Missoula: 406/721-3096  |  Stevensville: 406/777-3523  |  The Women's Club: 406/327-0706

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“I feel so much better. I wish that I had been here earlier.”

- Mary

Missoula’s Physical Therapists Since 1984.

Valley Physical Therapy is a locally owned and independent private practice that has been serving our local community since 1984. We are also physical therapist-owned and that means we value quality, personalized care for our patients. Our team consists of talented employees - both clinical and non-clinical - who have a strong reputation for clinical quality, effective outcomes and positive customer service.

Our mission is to provide quality, comprehensive physical therapy services through growing knowledge and skills, empowerment of clients, and promotion of health and wellness. We emphasize individual client evaluation and treatment to help clients meet their personal goals.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Fight Stress with Exercise

Imagine a cave man walking along with his club in hand. As he turns the corner around a giant bolder he is face to face with a saber tooth tiger! The cave man has two life saving choices: beat the tiger with the club or run for his life! Fight-or-flight. Increased heart rate and blood pressure are our basic Autonomic Nervous System responses to threat or stress. We encounter stress in our everyday lives at work, school or home. This same autonomic response of flight-or-fight occurs in our system however it is not socially acceptable to beat up or run away from your boss, instructor or family member. A constructive way to channel this response is to exercise!!

The physical effects of stress and the benefits of exercise have long been established. According to the American Psychological Association 75% of people in the United States feel stressed out. Stress is attributed to 50% of us eating unhealthy, 47% can't sleep well and one in three are depressed. Stress is associated with just about every chronic disease. Research has shown that exercise can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, osteoporosis, falls and fractures, depression and dementia.

Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Research favors cardio workouts in pumping more blood to the brain. Increased blood oxygen to the brain can cause an actual change in your brains ability to produce specific chemicals that increase our brains ability to buffer (have a less exaggerated) fight-or-flight response. Cardio workouts include exercise that increases your heart rate for a sustained period of time (i.e.: fast walking, hiking, running, cycling, tennis, mowing the lawn or aerobics classes). In addition to cardio exercise research shows that yoga, strength training and any form of physical activity can be beneficial in the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. The release of endorphins leads to a feeling of euphoria, modulation of appetite and an enhancement of immune response. Regular exercise can give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

We as human beings were designed to move, not to sit on chairs. Everyone knows that exercise is good you and that it is one of the best stress combatants available; however the majority of peoples' excuse it that they are too busy and stressed to fit it into their routines.

Here are some tips to start an exercise program and how to stick with it. Write down specific, measureable, attainable and time-limited goals. Specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week or if needed, finding a baby sitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend an exercise class. Find a friend, co-worker or family member to help motivate you. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up helps keep you committed to your workouts. Ride your bike to work and take stairs. Choose a gym that is on your way home from work. Join a running club. Pencil in your exercise at the start of the week. If you can't fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10- minute walks instead. Be patient when you start a new exercise program and allow four to eight weeks of consistent exercise prior to feeling in shape. What is most important is to choose an exercise that you enjoy. Try not to think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list.

Here are the recommended physical activity levels:

• Adults (19-65 and over): 150 minutes every week

• Young people (5-18): 60 minutes every day

• Children under five: 180 minutes every day.

Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress. Whatever exercise you try, I hope you soon discover the physical and mental benefits in your life!

Linda Redfern PT

Valley Physical Therapy