TheraFit PT: Balance and Running



Colleen is a graduate from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Andrews in 2005. She graduated with honors and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She joined the TheraFit staff in January of 2011. She has a background in Outpatient Orthopedic Physical Therapy. She is an avid triathlete and marathon runner. She is a

member of the 50 state marathon club and is working on completing a marathon in all 50 states. She has completed 3 full ironman triathlons and represented Team USA in the World’s Championship Triathlon in Beijing, China in September of 2011.

She and her husband Dan have two beautiful daughters Hannah and Abigail.


• The Endless Advantages Of Running • Benefits Of Water

• Exercise Of The Month • Patient Success Spotlight



Running is a popular form of exercise and one of the oldest sports. Running is good for your health, it helps breathing, heart health, muscle strength, and burns calories. Running keeps one fit and active and it relieves stress. Running is not just a sport or form of exercise to me, it’s a lifestyle. For me, running is a form of moving meditation, it’s my time to really get away and be with my thoughts. I run because it helps me clear my head, allows me to focus, and makes me feel in control. I like feeling the air on my skin, my heart beating in my chest, breath going in and out of my lungs, my muscles contracting, and just moving. Running makes me feel strong and gives me confidence in myself. It has challenged me to do things I never thought I was capable of doing. I started running in seventh grade when I joined the track team. I was placed in the 2 mile event because no one else wanted or was willing to run it. I remember my goal at the first track meet was to just keep running and not walk the full 8 laps around the track. I surprised myself that I was able to do it and thought to myself that it wasn’t so hard. Of course, I did practice for the event. I went onto join and run on the cross country team in high school. Some of my greatest running memories come from running cross country. I liked the challenge of seeing how far I could run, the excitement of running different courses, pushing myself to improve my time, and the camaraderie of being part of a team. I knew after running high school cross country that I would one day want to run a marathon. I continued to run after high school and began to run multiple 5k (3.1 miles) road races. My love for running continued to run deeper. During college, my dad started running due to being advised by his doctor to start exercising. He began to run 5k races. Even though I was away at college, it was fun to get to talk training with my dad and schedule races that we could do together. At one of the races my dad over heard myself and a friend talking about how we aspired to one day run a marathon. Shortly after that race my dad informed me that he had signed both him and myself up for a marathon. I guess I need to start training was my thought. Up until that point the furthest I had ever ran was 8 miles and had never done a race longer than a 5k (3.1 miles). A marathon is 26.2 miles, which is a lot longer than a 5k. I enjoyed training for that first

marathon. I appreciated having a goal to focus on and feeling the sense of accomplishment when completing further distances on my long runs. People would often ask me when I was training for that first marathon if I would do more than just the one. I remember being afraid to commit to more than one not knowing how I would feel or even if I would be able to finish. I ran my first marathon June 2003 the Sunburst in South Bend, IN. My goal for that first marathon was really just to finish, and I did. After that first race I was hooked. I had heard about a race at Disney where you run through the different parks and thought that sounded like fun. My dad and I signed up for the Disney marathon which was that next January in 2004. While training for Disney we decided to run the Chicago marathon which was in October, 2003. Talking to other runners we heard about the 50 state club were you run a marathon in each state. You have to have completed at least 10 marathons in 10 different states in order to join the 50 state club, we had 3 down in less than a year. We soon did our first 10 states and joined the club. It just seemed like a great way to combine my love for running and get to travel. After graduating from PT school in 2005, I moved to Alabama and running races in different states was a great way for me to get to meet up and see my parents, who live in Michigan. Since that first marathon I have ran 37 marathons in over 31 different states. Running has lead me to do things I never thought possible. I have completed 2 ultra marathons (distances longer than 26.2 miles). I have finished 3 full ironman triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, yes all in one day). I qualified to represent Team USA in the worlds triathlon competition in 2011 in Beijing, China. I’m still working on completing my goal of running a marathon in every state. My next race is coming up April 27th in Denver, Colorado. This will only be my second race running in high altitude so I think that is going to be my biggest challenge. I’m excited to get to visit a new state, run in a new town, and cross Colorado off of my list once I finish. Running is something that can be physically exhausting but mentally and emotionally recharging. Running has allowed me to challenge and push myself. I love a lot of things about running and racing: the adventure, the challenge, getting to see new places, and feeling the accomplishment when I finish. There is no greater sense of satisfaction than what you get from setting a personal goal and conquering it.

