Summer Activities for Kids on WZZM's My West Michigan

Summer break is right around the corner and the last thing you want is the hear the kids say is, “I’m bored!” This morning we got the chance to stop by the studios of WZZM's My West Michigan to talk with Catherine Behrendt about beating the summer blahs and keeping kids active and injury-free all summer long!

Diana Painter and Gina Otterbein talk with Catherine Behrendt of WZZM Grand Rapids

We were excited to be able to share our summer kids programs, including Boot Camp, Handwriting Clinic, Swim Lessons, and RunCamp. We're offering great discounts for RunCamp right now - sign up by July 1 you can save $20 with the early bird discount code RUN. Plus, groups of 5 or more can sign up for just $75 per student! Get details on all the current kids programs here.

Check out the entire segment below, and if you have any questions on kids injuries or summer programs, feel free to give us a call.

Check out our previous segments on My West Michigan where we talked about pelvic healthweight lossusing an exercise ball, the 3 minute exercise routine, concussions in student athletes and senior health

Crossing the Boston Marathon Off Her Bucket List

By Gina Otterbein, Co-Owner, Physical Therapist, and Athlete

It's true what they say - you get hooked on running, and the journey becomes one that you just can't shake. The Boston Marathon was on my bucket list and that experience will be with me forever. People often say running is 90% mental, and I agree. Sure, there's a lot of training, miles, and planning for the big day, but truly my inspiration, energy and mental focus are what propelled me forward, especially when the race got tough - and it got tough. 

I didn't start running until 2007. I had an energetic dog that needed to release some energy and morning walks seemed to do the trick. My kids were still young and I didn't have a lot of time so I started to jog at the end of our walks so I could make it home to start my day. From there I gradually began running more and more and by the time I was in my 40's I was pretty serious about the sport.

As my running habits progressed I could see Boston at the end of the tunnel. I qualified for the race at the Bayshore Marathon and finished with a personal record of 3:39. Boston would ultimately become my 4th marathon. My training program leading up to the race was pretty intense, but I loved every bit of it. I always tell others that while the road is long, you still have to listen to your body, rest, and recover, or you will get hurt or sick. There is a limit and if you keep pushing the limit or never have a down period, you'll struggle to progress.

Gina is pictured with a Northern patient, Erika, who also completed the Boston Marathon. 

The Big Race - Boston, Here We Come!
The entire Boston experience was jaw dropping for this country girl, and a week that I'll never forget. The race itself is so big, but it's run so smoothly that you could almost forget there were 27,000 other people racing right along with you. The energy was intense all week long and the city was so alive. My first night there I went out for a run and suddenly I was in the middle of a running flash mob involving a guy with a mic, a boom box, and 200+ runners who just rolled along. Now that was cool. The support of the town was amazing too - strangers congratulated me, and people were genuinely excited about the race.

Race Time
My mantra has always been "Faith Overcomes Fear" so when the race gets tough you need to be able to rely on what you know to get through it - this is exactly what happened at Boston. It was not the run I had hoped for, but nonetheless, was an awesome experience with challenges, lessons learned, inspiration and a lot of Faith.

I'd been in the Dominican Republic about a week before the race and although I didn’t “drink the water”, my body just didn't adjust well to the food and the GI issues stayed with me for a few weeks. I started the race feeling ready mentally, but my body had other plans. I've never experienced trouble like this in a race so it was a new challenge to overcome. I kept the faith, adjusted my goals, learned from the experience and fortunately recovered quickly with no injuries. The hardest part of this entire process was staying focused and positive when bad things happened. But at the end of the day I can say that despite the ups and downs I completed the Boston Marathon, and that's a great feeling.

Post Race
After the race I was sore for about 3 days, but beyond that I actually feel really good. I took some time to rest and within five days I was running without pain and it felt great. I've been working with one of our physical therapists who specializes in runner rehabilitation and she's been helpful in getting my strength back and working with me on my form and quality of running. I also took advantage of our massage therapist and that's been really helpful, too. We have a great team of therapists that I can go to anytime.

What's Next?
The Fifth Third Riverbank run is this weekend and I'll be running the 25k. Beyond that I'll start focusing my efforts on a few triathlons this summer. I'll definitely do Boston again, I loved it and want to beat my time from this year.

Think You Want to Run?
I didn't start until well into adulthood, so I say it's never too late. I tell people to be realistic and set your goals with enough time to complete them. I gradually picked up my training over 2 years before my first marathon and 3 years before my first triathlon. Sure you can do it faster, but if you want to prevent injury and continue to have fun, take your time. Be able to adjust your goals based on life too. I suggest seeking the support of other runners, attend educational events, and talk to coaches or experts that help you with the bumps, or sign up for one of our a RunFit 5k training programs - learn from as many people as you can. 

