Small Steps Make for Big Strides

Competitive running in a marathon race takes serious commitment. The Medical Center’s own physical therapist Anastassia Gibson recently competed in a marathon at Martha’s Vineyard.

Despite the weather conditions being terrible at 51 degrees, overcast, very windy and rainy with almost 400 people participating, she came in second in her division with an overall time of three hours and 41 minutes, which is very close to qualifying for the Boston Marathon. She’s pictured at right competing in the dismal weather of the May 19 event.

In relating her experience, Anastassia imparts valuable advice not only for physical therapy patients but to us all:

“The race started on a foggy, dreary, cold morning. We soon ran into open sunshine, but then finished up with cold, windy, rainy weather. Running or walking is a form of therapy. I always tell my patients to get outside and start walking, creating a habit of daily routine. Walking is the best possible exercise. You don’t have to go far or fast, because it is not about speed or distance, it is about doing it on a daily basis.

“A lot of my post-fall or post-surgical patients have a hard time getting back to their daily walking routines due to fear of falling, pain, or lack of motivation. At our Physical Therapy Center we ask patients about their prior level of function and what goals they would like to achieve. Many of our patients would like to return to golf, tennis, walking, biking, running and many other sporting activities.

“We discourage our patients from focusing on their limitations and perceived problems. We encourage them to focus on the possibilities of returning to the things they used to do and love. I advise my patients to push themselves harder than they did yesterday. It is important to remember that results happen overtime, not overnight; and those results are priceless. Setting a goal is the first step, staying focused is the second step and moving forward is a lifestyle, because a small amount of progress is still progress.”

Strengthening exercises are a huge benefit for maintaining muscle mass. According to Harvard University, “Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade.” The Medical Center’s excellent Physical Therapy team is available three days a week during the summer months and is happy to help you achieve your goals.

Call the Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Department at 305-367-6756 to schedule a consultation.