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Be Happy and Feel Good

Watch The Ted Takj by Dr. Stephen Ilardi

The number of Americans with depression has increased dramatically over the last ten years.  Depression is usually managed with medications and at present, one in five Americans is taking an antidepressant medication.  A modality of depression treatment that is often overlooked is exercise.  Daily movement has a restorative effect on brain health.  For decades, we have known that bed rest, induced by illness or injury, can change our physiology in a fairly short amount of time.  A sedentary lifestyle can have just as big an impact on how the brain functions.  Take the time to watch Stephen Ilardi PhD *Ted Talk on the management of depression.  If you have the time read the **article he wrote in the October 26, 2017 issue of the Wall Street Journal.  Dr. Ilardi has some insight on how technology enhancements are making us unhappy.

Consistent exercise restores brain health, immunizes us from depression, and greatly reduces pain.  Physical therapy patients and fitness clients frequently say the most beneficial aspect of a renewed devotion to exercise is the improvement in their mood.  Hundreds of studies have demonstrated the positive effects exercise has on brain chemistry.  All of the happiness and pain suppressing molecules antidepressant medications attempt to increase are developed and maintained sooner and stronger with exercise.  Mood improving serotonin, dopamine, and BDNF–Miracle Gro for you neurons–all increase with exercise.  Some of the most revealing research on pain science has shown that the brains “pain circuitry” changes when a patient is depressed.  Pain is perceived as more intense, widespread, and emotionally challenging.  Now put down your iphone and watch Dr. Ilardi.

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

*TedxEmory, Dr. Stephen Ilardi.  See the ted talk on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drv3BP0Fdi8

**Wall Street Journal, Why Personal Tech Is Depressing, Dr. Stephen Ilardi, October 26, 2017.

One of the biggest changes I have witnessed in my 30 years as a physical therapist has been the onset of old age postural problems in younger bodies. Every day, we help young people with complaints of upper back soreness, neck pain, and headaches related to postural stress.   On a recent trip to Manhattan, I was amazed at how many of the subway riders spent the entire trip slumped over, staring into a smart phone while the train subjected their spines to the damaging vibratory oscillations we work to eliminate in industrial work sites. Unfortunately, as is the case with prolonged sitting, you cannot exercise enough to “out train” the damaging effects of these poor posture habits. It appears the damage extends farther up the neck.


A recent article by Amy Cuddy in the December 12, 2015 edition of The New York Times entitled “Your iPhone is Ruining Your Posture—and Your Mood” reveals how poor postural habits can damage our mood, memory, and decision making skills. The number one reason people give for exercising is that it makes them “feel better.” Perhaps these positive feelings are related to the connection between mood and activation of dormant postural reflexes. I believe this is the scientific answer to why individuals fall into fountains and walk into traffic while using an i-device. This article demonstrates that correction of posture has more than just physical benefits. Ill-advised text messages and tweets will be less common as your reasoning and logic improve with a reformation in your posture.

To read the article, click on the link below:


-Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS