Yearly Physical Therapy Visits are Just as Important as Annual Cholesterol Tests

You know the drill:

During your annual visit, your primary care physician will order a cholesterol test. Combined with an assessment of health measures such as diet and exercise, the results of the cholesterol test will provide your physician with the information she needs to make a recommendation. If the results are positive, you might hear: “You’re doing great, keep doing what you’ve been doing!” If the results are unfavorable, then you’re more likely to be told: “I’d like you to walk for 20 additional minutes each day and eat cholesterol-lowering foods like oatmeal.” Over time, high cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to form in your arteries, putting you in a high-risk category for heart disease and stroke. Similarly, the cumulative effects of poor posture or a muscular imbalance, for example, can take a toll on your body and inhibit your ability to move properly.

That’s where a physical therapist comes in: Annual PT “checkups” can catch the musculoskeletal problems that put you at risk for injury or limit your ability to function down the line. One of the best tools in a PT’s prevention arsenal is the movement screen. By analyzing your fundamental movements with a movement screen developed for their own practice, PTs can get a clear picture of what the future will bring for you. Based on the information gathered, a physical therapist can help you safely reach your fitness goals and teach preventive strategies that can be incorporated into your daily life. Of course, it’s best to schedule your checkup before you’re experiencing a problem. That way, your physical therapist can establish a baseline based on your functional level at that time and use it to identify changes during subsequent annual visits. The effects of poor posture or a muscular imbalance may not be immediately apparent to you, but they will be to your PT.

An annual “checkup” gives your PT an inside look at your musculoskeletal system, which is comprised of your muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissues. It’s important that these essential internal structures are working together to support, stabilize and move your body. Just as taking an annual trek to the primary care physician helps to monitor your cholesterol levels—and prevent heart disease—yearly physical therapy appointments allow your PT to identify and address any changes in the way you move before they become something more.

Training to Hike 101






Tis’ the season for hiking! Are you looking to take on higher peaks or increase your pace with current favorites? Working on a training routine to optimize endurance, power, and stability can set you up for success with your challenges for the summer

Endurance is important for those of you looking to hike longer than 30-45 minutes. The muscles will need to utilize other fuel sources and be trained to sustain activity for prolonged periods.

  • Take this opportunity to add variety to your aerobic regimen with walking, swimming, biking, and elliptical.
  • The key is duration of exercise and gradually progressing your tolerance. Start with your current tolerance, whether that is 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Progress each type of aerobic exercise by 5-10 minutes until you reach your duration goal. You may also want to start with 1-2 days per week adding another day every 1-2 weeks since you will be training in other ways as well.

Power is your ability to use your strength with a speed component to help you tackle specific situations like scrambling up a steep incline or powering up high steps. Performing an exercise for 8-10 repetitions for 2-3 sets will help build a base for strength and allow you to focus on the power and quality of the movement. As you fatigue you may only be able to perform up to 6 repetitions increasing your strength for next time. You can train strength and power depending on your access to equipment or lifestyle without need to make drastic changes.

  • Body weight exercises to consider: Step ups, Lateral step ups, split squats, lunges, squats, pistol squats, box jumps, long jumps, and burpees.
  • Weighted/machine exercises to consider: Leg press, Quad/knee extension, Hamstring curls, deadlifts, Hip abduction, Hip external/internal rotations, and calf raises – seated and standing.

Stabilization allows you to control and utilize the training you gain in the first two categories. If you body is struggling to control your movements, you become less energy efficient and your muscles do not respond optimally when called upon. Core control and joint stabilization are the two areas you will want to train and incorporate into the exercises you perform for endurance and power/strength training.

  • Core control exercises to consider: planks, side planks, bird dog, dead bug – add arm and leg movements in these positions for dynamic control and add increased weight as movements become easy to control.
  • Joint stabilization exercises to consider: all variations of balance – double leg, tandem, single leg with changes in surfaces, limb or head movements, and tossing or catching objects for reaction stability.
  • Jumping activities and reaching movements are great to integrate core and joint training i.e. double leg jump to single leg land and star drill with single leg balance control while reaching with the opposite foot or hand for cones.

If you need more information, have pain or discomfort with training, or need assistance in where to start to target your specific needs, please visit our website at to set up an appointment or call us at (206)402-5483.

Injury Prevention Pt II

Rock Climbing Series Continued

Specific Strength Training to Prevent Injury

Continuing to hit the wall hard, but concerned you might get injured?  You have to balance out time on the wall with general strengthening to prevent injuries.  Here are 3 simple exercises you can add (ideally) 3x/week to your work out routine!

Pull ups:  Use bands or a bench/chair or bands under legs to work your way up to a full pull up.  Feel your shoulder blades pull down and back, but remember to continuously breath while you move!

Single leg box jumps with soft squat landing:

Remember, hips back, head forward, keep those knees behind the toes!

Push up rows: Belly button pulling up towards spine, don’t let the hips sag, squeeze those shoulder blades together and BREATHE! 🙂

If you have any questions about ways to strength train for rock climbing, contact us at Mobilize Physical Therapy!  -Jaclyn Stoerzbach, PT, DPT

Rock Climbing Injury Prevention

Rock Climbing – Prevent Injury Before You Get “Pulled in All Directions”

If you’re a climber, you know that climbing has amazing rewards, but it doesn’t come without it’s risks and potential injuries. Before you gear up in the gym or outside in this beautiful weather, do yourself a favor and do a quick warm up and cool down before and after you climb.


