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How Does Exercise Improve My Energy?

It sounds very paradoxical to many. Exercise would drain my energy, right? That might be the case immediately after exercising, but overall, our bodies need exercise to have energy. Scientists in a variety of medical fields have found that one of the best ways to overcome fatigue and boost energy is to be more active, not less. Studies have shown that the more you move, the more energy you will feel. (And it doesn’t have to be a major movement; simply getting up and walking around the room will help.) In fact, a study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reported that inactive people who normally complained of fatigue could increase energy by 20% and decrease fatigue by as much as 65% by simply participating in regular, low-intensity exercise.

Exercise has been shown in countless other studies to increase energy and reduce fatigue through exercise than by using stimulants. This principle can be applied across the board to every group that was studied, including healthy adults, cancer patients, and people with diabetes and heart disease.

The explanation for this goes deep into the cellular level of the body, where we find the mitochondria, those tiny, energy-producing organs found in every cell of the body. The more you move around, the more mitochondria your body makes to meet your energy needs. The more mitochondria you have, the greater the boost to your metabolism, and the greater your ability to produce more energy.

There are many more variables than exercise that determine how much energy we have. This includes sleep, nutrition, hydration, mental health, intrinsic & extrinsic motivation, whether our home team has recently won or lost, and many many more. Consult one of our doctors of physical therapy if you’d like to find out more about how to boost your energy levels, not just through exercise.

Art & Mental Health

Winter can be a harder season for me, and I know I’m not the only one. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I am no stranger to seasonal depression – cold, dark days don’t manifest happy thoughts and feelings. As we’re heading into the darker days of winter, we need to remember the importance of our mental wellness, as well, not just our physical.

There are many ways to combat the winter blues, but one that you may not think of right away is art. Engaging with art can be a form of meditation, offering a unique and creative way to achieve a state of mindfulness and relaxation. Especially helpful for people who don’t like to meditate in the traditional sense, it gives you something to do while reaping the same benefits. It can help lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while helping to feel more relaxed and sleep better.

Here are three ideas for you to try:

  • Adult coloring books – the act of coloring in intricate patterns is a great way to ease stress and anxiety. You are focusing on this single task, choosing the colors you want to use and how they all interact with each other-it can be extremely immersive, and often times you’ll be surprised at how quickly time passes!
  • Practicing calligraphy – Calligraphy forces you to slow down, relax, and focus entirely on what you are doing. You cannot achieve the thin upstrokes or clean transitions if you are rushing or not relaxed. You must hold the pen comfortably in your hand, working against the tendency to grip it tight. You also have to focus on your breathing, as this can affect your strokes as well. Once you are more familiar with the strokes and making letters, you can focus on a quote or verse to practice, digging a little more into the meditation aspect.
  • Singing along to music – Singing has been linked to a reduction in stress levels. The act of singing, especially in a relaxed and enjoyable setting, can trigger the release of endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, as well as reduce the stress hormone cortisol, both of which help alleviate stress. Singing requires focus on the present moment, particularly when paying attention to pitch, rhythm, and lyrics. This mindfulness aspect of singing can help individuals temporarily shift their focus away from worries and be present in the act of singing.

It’s important to note that the benefits of art on mental health can vary from person to person. Some individuals may find solace in creating art, while others may experience therapeutic effects through observing and appreciating artistic works. The key is to find what resonates best with each individual and to incorporate art into their lives in a way that suits their preferences and needs. Remember, the goal is not perfection but personal expression and emotional well-being. If seasonal depression persists or worsens, it’s crucial to seek professional help. Art can complement other therapeutic approaches and lifestyle changes that may be recommended by healthcare professionals.

Fall For Fitness

Our Head Fitness Coach David has some tips to keep you active and well as we move into the colder and darker months.

1.Fall in love with outdoor workouts! Exercise doesn’t have to just be hitting the gym. Use the cooler weather as an opportunity to go for a hike, jog and enjoy the changing colors, or try outdoor sports/activities like soccer, flag football or frisbee.

2.Stay Hydrated. Even in cooler temperatures, it’s important to stay hydrated. Bring a reusable water bottle with you during outdoor workouts, as you can still sweat and lose fluids.

