Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

The Importance of Looking The Part In Physical Therapy

March 1, 2020


Looking the part is a phrase attributed to 19th century theatre when productions were looking for actors whose characteristics reflected the role they auditioned to play. We continue to seek individuals whose behaviors mirror their profession and likely refuse to work with a broke financial planner, the personal trainer who doesn’t exercise, a dentist with diseased teeth, and possibly the skinny chef. The phrase, “do as I say not as I do” comes to mind. It is easy to see the walking contradictions in health care including physicians and nurses who return from their smoke break to counsel patients on smoking cessation, the nutritionists who food choices do not reflect their education to patients, and even the Physical Therapists who are too weak, tight, or deconditioned to demonstrate a basic exercise movement to their patients.

In a simplified statement, Physical Therapists are on the front lines of activity and continually identify and treat barriers to a patient’s ability to participate actively in their lives. Depending on our setting, we educate, encourage, and ask patients who are fearful, painful, fighting diseases, and sometimes dying to move and participate in activity. We know our patients need to fight numerous and significant barriers to exercise outside the clinic. The least we can do as Physical Therapists is mirror the behaviors of health and fitness to our patients despite the barriers we face in our own lives to exercise. At times the mutual barriers (time, family) between patients and providers offer opportunities to share successful strategies to exercise. There is no better profession in all of healthcare to encourage activity and exercise in clients and patients, but the first step is staying fit as a profession.