that are designed to help you ease into an exercise program. Take a look and if you have any questions on these or other exercises, don't hesitate to contact us.

Feeling Good After A Total Knee Replacement

Ask any of our therapists and they'll tell you one of the main reasons they love our profession is because of our ability to help people feel good. No one should have to live in discomfort so when we can take a painful situation and turn it around, we're thrilled. We recently got the chance to work with a patient named Barb who had undergone knee surgery. Upon her discharge she took some time to tell us about her experience. Thank you, Barb, it was absolutely our pleasure to be able to help you!

"Following a surgery that left me with a total knee replacement, I needed physical therapy to help me get back to life and work. I was hoping to find a facility close to home to make the process easier. Northern Physical Therapy was there for me - locally owned and close to home. Getting started was rather easy, and within days the healing process began. I worked with a select few physical therapists who helped me regain mobility, stability, and strength in both my knees. The end process led me back to work, living life the way I had been before the surgery, only this time I was living pain free. Throughout my process at Northern Physical Therapy my expectations were met beyond what I could have imagined. I would gladly refer others to your facility - the therapists went above and beyond to make sure my experience was a positive one. The staff was very caring, fun to work with, and always there when I needed that extra push. Thank you Northern Physical Therapy!"
- Barb Pillow, Coopersville Patient

Fitness Frenzy with WZZM and My West Michigan

While some people may have already forgotten their New Year's resolutions, we still have fitness on our minds. Since our Wayland Fitness Center Open House is this Thursday, we invited Catherine Behrendt and the crew from WZZM's My West Michigan to stop by the Wayland Fitness Center for a tour and to get some tips on using a stability ball for exercising - at home, at work, and in the gym.

Janis is demonstrating how to use the ball to stabilize your core, and work your arm muscles.

John showed how the exercise ball can be used in place of an office chair. This method enhances balance while keeping your core engaged. In the background you'll see Keith preparing to use the stability ball to increase the intensity of his push ups.

You can see the segment in its entirety below, or click here. And if you have any questions on how to use stability balls, or fitness in general, feel free to get in touch!

You can also check out our previous segments on My West Michigan where we talked about the 3 minute exercise routine
concussions in student athletes and senior health.

How to Use an Exercise Ball :: 3 Ways

Exercise balls, also known as fitness balls or stability balls, are often seen in fitness classes, weight rooms and many home gyms. Because of their versatility and the many benefits they provide, they're also used as a part of therapy by everyone from young kids to older adults. When you know how to use an exercise ball properly, they can make any exercise more challenging and provide additional benefits throughout your entire workout.

In addition to developing muscle tone for the entire body, an exercise ball can also help with spinal stability and back pain, rehabilitation in the hips and knees, increasing stability in your core, strengthening your posture, and aiding in muscle balance. Additional benefits include improving flexibility and a creating a workout for your cardiovascular system.

Here are 3 fitness ball exercises that can be done as a set to work various parts of your body.

Squat With An Exercise Ball
Works the quads and glute muscles
· Place the exercise ball between the wall and the curve of your lower back
· Stand with feet shoulder width apart
· Bend knees and lower 5-10 inches, keeping hips square
· Hold this position for 5 seconds then stand up

Ab Knee Curls
Works the abdominal muscles
· Place the exercise ball near your feet while in the push-up position
· Place your lower shins on top of the ball so that you're in the push-up position with your shins resting on the ball
· While keeping your back straight and upper body stationary, pull your knees in towards your chest, allowing the ball to roll forward under your ankles
· Squeeze your abs and hold that position for 2-3 seconds
· Slowly straighten your legs, rolling the ball back to the start position

Sideways Arm Walk with Exercise Ball
Works your core and arm muscles
· Place the exercise ball near your feet while in the push-up position
· Place your lower shins on top of the ball so that you're in the push-up position with your shins resting on the ball
· While keeping your back straight and legs stationary, walk your arms to the right and then to the left

If you have questions on how to use your exercise ball, or would like to leaner additional exercises, our fitness team would be happy to help you. Contact us at the nearest physical therapy clinic or fitness center with any questions you have. 

New Healthy Cooking Class in Wayland

Join chef Jennifer Antel for this special health-based cooking class that teaches you new ways to prepare your family's favorite meals, each will be affordable and healthy! February 3-24 / Wednesdays 6:00-7:00 pm. This class is $20 for all 4 weeks, or $8 per session. 