Benefits Of Water Looking to start a new healthy habit in 2019? Doing something as simple as drinking more water can help improve your overall health. Your body is about 60% water. Our organs like the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, lungs are about 83% water, skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%. Every system in your body needs water to function. Your body is constantly regulating temperature through sweat therefore, you are constantly losing water from your body. You can lose up to 64 ounces a day though perspiration (16 ounces from your feet alone). Unless you are working out most of this perspiration goes unnoticed. Being only 1% dehydrated can affect your mood, attention level, and how your body functions. It is important to stay hydrated so your body and organs can function properly but drinking water has several health benefits. Drinking water helps: Improves joint health Drinking water can stimulate your production of synovial fluid that helps lubricate the cartilage in your joints. Drinking water will help reduce inflammation around the joint and encourage the growth of new cells in the cartilage tissue. Prevents back pain Dehydration is one of the most overlooked causes of back pain. Your bones in your back (vertebrae) are supported by disc. The central nucleus of that disc is made of water. A lack of water can compromise these disc leading to back pain. Improves heart health Water maintains proper viscosity of blood and plasma. Research shows a link between coronary artery disease and water consumption. Increases Brain Power and Provides Energy The brain is made up of 73% water. According to research being dehydrated by 2% can affect your brain function. Drinking water helps you stay alert and focused. Dehydration can affect your mood and memory and cause headaches. Dehydration can cause the brain to temporarily shrink from fluid loss which will cause the brain to pull away from the skull which will cause headaches. Promotes Healthy Weight Management and Weight Loss Water helps aid in the removal of fat by-products, acts an appetite suppressor, improve metabolism. Flush Out Toxins/helps fight infections/Boost immune System Water is important to help flush out toxins which can help your body fight infections. Water also carries oxygen to your body’s cells which helps each system function properly. Improves Your Complexion Your skin is an organ, water helps moisturize and keep your skin soft. Soft skin is less likely to wrinkle. Maintains Regularity Water helps your body digest and break down food and allows your body to absorb the nutrients better. Prevents Cramps and Sprains Hydrated muscles are less likely to sprain. Water is a natural lubricant for your muscles and joints. How much water you should drink varies on your height, age, sex, activity level. In general you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh every day. For instances if you weigh 150 pounds you should drink 75 to 150 ounces of water per day. Keeping a water bottle near you and sipping on it throughout the day is a good way to get your recommended amount. Sources: H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158 Project WET (PDF)Gunnars, K. (2018, June, 20) Article retrieved from ofDrinkwater for jointpain.Sept2016 retrieved from pain/the-benefits-of-drinking-water-for-joint-pain/Overlooked benefits of drinking water. Jan. 2018 retrieved from Water and Nutrition. Oct 2016 retrieved from

Try this movement if you are experiencing back pain. EXERCISE OF THE MONTH

Stretches Lower Back

PIRIFORMIS STRETCH While lying on your back, hold your knee with your opposite hand and draw your knee up and over towards your opposite shoulder. Repeat 3 times.


Roquefort Pear Salad

INGREDIENTS • 1 head leaf lettuce, torn • 3 pears • 5 ounces Roquefort cheese • 1 avocado • 1/2 cup sliced green onions • 1/4 cup white sugar

• 1/2 cup pecans • 1/3 cup olive oil

• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard • 1 clove garlic, chopped • 1/2 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces. For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.


Patient Success Spotlight

Activities To Improve Your Balance

“TheraFit is the best choice and best place to do your therapy.” “Back in 2009 I tore my rotator cuff and was looking not for just a good place to do therapy, but the best place to do therapy. The name TheraFit kept coming up, it was a little far for me to drive because it was in Hazel Green, but it was worth it. TheraFit is very professional, good atmosphere, friendly, and clean. They don’t pass you around from therapist to therapist, you stay with your therapist through your safe and speedy recovery. That’s the good news. The bad news is I tore my rotator cuff again in 2018 with my bicep. At least then I knew where to go to do therapy, but now TheraFit has opened a facility in Park City, TN. Easy access, plenty of parking, and still has that personal one on one touch to get me back to living life. TheraFit Physical Therapy is the best choice and best place to do your therapy.” - Ricky D.

You can benefit from better coordination and balance activities at any age. A stronger, more balanced body relieves aches and pains, while improving your ability to move faster... Here are some activities to improve your balance: 1. Standing glut set - Stand with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Squeeze buttocks together gently, knees should turn out a little. Do not squeeze so hard that you tilt your pelvis. Hold for 10 seconds, 10 times. • Progression - Repeat this exercise standing on one leg. This exercise should be done near a counter or in a doorway for support as needed. Balance for as long as you can up to 1 minute 3 times on each leg. 2. Single leg stance - Stand on one leg with knee slightly bent. Make sure your hips remain even. This exercise should be done near a counter or in a doorway for support. Balance for up to 1 minute using assistance as needed, repeat 3 times on each leg. • Progression - Repeat single leg stance standing on a pillow or cushion to increase difficulty. 3. Visit a Physical Therapist: Physical therapy is very important to strengthening joints and learning the right exercises to improve balance. A professional can help you develop a program that plays into your strengths while increasing your ability to balance and reduce back injuries.

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