3.Dress in layers:make sure you stay comfortable by layering up. Start with moisture wicking base layers to keep sweat away from your skin and add insulating layers to stay warm. Remove as necessary. A backpack might be useful to keep everything organized.

4.Plan Seasonal Nutrition:Seasonal fruits and vegetables like apples, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes are great seasonal items that can add a nice variety to your daily meals. A little turkey chilli is also a great addition to add a little more protein and some warmth to the dropping temperatures.

5.Adjust Your Routine:As daylight hours decrease, consider adjusting your workout schedule. Be mindful of safety when exercising in the dark and opt for well lit areas or invest in reflective gear.

Autumn Leaf Safety

As we enter the fall season and see the leaves come down, creating work for many of us, I just want people to be thoughtful about how they go about their outdoor chores. Too often people are hasty when cleaning gutters which can lead to serious injury, and likewise, raking and collecting leaves can warm us up for snow, but can also wear us down. I just want to caution people to be careful when accomplishing their work.

When cleaning gutters, please make sure equipment is working properly, is appropriately used, and that people are using good judgment and taking appropriate safety measures. When raking, it might be wise to switch sides as you go, so that each side gets some rest as well as some work as you collect the leaves. And, if you are not confident that you can get everything done safely, there are plenty of contractors and perhaps kids that are available to help whether happy, reluctant, for free, or for a fee. Have a safe start to the season!

Building Your Medical Dream Team

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “It takes a village” when referring to raising children. That village usually includes help from family, friends, neighbors, teachers, coworkers, daycares, teammates/coaches, music/dance/art instructors, loved ones, and so on.When I think about this concept I can’t help but whistle the classicBeatles song, “Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends…”. What is often overlooked though is the “medical village,” if you will, required to keep your household healthy and thriving. In this article, we will explore the foundational MedicalDream Team every household needs in order to get healthy, stay healthy, and age well.

Consider forming your household Medical Dream Team with these professional doctors:

  1. Family Medicine / Internal Medicine Physician
  2. Dentist
  3. Optometrist
  4. Dermatologist
  5. Psychologist
  6. Pediatrician (for households with children from birth to 18 years of age)
  7. Doctor of Physical Therapy

As we think about doctors and specialities within medicine, we begin to divide the body into parts and segments, or conditions and diseases. Let’s revisit the list provided above for your MedicalDream Team. The family medicine / internal medicine physician is one who specializes in caring for the general public, young adults, adults, and those who are aging. They typically have a recurring visit (your annual physical) with you and will also be your go-to person if someone falls ill with a short-term virus or bacterial infection. The dentist is a doctor who specializes in taking care of one’s mouth, jaw, and teeth. The optometrist is a doctor who specializes in eyes: vision, sight, infections, etc. The dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in your skin, the largest organ of your human body.They look for signs of skin cancer, can help fight aging with interesting modalities and fancy technology, and educate the general public on how to properly care for the exterior of our bodies.The psychologist is a doctor of the mind and your emotions / behaviors. The global pandemic has opened our eyes to mental health and the fact that seeking treatment is a positive and healthy thing to do. As we treat and train the rest of our bodies, we must not neglect our innermost workings:heart, soul, emotions, mindset. Having a household doctor of psychology should be seen as commonplace and viewed as wise. Next, the pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the development and care of infants, children, and teenagers. This is a must-have if children are in your household.

Finally, we come to the Doctor of Physical Therapy. Perhaps this is the professional you didn’t expect to be on the list.. The other doctors are standard, commonplace, and more typical. Let’s explore why a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is critical to include on your Medical Dream Team.

DPTs are doctors of the whole body: Inside and outside, bones and muscles, ligaments and tendons, pediatrics to geriatrics, cardiology to sports medicine. They are widely trained in everything from neurology (stroke, Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, etc.) to orthopedics (joint pain, sports injuries, chronic pain, etc.). They can evaluate your medications and read your radiology reports and films. A DPT is a solid, smart choice for your go-to family doctor when things hurt or aren’t functioning properly. The role of the physical therapist is best described by the American Physical Therapy Association.

Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.Physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to people at the end of life. Many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions that need treatment. But PTs also care for people who simply want to become healthier and to prevent future problems.Physical therapists examine each person and then develop a treatment plan to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability.Physical therapists can have a profound effect on people’s lives. They help people achieve fitness goals, regain or maintain their independence, and lead active lives.

A recent change in regulation in the state of Maryland means you no longer need to have a physician referral to be evaluated by aDoctor of Physical Therapy! As soon as you experience pain, injury, or the like, you can immediately schedule an appointment with a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

When talking about any of these Dream Team doctors, it is important to note that some may be standard insurance-accepting practitioners while others may be out-of-network private pay. Is one better than the other? Not always. But sometimes, yes. Private pay doctors tend to (1) spend adequate time with their patients, (2) treat patients according to science, and are not limited in what they can offer patients as typically dictated by insurance reimbursement, and (3) provide high-quality care for their patients. They have broken through glass ceilings, broken out of standard health care molds, and are entrepreneurial at heart. They have developed better, more effective and highly efficient methods of offering healthcare to their patients.

Why would someone consider using an out-of-network doctor over using a doctor their insurance covers? Good question. Let’s look at a common example for physical therapy. A typical referral says something like “Eval & Treat, knee pain, 2-3 times/week for 6-8 weeks.” When you take that referral to a standard insurance practice, the front desk does some quick elementary math (3×8=24). You are pre-approved for 24 visits of physical therapy. You will pay a copay 24 times. You will carve out time from home, work, and other obligations 24 times. The standard physical therapy copay in 2022ranges from $25-$40, on average. At $25 per visit you are paying $600 and using well over 24 hours to commute, park, and attend the sessions. That’s assuming parking is free.At those sessions, you’ll likely see a doctor of physical therapy for a few minutes and then get handed off to an aide, tech, or assistant to finish your exercises.

If you took that same referral to an out-of-network clinic, you could be in and out of PT in 1-5sessions with the same outcome. You’ll pay about $200 for each 1-hour session, but you’ll be with the doctor of physical therapy one-on-one for the entire session. Furthermore, you’ve saved yourself over 20 hours, or more, of time. I should also mention that many concierge private-pay practitioner shave the option to come to you. Yes, your doctor can come for a house-call. That still exists! It’s not just a thing fromLittle House on the Prairie or remote rural communities. To some, time is money. To others, time is priceless. These are the decisions you have to make for you and your household.Sometimes the standard medical wheelhouse is appropriate, sometimes you need more from your doctors. You get to choose! This is not just the case for physical therapy, but also for any and all of the doctors on your household Medical Dream Team.

It’s also important to remember that not all doctors are created equally. How do you know if you have found a good one? Beyond the basics of making sure they are licensed and properly credentialed, here are attributes to look for when choosing professionals for your household Medical Dream Team:

  1. Their office is easy to get in touch with during business hours and you can actually speak to a person on the phone when you have questions. If they cannot answer the phone immediately, you should have a call back within two hours for non-emergent questions.
  2. You should have access to your provider during office hours and beyond office hours. The doctor may not give you their personal cell phone number or email address but there should be an online portal or after-hours call system where you can get questions answered on weekends, holidays, and evening hours.
  3. They should spend quality time with you and you should not feel rushed when receiving treatment. During your time together, the best practitioners demonstrate good active listening skills and are genuinely interested in hearing from you. After all, you know your body the best.
  4. These professionals should consider conservative treatment methods and yet be progressive and intuitive with their treatment plans. If you simply get a prescription for a medication without any discussion of nutrition, sleep, overall wellness, or lifestyle modifications, your doctor is not providing you with optimal care.
  5. Excellent doctors should care about all your pieces and parts, not just one related to their speciality. When seeing your eye doctor or dentist, they should ask you about any changes to your overall medical history. If they don’t, you might want to consider finding a new provider.
  6. Lastly, your Medical Dream Team should be your one-stop-shop for any and all referrals that are needed for your care. Things come up. You may find yourself in need of an oncologist, or pulmonologist, or allergist. Your Medical Dream Team should be able to quickly provide you with top-quality referrals to all sub-specialties. If they only know and care about a small circle of influence, you are not receiving the best care for your healthcare dollar.
  7. Lastly, your gut should have a strong confidence in your Medical Dream Team doctors. If you are second-guessing your doctors or questioning their logic…..pay attention to that voice in your head. Listen to your gut.

