Make It a Family Affair: Benefits of Active Children

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As adults, we are well aware that if we spend all of our free time lounging on the couch, our waistline, as well as our health, will take a hit. For children, the temptation to sit in front of the television or play video games is strong. Without motivation to move, it’s likely they’ll continue their sedentary habits, so make it a family initiative. Spending time together as family is associated with a stronger emotional bond, better communication amongst family members, less behavioral problems, and improved school performance. Children learn habits from their parents, and this includes healthy habits too.

Improve Physical Health

Physical activity is essential at every age, because like adults, children are at risk of developing chronic diseases too, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Children who are inactive have decreased opportunities to develop important motor skills, and are more likely to develop sedentary habits that will last their entire life. To avoid setting your child up for an unhealthy lifestyle, get active together. Physical activity is important for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or weight, so the entire family can benefit. Social support from family has been shown to have positive effects on the amount of activity performed by both women and men, so the influence of family is strong.

According to recommendations by the American College of Sports Medicine, children should be physically active for 60 minutes or more each day, including moderate to vigorous intensity exercise, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening exercises. Children’s time spent doing sedentary non-academic activities, such as watching television or playing video games, should be limited to less than two hours a day. For adults, the physical activity recommendation is 150 minutes each week.

Limit Screen Time

Childhood obesity is a serious issue, and it is exacerbated by the fact that more and more children are becoming sedentary. Children are sitting around more often than they used to, and spending hours every day in front of some sort of screen whether it is the television, smartphone, tablet, computer, or other devices. To encourage your child to become more active, limit the amount of screen time by putting limits on time spent using media. To decrease the temptation, keep TVs, computers, and video games out of children’s rooms and turn off all screens during mealtimes.

Let Your Child Take the Lead

As you to start to incorporate more physical activity into your child’s life, let your child take the lead. Kids enjoy feeling a sense of power and mastery. According to education professor Dr. Steve Sanders, “Your role is to be a facilitator or guide to help your child learn about, refine, and improve physical skills,” which creates trust that carries over into other areas of your child’s life.

Encourage your child to initiate the physical activity, whether it is kicking a soccer ball, swimming (there is plenty of great exercise equipment out there for this), drawing with sidewalk chalk, or crawling around on all fours pretending to be a dinosaur.

The key to encouraging more physical activity is make it fun, so get creative. For example, turn your yard or nearby park into an obstacle course, make up your own sport, build a fort out of blankets, or add new twists to classic games such as freeze tag and hide-and-seek. Make household projects such as staining a fence, painting a wall, or planting a garden a family activity rather than one just for adults. In addition, if your child is already involved in team sports, you can still be involved by volunteering with the team, traveling to away games, and practicing one-on-one with your child.

Family time is great way to incorporate physical activity and improve the health of the entire family. Everyone can reap some sort of benefit, so make it a fun time for all involved. Encourage your child to learn new skills and tap into their interests as you become active together.

Ankle Sprains and Chronic Ankle Instability

(CAI) Part I

Ankle sprains are among the most common of all traumatic injuries. It is estimated that 1 out of every 10,000 people in the US sprain an ankle daily or 23,000 ankle sprains per day. Of those, only around 50% are estimated to seek treatment from a healthcare professional. However, up to 70% of patients will suffer from repetitive ankle sprains and chronic pain after injury. (CAI) With all injuries, ankle sprains included, it is important to figure out injury severity, determine if imaging is necessary, and how is the injury BEST treated?

One question is; when do you need treatment, and what type of treatment is needed? Initially, it must be decided if your sprained ankle is only a ligament injury (most common) or whether you need an x-ray to rule out a fracture. There is good research behind a Canadian developed clinical prediction rule called the Ottawa Ankle Rules. Essentially, if you can’t walk a few steps immediately after the injury, or in the ER, and there is tenderness to palpation on the inside or outside of the ankle on the malleoli, then you need a x-ray. Other- wise there is a low likelihood that a fracture is present.