A Personal Thank You
To my husband John, friends, family, my Northern team, clients, running and exercise classmates, and even the strangers in Boston encouraging me on with “Gina you can do this” just because my name was on my arm! I'm so happy I got to share this with so many incredible people who inspired me. You are the inspiration and energy that got me to the finish and made this journey not just a race.

Pelvic Dysfunction & Physical Therapy on WZZM

One in four women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction, and it’s not just the elderly. As early as the teen years, people may feel unexplained pain in the hips or low back, urinary leakage, or pain in the pelvic region. Often misdiagnosed, the pain can go on for years, but there is a way to treat these conditions and that’s with a pelvic health specialist. We were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the studios of WZZM's My West Michigan and talk to Catherine Behrendt about this topic, with the hopes of reaching people who are struggling with these issues.

Gina Otterbein and Melissa VanKampen, both based in our Coopersville clinic, are two of our pelvic health specialists.

Melissa spoke briefly about our upcoming Healthy Pelvic series, which features three different events focusing on nutrition and a healthy pelvis, childbearing years, and menopause. The first of these three events takes place on Saturday, April 30. You can get more details on our events page.

View the entire segment below.


Check out our previous segments on My West Michigan where we talked about weight lossusing an exercise ball, the 3 minute exercise routine, concussions in student athletes and senior health

Weight Loss with Physical Therapy and WZZM

If you’ve ever struggled with weight loss or gain, you know what a difficult journey it can be. We were delighted to welcome WZZM, Catherine Behrendt and the crew from My West Michigan to our Grant clinic to talk about how physical therapy can help people who are struggling with weight loss. We not only showed them a bit of our clinic, but also our state-of-the-art pool, which we use for aquatic therapy and pool classes.

Julie Blodgett and Janis Kemper and pictured with Catherine Behrendt of WZZM's My West Michigan

Janis shared part of her weight loss journey and touched on how physical therapy has helped her along the way. She explained that it can be difficult to exercise when you're overweight because you tend to feel pain in your joints. There are ways to alleviate that pain and some certain exercises that are more beneficial than others. Physical therapy can help with those concerns.

See the entire weight loss segment below. If you have questions for Janis, she'll be the featured speaker at our weight loss support group on March 29 at 6pm in our Grant clinic. If you're interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help you on your weight loss journey, feel free to contact any of our clinics for more information.


Check out our previous segments on My West Michigan where we talked about using an exercise ball, the 3 minute exercise routine, concussions in student athletes and senior health

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.

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.

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.

Senior Fitness with eightWest and WOOD TV

It’s never too late to get fit
Exercise is good for everybody, but it becomes even more important as we age. An appropriate amount of physical activity is essential for seniors to help maintain physical and mental health. At Northern we treat older adults who have an injury or condition, or who want to work on an exercise program. At any age, exercise and physical activity can be a “wonder pill.” It can prevent or delay heart disease/stroke, some cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, low back pain, high blood pressure, and balance problems/falls. But exercise is not just good for you physically, its great for you mentally as well. Exercise and physical activity can also manage stress, improve your mood, reduce feelings of depression, improve your ability to think more clearly, and improve your energy levels.

Our very own Gina Otterbein and Julie Blodgett stopped by the studios of WOOD TV's eightWest to talk with Rachael Ruiz about this very topic.

Rachael Ruiz, Julie Blodgett, and Gina Otterbein

Gina and Julie demonstrated simple exercises that people can do at home, based on the 4 categories of exercise that we should all follow: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.

You can see the segment in its entirety at the link below.

If you missed any of our previous eightWest segments, you can see us talk about healthy kids and teens, proper form when running and stretching, women's health, and direct access to physical therapy in Michigan.

Kids and Concussions on WZZM's "My West Michigan"

Sports season is among us and as the kids go back to playing football and soccer we see an increase in the number of student athletes who have suffered a concussion. As a parent, you’re not sure what to do and this can be a very scary time. Our goals is to educate you on the correct protocol and what to expect if your child does suffer an injury on or off the field.

Gina Otterbein and Keith Slenk stopped by the WZZM studios to talk with Catherine Behrendt of My West Michigan (formerly Take Five and Company). We had a great interview and were really excited to be meeting Catherine, Lauren Stanton, and Jennifer Pascua for the first time!

We covered what signs parents should look out for when their child suffers a hit to the head, as well as how the aftermath of the concussion should be handled. You can watch our segment in its entirety below. 

If you have any questions on concussions or sports injuries, don't hesitate to give us a call. 

Buy Local Michigan

Janis had the pleasure of stopping by the studios of Buy Local Michigan to film a segment on reducing daily pain and Northern PT. In the video, which was produced by DW Video and Multimedia, Janis chats with host Duane Weed about how physical therapy helps people get back to living pain free, and how they help certain injuries. Check out the segment in its entirety here: