Bridging the Gap Between Healthcare and Fitness: Physical Therapy’s Role in Weight Management

Obesity has become a global epidemic, posing significant challenges to physical health and overall quality of life.

The CDC reports the US obesity prevalence was nearly 42% in 2020. And according to the WHO, worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975.

As the prevalence of obesity continues to rise, it is crucial to understand its implications and explore effective strategies for management. Physical therapy, with its multidimensional approach, plays a vital role in addressing obesity-related challenges, offering comprehensive solutions to improve physical function and promote sustainable weight management. At PTS, we offer patients the opportunity to “Jump Start” their fitness journey using a multi-disciplinary approach to weight management.

Understanding Obesity

Obesity is a “chronic disease in which excess body fat worsens health.” Its prevalence has reached alarming levels, with millions of individuals worldwide grappling with its consequences. 

The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was nearly $173 billion in 2019 dollars.

Beyond its impact on our country’s financial health and an individual’s body weight, obesity has several physical implications that can significantly hinder daily activities and overall well-being.

People living with obesity commonly experience:

  • Joint pain, stress, and reduced mobility
  • Elevated risk of other chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and heart disease
  • Decreased activity tolerance and increased fatigue
  • Frustration and depression about the condition

Physical Therapy Approaches to Combat Obesity

Physical therapy offers a comprehensive approach to combat obesity and improve overall physical function. Skilled physical therapists assess each individual’s unique needs and create personalized treatment plans that address their specific challenges and goals.

Exercise therapy is a cornerstone of weight loss and improved physical function. Physical therapists employ a variety of exercises tailored to the individual’s abilities while improving deficits. These exercises not only promote calorie expenditure but also enhance:

  • Strength 
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance 
  • Long-term weight management
  • Improved overall health
  • Decreased pain

Strength training and conditioning exercises are particularly valuable in sustainable weight management. These exercises help build lean muscle mass, which aids in boosting metabolism and burning calories more efficiently. Additionally, physical therapists provide guidance on joint protection strategies, ensuring individuals can engage in physical activity without exacerbating pain or discomfort.

Motivation and Support for Long-Term Success

Achieving long-term success in obesity management requires more than physical interventions alone. It requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach, supported by a strong support system.

Setting realistic goals and tracking progress is essential to maintain motivation and measure success. Physical therapists assist individuals in establishing achievable milestones and provide ongoing assessments to monitor progress. Objective evaluation and follow-ups help individuals recognize their accomplishments and motivates them to persist in their efforts.

The importance of professional guidance and accountability cannot be overstated. Physical therapists serve as valuable mentors, offering expertise, guidance, and encouragement throughout the journey. Their expertise ensures individuals engage in safe and effective exercise practices, minimizing the risk of injury or setbacks.

Cultivating a supportive environment and seeking social support is critical for long-term success. Friends, family, and support groups provide invaluable encouragement, understanding, and accountability. Sharing achievements and non-scale victories fosters a positive mindset and reinforces the individual’s commitment to a healthier lifestyle. 

Another helpful option can be the use of a “medical gym.” Large fitness centers can often be overwhelming. Individuals with obesity may lack confidence and exercising in a supportive environment can make all the difference. A medical gym bridges the gap between healthcare and fitness. Physical therapists and healthcare professionals are present at these facilities to guide treatment, boosting safety and confidence.

The PTS Jump Start Program: Unlocking Your Potential

 Are these statements relatable to you?

  • I’m unsure how to start exercising
  • My medical issues keep me from being active
  • I’m sometimes intimidated in a gym setting
  • I need help sticking to healthy habits

If you relate to any of the above statements, don’t worry – you’re not alone! 

At Professional Therapy Services, Inc., our team hears this a lot. That’s why we introduced the Jump Start Program! This program is designed for individuals seeking a comprehensive and tailored approach to their health journey.

The PTS Jump Start Program is suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels who struggle with weight management, working in collaboration with your primary care doctor. It begins with a thorough assessment conducted by skilled physical therapists, who consider the individual’s medical history, limitations, and goals. Based on this assessment, a customized treatment plan is created, measuring strength, mobility, endurance, and balance. Treatment can take place in the clinic or in our medical gym. 

We are honored to be partners with Dr. David Tennant, a family medicine physician who specializes in obesity management, to serve patients through an individualized, holistic plan:

By addressing physical, emotional, and social aspects of obesity and overall health, the program empowers individuals to take charge of their health and achieve long-lasting results.

Embracing Health with Physical Therapy

Obesity is a complex and pervasive health issue that demands comprehensive and collaborative management strategies. By providing motivation, support, and professional guidance, physical therapists empower individuals to take control of their health and embark on a journey toward a healthier future.

Ask our team if our programming might be right for you:

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