Couch to 5K During COVID

Published by OptimisPT on

Couch to 5K During COVID

By: Cheryl “Chae” Dimapasoc Canon, PT, DPT;  OptimisPT Director of Implementation and Compliance

Our communities have gained weight, experienced decreased overall activity, and have (for the most part) been hesitant to venture out during this pandemic.  Thankfully, we have started to see patients return to the clinic and successfully take advantage of telehealth.  There are still so many that need help returning to being active or safely becoming active for the first time.  

Here is a solution that has been successful in: 

  1. Screening a patient for cardiovascular risk factors
  2. Screening a patient for mobility or strength deficits that could lead to injury
  3. Helping a patient set a goal for an activity that they can participate in and reach that goal, all while improving their overall activity and health
  4. Generating business in the process.

Option 1:  An event 6-12 weeks in the future for those starting or returning to activity

Step 1:  Find a virtual activity that your clinic would enjoy promoting and that your community members/patients would enjoy participating in.  

For example:  

 The Great American Turkey Trot

Participants can run, walk, jump or skip around the neighborhood, on their favorite trail, on a treadmill, or do laps around the block.  Participants receive great swag, including a facemask, t-shirt or tank top and a medal.

Step 2:  Advertise to your current and previous patients that your practice is participating in a 5K and you would love for them to get involved!  They can be assessed to get ready for the activity via telehealth or in the clinic by receiving a cardiovascular risk factor assessment and a general strength and flexibility screen.  Based on their assessment, you can recommend additional sessions to address any concerns or impairments.

Step 3:  Screen the patient for cardiovascular RISK factors with a HEART (Health Education and Risk Test) assessment.  For OptimisPT users this can be performed electronically by the patient on their OptimumMe app, once sent to the app by the therapist.  Based on the patient’s goals and score, a heart rate specific training program is created and prescribed to the patient via the OptimumMe app.  If you have not yet taken advantage of the HEART assessment and would like more information, please contact your OptimisPT Customer Success Consultant directly or via the OptimisPT Support tab.

Step 4:  Perform a strength and flexibility screen to determine any structural components that may place a patient at risk for injury with their new activity.  This can be done using the START (Sport Training and Athletic Readiness Test) assessment.  Based on any impairments identified, assign exercises via the OptimumMe app and encourage the patient to be consistent with them to prepare for the event or upcoming activity.  The patient’s progress can be monitored within OptimisPT.  If you are not an OptimisPT subscriber, a general strength and flexibility screen along with walking analysis can provide a great place to start, but the corrective exercises would need to then be prescribed separately versus the auto creation of an impairment specific 12-week program.

Step 5: Prior to the event reassess the patient’s HEART and START score and any impairments that have been identified.  Allow the patient to celebrate their progress!

Option 2:  An upcoming event for those that have remained active

For those that have not stopped “moving” and engaging in normal activity, here are some great upcoming virtual events that can allow them a fun way to remain active, receive some great “race swag”, and do it in a safe way!  These are just a few, but more can be found by searching “virtual run”.

Virtual Race – Take a Hike/Walk Custom Distance

Disney Star Wars Virtual 1/2 Marathon

Race for the Sea Turtles

Virtual Run Events

These ideas can help you market to your community, current and prior patients, and work toward your patients becoming “clients” for life.  Physical therapists are in the ideal position to help our communities return to a more active lifestyle.

**OptimisPT does not have any financial interest or gain in any of the virtual events listed.