Physical Therapy News

Senior Health & Positive Aspects Of Growing Older

Senior Health  & Positive Aspects Of Growing Older
If 40 is the new 30, then 50 is the new 40, right?

You may be over 50, but you don’t have to be over having fun and living your best, healthy life! Actually, as we age it’s even more important to get started on healthier habits and ditch the bad ones. Your early to mid-50s are when biochemical changes start to occur, leading to the onset of cancer and other chronic illness. Now is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, assess your lifestyle and make senior health a priority!

Senior Health and Feeling Great
As we age we encounter more aches and pains, but there are so many positive aspects of growing older: Wisdom, self-discovery, and maturity. Regardless of how we feel, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself, take up a new activity, or pursue a new career. The key is to keep moving and find ways to incorporate exercise and healthier habits into your life.

Healthy aging in midlife and even into your senior years isn’t rocket science. The body is a self-healing, self-regulating system and performs best when it’s on a regular schedule. The foundation for senior health begins with routine habits that are based around nutrition, exercise, and prevention.

Senior Health  & Positive Aspects Of Growing OlderLearn to Manage Stress
Manage stress through exercise and other activities like yoga and mindfulness or a creative outlet. Research shows that a life of stress is really hard on the body, especially chronic stress. Patients who have higher levels of baseline stress are more prone to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Get An Annual Physical
Preventative screenings can save lives by catching cancer and chronic illnesses early. Annual check-ups and other preventative screenings should include pap smears, colonoscopies, mammograms, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests.

Get Enough Sleep
Embrace routine, especially when it comes to sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of regular, uninterrupted sleep. Follow a schedule in regards to going to bed, waking up and eating meals. Sleep can also regulate hormones like insulin and cortisol, which helps prevent disease.

Focus On Nutrition
At every stage in life it’s vital to eat a heart-healthy diet, more fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. You should avoid or limit starchy, fried and processed foods and too much red meat. Reduce salt and sugar, increase healthy fats such as fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids, and skip anything with GMOs or ingredients you can’t pronounce. It’s definitely the time to kick bad habits like excessive drinking and smoking, too.

Maintain a Healthy Weight and Keep Moving
Make regular exercise a habit, or at least find ways to be more active. Studies have found a link between a generally sedentary lifestyle, meaning hours upon hours of sitting, and increased levels of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and total mortality.

For many people, it can be very overwhelming to make multiple lifestyle changes at once. We recommend you start by focusing on one area of your life that you can improve. Exercise may be one of the easiest and best options. Think about this trifecta of benefits – heart health, combat weight gain, and boost endorphins.

Senior Health  & Positive Aspects Of Growing Older9 Tips To Get Moving & Stay Motivated

1. Schedule time to exercise and switch it up.
The key to long-term exercise is not only making it a priority but doing activities that are social and fun. Playing tennis or pickleball with a friend, walking the dog, biking a local trail, swimming, gardening, dancing and playing team sports count toward the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.

2. Recruit a friend or join a class.
You’re more likely to exercise when you have a partner or group counting on you, plus it’s a great chance to make new friends and try something new.

3. Sign up for a competition.
Whether it’s a marathon or bike race, training for a competition ups the challenge and reward.

4. Try the 10-minute motivation rule.
Start with 10 minutes and see if you’re motivated to keep going. Oftentimes getting started is half the battle.

5. Break it up into smaller chunks
Research shows that 10 minutes of exercise has benefits, so incorporate activity throughout the day. Use a break at work to walk laps or climb stairs, do a set of squats, planks, and pushups during TV commercials, or try a 10-minute exercise video.

6. Focus on how you feel.
After you exercise do you have more energy, more strength, a better mood or more peaceful sleep? The scale isn’t the only measure of success.

7. Write it down.
Keep a journal of your daily activities and food/beverage intake. Be mindful of what you eat, and realistic about how many calories you burn. Snacks, sodas, and desserts have hidden calories or are often overlooked. A journal can reveal patterns of overindulging, emotional eating or chronic fatigue and depression.

8. Enjoy a rest day.
Don’t beat yourself up if you slack off for a day. While consistency is important, adequate hydration, sleep and recovery time matter too.

9. Celebrate small milestones.
The scale may have stalled, but maybe you’ve lost inches, regulated blood sugar, can run a mile, or noticed new muscles. every little bit counts.

