You know the drill. It’s a new year, and once again, weight loss and staying fit are at the top of most people’s resolutions. And thanks to the prevalence of smartphones, health apps are commonplace in tracking physical activity, nutrition, and fitness milestones. As a physical therapist, you probably have mixed feelings about apps for health. My suggestion? Get familiar with what’s out there. Apps are not here to replace you. PC Mag’s list of health apps to keep an eye on in 2016 is a good mix of fun (like RockMyRun), functional (such as FitBit’s app), and competitive (like Strava). You’ll probably find an app or two that you like enough to use yourself.
By this point, most of us have heard about the national guidelines for physical activity. The American Heart Association suggests that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week ― a bar that may be set too high for the most obese Americans. Instead, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh suggest that simply reducing the time spent sitting may be the most effective way to kickstart long-term weight loss and cardiometabolic health.
Opioids, painkillers and the quest to end addiction
One thing’s for sure: we’re going to hear a lot about opioid abuse in 2016. President Obama took a firm stance on the issue in late 2015, and physicians are feeling the heat when it comes to over-prescribing. The CDC is not mincing words when they state that “The United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic.”
Physical therapists need to do more than just talk about opioid abuse ― you need to do something about it. If part of PT is about treating pain with less reliance on prescription drugs, then I’d say you’re a fantastic candidate to become a vocal advocate against this epidemic in your community. Looking for a place to start? Your very own professional organization, the APTA, is among the organizations that have joined a public-private partnership to combat heroin use and prescription drug abuse. Tweet them at @APTATweets to get involved in the conversation about policy.