A Focus on Staying Strong in 2013

January 4, 2013

Yogi Berra once said, “ Half of hitting is 90% mental.” That same twisted logic applies to getting the most out of recovery. Before a person moves a muscle, the brain has to generate a signal to let the body know what to do. That’s where having the right mental attitude comes into play.

What I found during my rehab at Helen Hayes was that when I cleared my mind from outside distractions and just focused on what I wanted my body to do, making progress was a lot easier. Focus is an important tool that allows a person to retrain the mind as well as the body. A lot of times this aspect of treatment can be overlooked. While a therapist explains what you physically need to do, and gives you certain exercises and techniques to help you recover, having a positive attitude and a strong will to succeed ensures you get the most out of time spent in therapy.

Positive energy and a good attitude don’t just apply to the person getting the treatment; it also applies to the patients’ caregivers and family, too. Encouragement from those around you gets you psyched up to get the most out of your time at Helen Hayes before you even arrive. Let them know you are relying on them to keep you focused on getting stronger.

When I used to teach golf years ago, one of the first things I would tell a new student is, “If you think you can’t play golf, you can’t play golf.” Kind of my version of Yogi’s twisted logic, but none the less an effective way of getting the point across. The same holds true for therapy. If you go with the attitude you can’t make progress, your mind will not be ready to produce the effort needed. But, go into your treatment with the frame of mind that nothing will stop you from getting the most out of what you want to accomplish, and you can exceed your wildest expectations.

And remember, at Helen Hayes Hospital there are lots of programs to keep you strong and fit one you’ve been discharged. The Wellness Center has all types of fitness equipment, so developing a varied and enjoyable exercise regimen is easy. There is always a trained recreation therapist on duty to help you pick out a plan that’s best for you, and guide you in using the equipment properly. I found one of the best parts of being in a wellness class is meeting great people who offer support and encouragement. Although each person is there for a different reason a common bond is we all want to stay fit and strong, and that creates a great environment.

The last thing I want to mention is that Helen Hayes not only has a fantastic therapy pool, there are a number of programs that allow participants to get the most out of their time in the water. A couple of the programs offered are arthritis exercise classes and Ai Chi classes. Arthritis sessions allow participants to learn movements designed to lessen arthritis symptoms. Ai Chi focuses on breathing and movement to improve range of motion and strength. And of course, the pool is available for you to do your own thing keeping you fit. There are lots of times and days to choose the schedule that’s right for you. For information on the wellness center or Aquatic Therapy, call 845-786-4194 or 1-888-70-REHAB, ext 4194.

So, lets focus on getting the most out of each day. When we improve the quality of our own life it’s easier to be a better parent, spouse or friend. Stay strong and stay positive, and good things will happen. All the best in 2013!

-Greg Ehrlich