Week 1 : Power Cooking Cook once and serve three times! Learn how to make three easy, quick and healthy meals for your family for under $2.00 a serving. You'll learn how to plan ahead and cook once but have three meals. One meal will be made but you will get recipes for all three.
Week 2 : Pasta It's not just for spaghetti anymore! Want fresh, new ideas for those busy family nights? Learn three new pasta recipes, all made with fresh ingredients in under 30 minutes! This week's featured recipe is Chicken Risotto.
Week 3 : Tacos Your Way Tired of the same old thing? Mix it up! We're learning three simple and quick recipes for tacos, your way! Learn to make a new taco recipe and take 3 copies of recipes home.
Week 4 : Guilty Pleasures How about taste without the guilt?! Learn to make fabulous appetizers and tantalizing desserts that won't have you feeling guilty!

Classes take place at the Wayland Middle School Life Skills classroom (Rm D122). To register call 269.792.0011 or click here. Note, you will be taken to the Wayland Community School's website.

A 3 Minute Workout for New Years Resolutions

The new year is almost here, and many people have a resolution to get in shape and lose weight. Gina Otterbein and Julie Blodgett stopped by the WZZM studios to talk with Kim Carson of My West Michigan. They shared tips on getting started with a fitness program, demonstrated a 3 minute workout you can do anywhere, and talked about how to stick with your new fitness plan.

Because many people don't start a fitness routine because they feel they don't have enough time, we demonstrated a 3 minute workout that can be done anywhere. And, its customizable to all fitness levels, so if you're just starting out or if you're a seasoned pro - these exercises are still great for you.

You can view the entire segment here.

You can also check out our previous segments on My West Michigan where we talked about concussions in student athletes and senior health.

1/2 Off Annual Membership at Northview Fitness Center

If starting a fitness program is one of your New Year's resolutions, we've got a deal for you. Annual memberships are going to be half off at the Northview Fitness Center from January 4-17. Membership includes use of the fitness center, lap swim, and the indoor walking track. Plus, we're also a Silver&Fit participant.

Northview District Residents Annual Price January 4-17

Adults are just $120 and seniors ages 65+ are only $90! This is a fantastic price and will be our best deal of the year so be sure to stop by the fitness center to get signed up.

Fitness Classes Starting Soon
Yoga, boot camp, and water aerobics are starting in January. Get details and register here

The promotion for $120 and $90 is half off our monthly membership x 12.

New Year New You Open House at Wayland Fitness Center

We're so excited to announce the New Year, New You community open house at the Wayland Community Fitness Center on January 14 from 5-7pm. It's family-friendly so bring the kids along!

We'll have some really great meet and greets with elite athletes Gina Otterbein and Griff Griffin, who will be sharing their experiences and training tips and providing personal motivation. Gina is a triathlete and marathon runner who has qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Griff decided to be a triathlete 5 years ago at the age of 52 after having been a remarkably poor athlete in high school. Since then she's represented Team USA in 4 world championships at the sprint distance.

Attendees will also have the chance to visit with several local wellness vendors who'll be featuring free samples and products available at discounted prices. Businesses include Northern Physical Therapy, Vitamin World, Gazelle Sports, Inbalance Health Protein Bars.

Matt Casterline, PT and personal trainer, will be on hand providing free Functional Movement Screenings, which are used by many of today's top professional athletes including those in the NFL. You'll also have a chance to win an annual fitness center membership, a free 3 month membership, a free 1 hour massage and lots of other great stuff! Tour the facility, learn about upcoming programs like personal training, group fitness classes, swim lessons and receive FREE fitness advice from expert staff!

The fitness center is equipped with treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes for cardio.  There are pin-selected equipment, plate-loaded machines, weights, and fully loaded platform racks to experience a total body workout. The fitness center is located on the far west side of the Wayland Union High School at 870 E. Superior. To contact the Fitness and Aquatics Director, John Charon via email 269-792-0011.

We're Talking Senior Health and Driving on WZZM and My West Michigan

We all have parents, grandparents or friends that we care deeply for and we want to see them living a long and healthy life. As therapists we can have a positive impact in this stage of life. Gina and Lyn were recently invited to the My West Michigan studios at WZZM to talk about this very topic.

We had the opportunity to chat with Catherine Behrendt about how changes in our physical and mental capacities effect our driving skills as we age. Our DriveFit driver assessment program is done in the clinic to help older adults stay on the road as long as possible, in the safest manner.

We talked about warning signs, equipment that can be used to assist older drivers, and how we can help. Watch the segment in its entirety here. 

If you have questions on DriveFit, or warning signs when it comes to a loved one and their driving habits, contact us at the clinic nearest you. You can also check out our other WZZM segment on athletes and concussions here.