  1. 5-10 minutes of aerobic (jump rope, elliptical, anything that gets your heart rate up and you wanting to take your outer sweater layer off
  2. Butt kicks  30 seconds x 4 rounds
  3. Hamstring Kicks – 30 seconds x 4 rounds


4. Angry cat stretch – 30 seconds x 3 (BREATH IN AND OUT IN THIS ROUNDED POSITION)

5. Lat stretch – 30 seconds x 3

Take these few extra minutes to yourself and you’ll be happy you did!

Happy Climbing 🙂

Dynamic Warm-Up Before Cross Training

Typically a dynamic warm-up is best before exercising to loosen up muscle tension prior to strengthening. Try performing a sequence such as: walking high kicks, walking hamstring stretch, high knees, butt kicks, hip openers and closers, followed by a light jog. Perform each exercise for 10 repetitions.

Walking High Kicks: Keep one or both arms forward at chest level. Kick one leg forward towards your fingertips keeping the knee as straight as you can without bending your back. You should feel a quick stretch in the back of your leg.


Walking Hamstring Stretch: Step forward with one leg. Keeping the front knee straight, rock your weight onto the back leg on a slightly bent knee. Push your hips back and feel a stretch along the back of your front leg.

High Knees: Lightly jog forward while driving your knees high towards your chest.

Butt Kicks: Lightly jog forward while driving your heels towards your bottom.

Hip Openers/Closers: Take a step forward with one leg while circling the opposite leg inward and towards your chest and then opening the knee towards the outside before bring the leg back to the ground. Alternate between legs. Change direction by bringing the knee outward and towards your chest before bringing the leg back to the ground.

Now you know more about keeping your body healthy, while continuing to do the things you love. If you need more information, need to schedule a consult with our bike fit expert, or schedule an appointment regarding treatment for pain or discomfort, please visit our website at

Cross Training For Injury Prevention

Do you love to cycle or run? Is this your main (or maybe only) type of exercise? Has anyone ever encouraged you to “cross-train” to supplement your workout routine?

What if I told you that cross training can not only improve your power and efficiency with these activities but also prevent or resolve pain at the low back, hips, buttock, knees, and ankles. Would you consider cross-training then?

The Breakdown   Running and cycling are great ways to exercise and a healthy alternative for commuting to and from work. Both of these activities are very “sagittal” focused meaning your body primarily moves in forward and backward motion. These activities are great for cardiovascular health but lack a well-rounded approach to strengthening that may lead to disuse of other important muscles for daily activities.

The Neglected vs The Overused  Because of the posture and movement patterns emphasized, commonly neglected muscle groups are the gluteals (especially gluteus medius) and core stabilizers. For these same reasons, commonly overused muscle groups are the hip flexors and back extensors.

Common Pain Patterns and Poor Experiences  Given this information, there are common aches and pains that those lacking cross training will experience. Poor control at the gluteals and core can cause tension into the hips or low back and can affect ankle and knee stability when loading these joints during running or cycling. Increased muscle tension and lack of flexibility in the hips or low back can cause increased neck tension and changes your upper body posture affecting arm use during running and shoulder or wrist loading while cycling.

Now you know more about keeping your body healthy while continuing to do the things you love. If you need more information, need to schedule a consult with our bike fit expert, or schedule an appointment regarding treatment for pain or discomfort, please visit our website at

Stay tuned for next week to learn about common strengthening exercises to build well-rounded strength!


Riding With Intention

In the throes of Bike Everywhere Month, my heart is full with the joy of cycling.

Being from a suburban town with no public transit, biking as a means of transportation never seemed like an option. It was always a short car ride to the grocery store, shopping outlet, or work which was anywhere from 5-20 miles away. That time spent sitting in the car in addition to 40 hours a week at school or work accumulated without my realization. I’ve never been a gym-goer and had made attempts at fitness with the intention to get moving, but nothing ever quite stuck.

Upon moving to Seattle in 2015 (my first time living in a full-fledged city!), I decidedly made a change – I ditched my car and went straight to Recycled Cycles (RIP Fremont location </3). They hooked me up with my trusty commuter Kona with which I’ve racked up countless miles over the years. The autonomy of going wherever I want, whenever I want (without paying for a bus, Lyft, or parking) is life changing. Logistics of saving cost, reducing emissions, and getting exercise aside – I believe cycling is good for the soul. Being someone with little history of athleticism, cycling has given me a confidence and appreciation for my body I didn’t know I had. I have finally found “my thing”.

Certainly, any physical activity comes with its set of risks – such as the knee overuse injury I had acquired over time. With a bike fit from Shana Stratford and few weeks of PT with Shawnee Perkins, I learned about the mechanics of the little things – where I place my foot on the pedal, the fact that I favor my right “strong” leg, and so forth. Positioning and alignment on the bike is key.

My advice? Listen to your body. Do what feels good. And, even though it sometimes seems like it, the Burke is not a racetrack. Ride with intention, awareness, and belief in yourself – you’ll be surprised by where two wheels can take you!

– Paige Petrangelo, Front Office Supervisor

May Is Bike Everywhere Month

Are you gearing up for Cascade Bike Club’s Bike Everywhere Month?  We are!  Check out for ideas on how to become more active on your bike during the month of May.

Be sure to stop by our Celebration Station on the Burke-Gilman Trail at the intersection of 36th Ave. NE and NE 45th St. on May 18th during F5 Bike Everywhere Day.  If you feel like something is off with your bike and body alignment, or have some new aches and pains from increasing your mileage, schedule an evaluation or a bike fit online at today! @mobilizept @cascadebicycle @F5Networks @cliffbar @nuun #BikeEverywhere #bikemonth #bikefit #mobilize #physicaltherapy