In conclusion, if you build your household Medical Dream Team as outlined above you’ll be in a good position to get healthy, stay healthy, and age well. I hope you understand a few more of your options when it comes to choosing providers. Lastly, I trust you see the value of adding a Doctor of Physical Therapy to your Medical Dream Team.

I would love to hear from you if you have any questions. Please feel free to contact me if you’re seeking clarification or looking for some high-quality referrals. Email me directly atliz@launchsp.com.We also offer free consultations to help you develop a customized care plan that meets your unique health care needs and expectations. Call our clinic at (240) 406-1265 to schedule yours today.

Cheers to good health! Dr. Liz

Injury Prevention

Whether your physical activity is as simple as brisk walking or as complex as training for 10 different track & field events, injury prevention is important to maintain good health and to keep your activity going without an unexpected hiatus. In our field of medicine, we see one of the most common causes of injuries: doing some sort of activity too much, too soon, too fast. With all good intentions, someone may start doing a new exercise or activity and end up getting injured from not gradually acclimating their body to it.

One good example of this is shoveling snow. Even if you’re going to the gym regularly, you may not be preparing your body for the demands of lifting and hauling hundreds of
pounds of snow. Then when you actually go to shovel, it may be possible to strain a muscle or develop a wear & tear injury. Or another example… you pick back up on recreational running after being away from it for 10 years. Just because you used to run 5 miles per day in college doesn’t mean that your body is going to be able to handle that amount again immediately.

In each of these situations, gradual progression is the key. Prepping for shoveling snow begins months before the snow even falls. It looks like lifting weights and building
cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Getting ready for a running race might look like a couch to 5k program, which starts off in walk/jog intervals and gradually increases
total weekly running mileage.

No matter your physical activity, consider taking steps to prevent a potential injury. Schedule an evaluation with one of our doctors of physical therapy, and we can analyze possible risk factors for injuries and prescribe exercises or techniques that may help reduce the potential for injury.

Electrolytes Aren’t Just for Athletes

Electrolytes play a crucial role in maintaining optimal energy levels and overall health. These essential minerals (sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium) support proper hydration, muscle function, and nerve transmission. During physical activity or in situations of increased fluid loss, such as sweating, electrolytes help prevent dehydration and muscle cramps. All these minerals are available in most foods, and sometimes we need to supplement them with an electrolyte powder or drink.

We’re used to seeing athletes chugging down these brightly colored drinks. However, no one needs to be an athlete to benefit from electrolytes. In fact, many of us who consume a typical American diet may be electrolyte deficient, even if we’re not very physically active. We may not be consuming enough in our daily meals, or we’re consuming enough but our level of physical activity may demand more than what’s available in our bodies.

Good natural sources of electrolytes include table salt (sodium & chloride) and savory foods such as soups and broths. Magnesium is found in brans (rice, wheat bran), seeds (pepitas, sunflower), and nuts. Potassium is found in dried fruits, tree fruits (avocadocs, oranges, bananas, apples), vine fruits (tomatoes, cucumbers), root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes), and leafy greens (kale, spinach). For many reasons, we may not be getting enough of these in our daily nutrition. Perhaps you may have cut down on the amount of salt you put in your food. For a period of time, salt was demonized, mostly from the epidemic of hypertension.

Some symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance include fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps & spasms, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. Though there are many variables that could lead to symptoms like these, a lack of electrolytes could be contributing, especially if they’ve been persistent. The doctors of physical therapy here at Launch can do a thorough analysis of your nutrition and health to determine if you’d benefit from electrolyte supplementation. Call today to schedule an evaluation

Fitness in Your Workspace

John Jowers, DPT, highlights the need for incorporating fitness into office routines to prevent sedentary lifestyle injuries, offering easy desk-based exercises and mindfulness techniques to foster a healthier work environment.