Most inversion ankle sprains involve the lateral (outside) ligaments of the ankle. It has been theorized that due to the position of the fibular head getting positioned too far anteriorly (forward) that chronic ankle pain and instability are more likely. One study looked at this theory in regards to self reported chronic ankle instability (CAI). Of the two test groups,the position of the fibular head in the CAI group showed on average a 2.4 cm position anterior in comparison to the uninvolved ankle by way of fluoroscopy (real time moving x-ray). Essentially, in patients with CAI and pain, that even after the injured ligaments have healed, if the fibular position isn’t addressed, then the likelihood of CAI and pain are more likely.

In regards to treatment, there are hands on manual therapy techniques that address the fibular head position. At Holland Physical Therapy we treat one patient at a time using evidence based, hands on, manual therapy techniques. Exercise is an integral part of treatment for ankle sprains, but the ankle joint mobility and fibular head position have to be addressed to give complete resolution of symptoms. Part II will look at more research behind treatment for ankle sprains. Call us at 616-355-4284 or visit us at to get evaluated.

Ford Reinink PT, DPT

Director of Clinical Operations for Holland Physical Therapy

Questions To Ask Your Physical Therapist During Treatment

Why Should I Go To Holland Physical Therapy for Treatment?

To pick where to go for physical therapy, it all begins with your connection with your PT. If you are hesitant about going to physical therapy, call or come in to Holland Physical Therapy, and ask to speak with me. I’ve always told the PT students that I mentor that patients “don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” The best PT’s not only can connect with patients and make them feel comfortable, but offer a high quality of care.

To get the best outcome, a physical therapist needs to be able to relate to people and make the therapy program work for patients’ lifestyle, available free time, and their budget. 

Questions to ask your PT:

What is wrong with me?

  • Seems like a standard question; your PT should be able to tell you what they think is going on, in very clear and understandable terms
  • If they can’t tell you what is wrong, that means that the care you will receive will not be specific for your issues, and it might be what I call “cook book therapy” where every patient is doing relatively the same thing

What can I do to help myself?

  • Home exercise programs (HEP) and activity modifications are a hallmark of outpatient orthopedic PT care. Initial HEP programs focus on pain and symptom relief while a long term HEP should be geared towards functional activities, strengthening, and prevention. See our website FAQ for more on the HEP frequency  
  • Successful outcomes involve teamwork of your PT showing you your HEP, performing skilled manual therapy, and the patient following through and performing the program

What will we do while I’m in PT?

  • The best use of time and money is by your PT performing skilled manual therapy techniques (joint and soft tissue mobilization) to decrease pain from the first visit on 
  • Then, your PT showing you how you can strengthen, stabilize, and maintain range of motion with a skilled HEP
  • One thing you should not do in physical therapy is perform exercises over and over when you could be performing them at home. However, occasional HEP review with your PT watching your form is necessary

How will I know when I don’t need to come to physical therapy anymore?

  • That is different for every patient, but number one is, obviously, when your pain is gone
  • However, once pain relief is achieved, it all comes down to patient goals and prevention of further issues. For example, goals of a marathon runner are different from someone who just wants to garden and walk without pain
  • We look at your range of motion, strength, and most importantly, how you move, and faulty movement patterns that could contribute to pain later
  • Movement patterns and posture, are the single biggest reason for tissue breakdown and pain. Most issues are not from major trauma, but by straining tissue repeatedly until it starts to break down and eventually cause pain

The bottom line is that good PT’s listen to the patient, perform a skilled physical exam, and design a specific and unique program to work on all of the patient’s needs.

At Holland Physical Therapy we are highly trained, passionate about what we do, and we LISTEN and CARE about our patients. I have found that when I truly listen to my patients, both in what they say and in the manner in which they say it, that my outcomes are a lot better. 

Call us at 616-355-4284 to schedule an appointment or visit us at


Ford Reinink PT, DPT
Director of Clinical Operations

Physical Therapist in Holland