Healthy Aging Starts With a Healthy Mindset
It’s hard to change bad habits for healthier ones, much less sustain them. The key is to also switch your mindset: Look at it as a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. Many changes cost nothing and require only common sense and some self-awareness. Smile more, stand when you can, sleep at least eight hours, take a daily walk, and pursue your passions!

There is no magic pill for senior health and longevity, and, unfortunately, we can’t turn back the hands of time. But when it comes to living a long, satisfying life, it’s simple – the things you do today affect your tomorrow.

Our physical therapists are here for you, whenever you need us. If you’re having a difficult time getting started with an exercise routine and living healthy because of pain or an injury, we can help! Find a clinic near you and get in touch with us today!

New Physical Therapy Clinic in Caledonia

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our company, it seems as though the timing couldn’t be better to welcome a tenth location to our family. On September 4, 2018, we opened a brand new physical therapy clinic in Caledonia, MI!

New Physical Therapy Clinic in CaledoniaThe sign is up…that means it’s official!

Our new office is located at 9321 Cherry Valley Avenue, and will be open 7am – 7pm most days so it’s convenient to stop by before or after work for an appointment. We’re also offering free injury consultations with a physical therapist as well as pre-operative assessments. By taking advantage of these complimentary services you can get expert advice and easily see if physical therapy is the right option for you!

New Physical Therapy Clinic in CaledoniaDenise Jongekrijg is a physical therapist in Caledonia

Our new facility is led by clinic director and physical therapist, Denise Jongekrijg. Denise truly enjoys spending time with, and getting to know each and every patient so she can make every experience a positive one. In addition to being a physical therapist, Denise is a Certified Mulligan Practitioner and has taken continuing education courses in treating Vertigo.

In our new Caledonia clinic you’ll find all the services you’ve come to know at our other locations. Our physical therapy team will be helping people who are suffering from back pain, shoulder and neck pain, or any type of discomfort that might be chronic or as a result of an injury or surgery. We also have a team of sports rehabilitation experts who will be equipped to work with both student and adult athletes on sprains, strains, foot and ankle pain, or post surgery recovery.New Physical Therapy Clinic in Caledonia

We started from scratch!

We’re looking forward to serving the Caledonia community by helping you feel great and return to doing the things you love! Our grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting will be October 25, 5-7pm – we’d love to have you stop by and see what Northern is all about!

We’re currently scheduling new patients, are offering most appointments within 24 hours, as well as complimentary injury consultations with a physical therapist, even if you don’t have a prescription. Our Caledonia clinic will have early morning and evening hours, and will accept most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Give us a call at 616.528.8388.

If you’re looking for a physical therapist in the Caledonia or Middleville area, we’re here to help you feel great and get moving again!









Celebrating 25 Years of Serving Others

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving Others

Can you change someone’s life today?

When you surround yourself with good people who put others first, believe in the idea of a team, and all work towards the same common goal, you set yourself up for success. Northern Physical Therapy is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year and co-owners Janis Kemper and Gina Otterbein are taking some time to reflect on the path that brought them here.

“After 30 years of working in this field, I can honestly say I still love this profession,” said Kemper. “I find it so gratifying to see a patient come in on crutches and a few weeks later walk without an assistive device or a limp – physical therapy works!”Celebrating 25 Years of Serving OthersKemper and Otterbein became business partners over 15 years ago when they purchased Northern Physical Therapy. What may have seemed like an unlikely partnership, quickly proved to be a recipe for success that would grow the company to it’s current 10 clinics, with the hopes of adding a few more in the future.

“Going into PT I didn’t see myself being a business owner, but some stroke of the universe brought Gina and I together. If I’m the peanut butter she’s the jelly, I’m the yin and she’s the yang… you get the idea,” jokes Kemper. “Our strengths are opposite and while Gina has said she feels lucky to have such a great clinician as a business partner, the truth of the matter is I’m lucky to have a partner that has such a great knowledge of business!”

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving OthersWhile the two women may have different strengths when it comes to running a business, they do have one thing in common, and that’s attracting like minded people who share their passion for helping others.

Julie Blodgett is the Clinic Director of the Sparta location, but she’s also Gina’s older sister, and the person who inspired Gina to become a physical therapist. Julie knew early on that she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to serve others.