As a Physical Therapist I frequently treat people who have sustained injuries in their home or office workstations. The pandemic has certainly made that situation more common but the effects might not be immediately noticeable. I hope the information in this article will help you – whether or not you are currently in pain. Take notes, take it to heart and make a few changes in your own life as well as pass the knowledge on to your coworkers, friends and loved ones.

In a 1967 Wall Street Journal article, it was predicted that computers and robots would allow our forty hour work week to condense down to a twenty hour work week, giving us more time to spend in leisure with our families and friends. Their prediction was dead wrong! Even though we now have digital assistants that make our lives easier, the result has been that most of us work even longer hours because we are plugged in 24/7.

And with the increase in automation, it is easier to be sedentary. OK but maybe we can solve that by standing desks? Great intention, but still prevents being socially engaging, getting your heart rate up, and your muscles from being loaded with resistance, among many other issues.

I acknowledge there are plenty of professions that have the opposite issue, too much movement, and sometimes too much in odd positions. Like construction, auto mechanics, farmers, electricians, etc. But for the most part, the majority of us in the modern era have mostly sedentary jobs, which is what this article is geared toward. But don’t stop reading just because you’re in a more active profession – some of these principles apply to you, too.

Hadzabe tribe: There’s groups of tribal Tanzanian people called Hazda who are hunter-gatherers that is mostly uninfluenced by the western world.

Make a guess in the chat box. To eat, the men generally hunt and the women generally gather berries, tubers, and honey. You wouldn’t believe how much time they spend sitting compared to us in America.

Hours of time are invested in tutorials, videos, and books of proper ergonomics. That’s all good, but the research is in: [squat picture] move! Don’t let the workspace dictate what your body does; you dictate it!

Work out at work!

For those of you who do work out regularly, HIIT training has been very popular over the past few years, but be warned of the danger behind them. When we tend to be sedentary for 8 to 10 hours per day and then lump all of our activity into just one single hour where we do our HIIT workout, injury becomes more likely. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that folks in that group are exercising; it’s better than not exercising at all. But the most ideal thing to do is to spread movement and activity out throughout the day.

But Dr. John, HIIT training burns fat better and faster than moderate intensity training. Yes, the research behind the difference of the two is true. But the goal is long-term health, even if you have a goal in the short term to lose weight.

[fitbit graphs] The key is don’t look flat like this. Get spikes like this one.

Word of caution: I do hope this inspires you and/or your company to start a fitness program and lifestyle, but please do so with a reasonable amount of activity. A principle to abide by: gradual ramping up in total activity. If you jump in too much too soon too fast, injury is possible

4-square breathing: As important as it is to get your heart rate up, rest is equally important. Spend 8 minutes doing deep meditative breathing. Let’s all try a 4-square breathing technique. Where you’re at right now, lie or sit back completely relaxed, letting the weight of your body sink into the chair or floor completely. Heavy arms, heavy legs. Now draw and imaginary square in your head as you breathe. Take 4 seconds to draw a straight line up, Hold your breath in for 4 seconds as you draw a horizontal line across. Exhale 4 seconds, line down.

Physical exercises:

  • Squats
  • Desk push-ups
  • Chair dips
  • Windmills
  • Shadow boxing


  • AirPods or wireless bluetooth ear buds to allow walk & talk.
  • Keep a kettlebell or dumbbell next to workstation.
  • Get outside as much as possible.
  • If laptop or desktop, download a timer that forces screen to black once every hour for 1 minute.
  • Walking meetings.
  • If walking alone, practice mindfulness.
  • Join the kids in playtime.
  • Incorporate others, coworkers, neighbors.
  • Hold a daily whole office fitness session.
  • Start or join a corporate fitness program.
  • Microwave exercises (short bursts).
  • Interspersed household chores into sitting time.
  • Wear dress clothes that you don’t mind getting sweaty.
  • Actually, plan on them getting sweaty.
  • Clothes with 7-10% spandex.
  • Change the workplace atmosphere to welcome sweatiness. Well, within reason of course. There’s a way to be professional and still move more.
  • Build more movement into your day!
  • Open forum… share and give each other ideas of how you can work out at work. Or change how you work so that there’s more movement.


  • You do a lot of work on a phone, on the go, and not at a workstation, then move more!
  • Nutrition: eat the rainbow.

Thank you Launch promo


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