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Exercise Therapy vs. Physical Therapy - Make the Right Choice for You

Updated: Feb 6


You may have heard the common exercise term "mobility," and wondered what that means or why it's important. Mobility is a person's ability to move their body through its natural range of motion with ease, and working to maintain it is something everyone should focus on. A lack of mobility can lead to injury, daily stiffness and pain, or even simply ineffective workouts, no matter the style.


Those with an existing injury or a chronic illness that inhibits their mobility often seek out a physical therapist - a medical professional that uses rehabilitative methods to restore range of motion. It is common, though, that when a person has finished physical therapy, a lack of mobility returns because they stop doing the exercises they did in therapy. Many people wish there was a way to bridge the gap between simply restoring range of motion, and rebuilding lasting muscular strength. This is where an exercise therapist comes in.


Certified Exercise Therapist and Owner of Pro Push Fitness, Kristina Reynolds, explains the difference between exercise therapy and physical therapy,


"Both physical therapists and exercise therapy specialists help clients alleviate muscle/joint pain and improve their movement capabilities. However, the way these two professions enter a client's health and fitness journey is different.


Physical therapists are usually used by a client to treat a medical diagnosis, physical trauma, or injury. They are healthcare professionals and are often used as an alternative to orthopedic surgeries. While an exercise therapist can work under a physical therapist's guidance and follow their prescriptions, they also have a very different job. We do not diagnose or treat medical conditions.

Our specialty skills consist of assessing and evaluating a client’s musculoskeletal system for soft tissue and movement restrictions, imbalances, habitual patterns, and muscle dysfunction that may affect that person’s ability to move well, exercise effectively and/or perform daily activities.
This specialized knowledge regarding the musculoskeletal system helps us design and implement corrective and even therapeutic exercise programs to assist clients in beginning, resuming and/or continuing a fitness program without experiencing muscle and joint pain, reoccurring injury or movement limitations.

Often we take a client directly after they complete physical therapy and help them to continue to strengthen the affected area safely, and effectively build back strength and muscle. However, we also work with individuals who live with chronic conditions, and guide them through exercises that enable better functional movement and daily mobility."


Kristina has helped many of our clients with chronic illnesses conquer their debilitating pain through exercise therapy. One of those clients Mary Beth, suffers from various chronic diseases, including fibromyalgia. On the subject of her exercise therapy experience at Pro Push she commented,

"Rather than experiencing more pain or possible injuries I have been guided by an expert through an exercise regimen that benefits me and am actually seeing and feeling results. I recommend anyone who has reservations with exercise due to chronic illness or even accident and injury recoveries, to consider working with an Exercise Therapist."

All performed in-house, at our private personal training facility in Gilbert, Arizona, exercise therapy is designed to help clients with injuries, chronic illnesses/pain, or even just a desire to retain their mobility and longevity.




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