“In high school I participated in a career observation day with a physical therapist who was working with a med school student that suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident. The therapists were helping him to regain his ability to sit without support and use his arms again. This experience had a great impact on me, as these therapists were providing hope and help to someone that had just had a catastrophic, life-changing event. At that moment I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.”

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving Others

“Northern feels like home to me. I love being part of a team that is universally committed to doing our best work in order to provide excellent care for our clients. It gives me joy to help people become a better version of themselves, and working for a company that supports this and is “all about the people” feels like I am home.” Julie Blodgett

Alongside Julie in Sparta is Cathy DeBerti, who also felt the calling to physical therapy in high school. As a lifeguard at the community recreation center, Cathy was teaching a seven year old girl who had downs syndrome how to swim. Working with the young girl led her to pursue a career in the field of physical therapy. Cathy has been with Northern for 13 years and she values the way the leadership embraces the differences in each team member. She explains, “there are a lot of clinicians working for Gina and Janis and we’re all different, we all have different ways of treating. Those differences are encouraged, we’re never expected to be, act, or treat the same, we’re all led to feel good about what we bring to the table.”

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving Others“Gina and Janis have taught me that you will do great work if you’re passionate about what you do. In the end the results will speak for themselves.” Lisa Otterbein-Bolek, Physical Therapist and Clinic Director in Comstock Park/Grand Rapids

As Northern has continued to grow, Otterbein and Kemper have placed special emphasis on mentoring team members to bring out the best in them, and give them the ability to advance in the organization.

Cedar Springs Clinic Director, David Sefton, has learned from Otterbein and Kemper that leadership is about serving others well. He notes that when you look to the interests of others and use empathy, you can accomplish great things with your team.

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving Others

“I love empowering patients to see their potential. We have immense challenges in life, and there is grace in discovering our bodies’ abilities to heal, overcome, and transform as we move forward.” David Sefton, Physical Therapist and Clinic Director in Cedar Springs

Sefton recalls an experience working with a patient who had overcome cancer and was experiencing severe knee pain. Sefton empathized with the patient, who was discouraged about having to go through another surgery. They worked together before and after the surgery, and the patient showed extreme progress. Recently Sefton received a thank you card from the patient that included a photo of him skiing. This unexpected memento was a reminder of how much joy you get from helping patients live their life to the fullest again.

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving Others“I love watching the patient’s transformation inside and out as they struggle and grow through therapy to achieve their physical goals.” Diana Painter, Physical Therapist in Cedar Springs

While patient care has always been the top priority at Northern Physical Therapy, getting out in the community is a close second. Northern has strategically chosen mainly rural settings for most of their clinics. Being in a small community allows them to really get involved, get to know community members, and make a positive difference.

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving Others“When I hear a patient’s story I feel honored knowing I get to play a small part in their journey to recovery. It’s so rewarding seeing people on their discharge day, knowing they’re finally able to get back to their normal routine.” Jessica Valiquette, Patient Coordinator in Coopersville

Lisa Otterbein-Bolek, Clinic Director in Comstock Park, says “being committed to your community is key because you have to serve others before thinking about yourself.” This mentality is shared by others and is at the forefront of all that Northern Physical Therapy stands for.

In addition to serving on various school, community, Rotary, and Chamber of Commerce boards, team members are often encouraged to volunteer time with organizations that are meaningful to them. Julie Blodgett adds “I absolutely love that our staff and families volunteer for the Miracle League by buddying up with a youth baseball player to assist and cheer them on during the game. These kids are so fun to be around and I am certain that I get more out of this special event than I actually give.”

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving OthersAs Otterbein reflects on the idea of 25 years she can’t help but think about the reason she comes to work every day. “We have a way of energizing, inspiring and supporting each other in so many ways. I’ve also witnessed countless patients who’s lives have changed because we’ve supported them in an effort to achieve something great. The impact of that combined with knowing how much better I feel personally, because of working with our physical therapists for my sports rehab issues makes me want to share how much physical therapy can help anyone on their path to recovery, health, or greater fitness.”

Northern Physical Therapy excited to announce the opening of their 10th west Michigan clinic in Caledonia on September 4, 2018. If you’re experiencing pain and are looking for exceptional care that’s close to home, schedule a complimentary injury consultation with a physical therapist at any Northern Physical Therapy clinic. More information can be found at