In health care, it’s typically a bad sign when you have patients returning again and again or requesting to come to the clinic more frequently. But that’s the situation the Des Moines University Physical Therapy Clinic finds itself in.
For more than a year, patients have voluntarily come to the clinic on a weekly basis to improve their health — in exercise classes. The popularity of its initial offerings has led the PT Clinic to increase the frequency of classes and develop new ones to meet demand.
“Due to the popularity and request for additional exercise classes to promote strength, flexibility and balance, we are expanding our services to have a class on Tai Chi and increasing to twice a week for Active Older Adult Exercise and Pilates. We are also planning to add in Therapeutic Yoga in March,” says Kari Smith, D.P.T., ATC, BCB-PMD, Physical Therapy Clinic manager.
“Physical therapy plays an important role in the prevention of injuries and chronic disease, and the health care system is finally identifying the positive impact of prevention activities,” she continues. “Health promotion is taught in our D.P.T. curriculum. We model this behavior as clinicians and provide these exercise programs for the long-term maintenance of health for our patients.”
The low-cost classes are taught by DMU Physical Therapy clinicians, including Smith, a Stotts Pilates certified instructor. Unlike classes at fitness centers and gyms, there is no major commitment required — financial or otherwise. Patients can pay for a group of classes up front or at each session, giving them the flexibility to choose when they want to attend and for how long.
Beginning in January, the clinic’s current classes, Active Older Adult Exercise and Core Strength with Pilates, will move to twice a week. On January 14, the PT Clinic will launch Tai Chi for Arthritis, an eight-week class that uses the controlled, gentle movements of Tai Chi to relieve pain and stiffness from arthritis. But don’t let the name fool you. The class is great for all older adults — not just those with arthritis — as Tai Chi is proven to reduce falls by improving balance, strength, flexibility and stamina.