Once a week you'll have the opportunity to peek inside the mind of one of our local health & wellness experts. They'll share with you their advice, suggestions, wisdom and answer their most popular question from clients.
This week let's get to know our local health and wellness expert David Barlow, DPT, OCS. David is a Physical Therapist and owner of BE Fit Physical Therapy. Now in two locations, Lyme Road in Hanover, New Hampshire and The Upper Valley Aquatics Center in White River Jct., Vermont.
Tell us about yourself and why did you choose to go into a health field?
My early childhood years were spent growing up Hanover. This was a fabulous area to grow up in and I feel extremely fortunate to be raising my kids here. One of the greatest influences on my career was probably my father, Peter Barlow. He spent the majority of his career as a Physician with DHMC and taught at the Medical School. I always thought that I would do something in Medicine. The tipping point came when I suffered my own ACL/ MCL injury while playing rugby that required surgery and extensive rehab and PT. The process had a profound effect on me and my desire to help others.
What makes you unique in your field?
- Experience: Having spent the past 20 years as a therapist I have had the opportunity to treat not only a variety of injuries and conditions, but to see these injuries over and over and see how they present differently. Working in Outpatient PT and treating the same types of injuries has helped me to learn what works and what doesn’t as so many injuries often have very subtle nuances that are unique to each individual.
- Empathy/Caring: I have had many injuries myself over the years. This has helped immensely in understanding the recovery process, both mentally and physically. My focus has always been on the individual as a whole and not just the injury. Because of this I love what I do and that makes all the difference.
What question do your clients ask most frequently and how do you answer them?
Many people still ask me what a physical therapist does. Most of what we do is help people learn to move and restore proper joint mobility and control. We do this thru a variety of manual techniques, focused movement or guided exercises. Education is a huge part of what we do, not only to prevent further injury but to teach people how to help themselves and eliminate pain.
What do you see as the greatest health risk posed to this generation?
Overtraining or over specialization for youths. Sports participation and training has changed significantly from when I was a teenager where I played a variety of high school sports. Nowadays kids are playing the same sport year round and often on multiple teams or clubs. I truly believe this often leads to greater injury and/ or overuse. I see much more value in training and competing in a variety of sports when we are younger for overall coordination and skill development.
What’s the best health/fitness/wellness advice you ever received?
You are what you eat. In order to perform well you need to give your body the right fuels if you expect to function at peak performance.
Do you have a success story of redeemed health you’d like to share?
After 20 years of working as a therapist I am still rewarded and amazed at how resilient people can be. I am not sure that picking one story can adequately sum up all the great patient experiences, but helping individuals overcome serious injury or recover from a surgery is extremely gratifying experience. A few years ago I recall a young field hockey player from Dartmouth who suffered two severe episodes of LBP related to multiple herniated discs. I worked with her for months and months, guiding her on exercises and her approach to self-care with her back, hoping to avoid surgery. Six months after working with her, I ran into her running thru the pine park trails off the golf course. She stated that she stayed dedicated to all the activities she had learned in PT and over time she was able to return to a normal pain free routine and exercise. The smile on her face told me all I needed to know.
What is your favorite area of wellness to practice?
Running is one of my favorite activities. Mostly short distances 10K and ½ marathon distances. The covered bridges is one of my favorite races in the upper valley. Much of this is centered on staying healthy, and keeping up the conditioning so I can still play soccer, ski, paddle tennis.
What are you passionate about, besides your professional life?
Paddle Tennis is truly a fantastic and challenging game which I play mostly from September - April. You can check it out at www.NorwichRacquetClub.org. We have a local club here in Norwich and run a yearly tournament in November that draws nationally rank players from across the Northeast for both Men and Women. Not only is it a highly competitive sport, which feeds my spirit, but it is best played outside which makes the long winter season much more bearable.
What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
BE Fit, Be Well. -
What’s one book you recommend everyone should read?
Since I often do a lot of reading related to work and PT I tend to spend more time with fiction based novels to relax. I was always a Robert Ludlum Fan - The Parsifal Mosaic and Bourne Identity were my favorites. As a kid I thought everyone should read Watership Down.
What’s one suggestion you have that would have the greatest impact for improved health?
Stay active, and move. Once you stop doing things it is hard to restart. To that end, make time to take care your of yourself. There is always time, you just have to make it a priority
Any final piece of wisdom you’d like to share?
Stay 100% engage in what you do. If is playing with your kids, having lunch with friends, take a walk with you partner. Set aside specific time and focus your energy on that endeavor.
How can people learn more about you and what you offer?
Check out our website www.befitphysicaltherapy.com. Word of mouth is a great resource as you can share experiences and/or successes.
Did you enjoy this story ? You might also like:
Next Week's Interview Maeve Ryan, Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Y12SR (Yoga of 12-Step Recovery) Instructor.
Last Week's Interview Carolyn Hooper, Restorative Wellness Coach, Nature Connection Coach, and certified End of Life Doula.
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If you would like to be featured please send an email to Julie@JulieGlynnCoaching.com