Pediatric Therapy Program at Exercisabilities

Pediatric Therapy Program at Exercisabilities

Why a specialized pediatric program is important when a child needs therapy.


Tessah Skoog, PT,DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Beginning in January 2018, Exercisabilities now offers a pediatric program to meet the needs of the children in our community.  This new program creates a continuum of care from infant to adulthood in one location.  Your child can grow with their therapy program instead of growing out of it.  With a team just for kids, we now provide speech, occupational and physical therapy. We your child to be as independent as possible!

Similar Goals, Different Paths

Treatment for our pediatric program is not significantly different than that of our adult population. However, there are many things to consider when treating a pediatric client:

  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the parents’ goals for their children?
  • How can we get a child to actively participate in “play” that is therapeutic and purposeful?
  • What if a child won’t do what I want them to? Can I alter each activity to make it skilled and appropriate?

With the adult population, it is easier to make a plan at the beginning of your session and follow it straight through. For example, you might have an adult who has a diagnosis of post stroke. The session will focus on stretching, cardiovascular training, functional activities with sit to stands, reaching or gait training. At the beginning of the session, the client is educated on how the course of the session is likely to go, they agree, and the session is over before you know it.

Pediatric Program Takes Creativity and Passion

With the pediatric population, we need a different approach. There needs to be a variety of activities planned for therapeutic play and the child often does not cooperate the entire time. It takes creativity, energy and passion to treat a pediatric client. With ages ranging from 0-18 (and sometimes older) the pediatric population can provide challenges with how to facilitate functional activities. If you want to get a child to roll, how can you activate the appropriate muscles on the floor, on a stability ball? Use of a variety or resources is needed. It takes more than just telling the child to roll; it involves play, demonstration, and clapping when the activity is completed appropriately.

Consider a child that needs to strengthen their calves.   You want them to reach over head and go on to their tippy toes. Well, you need a mirror, a shelf or something for them to reach for. It then becomes an activity that they don’t even realize they are doing! They are on their toes reaching for their favorite toy above them because they want it so bad! A pediatric session waxes and wanes, it’s a rollercoaster. You don’t spend 15 minutes on one activity, you’re lucky to get 5 minutes!

Team of Therapists

It also takes a team.  The needs a developing child can be very different from that of an adult.  Things like learning development, speech development, social interaction, and ability to play can be impacted by trauma, cognitive or physical impairments.  Exercisabilities has an experienced pediatric team of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy to work on all aspects of recovery and development.

But what about school therapy, isn’t that enough or doesn’t the school have an obligation to provide therapy to all children in need.  Yes, school-based therapies are important.  The goals of school-based therapies are to insure that all children get equal access to and benefit from school education.  Often, it is not enough.  For recovery and improved development to occur, frequency of intervention is key.  Accessing an outpatient skilled therapy program in addition to your periodic school-based therapies is often essential for success to occur.

Early Intervention

The overall benefit of a utilizing a separate and specialized pediatric therapy program with early intervention is to promote a higher level of independence lifelong for your child. We want each child to do as much as they can! With regularly scheduled therapies available at younger ages, strength can develop earlier, contractures can be prevented, speech can be improved, social interaction will excel, strategies for families and school can be made, and necessary equipment discovered.  As the child grows, adjustments need to be made often to make for a successful overall plan.  Pediatric therapy is IMPORTANT! Exercisabilities wants to be a place that makes all things POSSIBLE for children (and adults)!

At the end of the day, pediatric or adult, the goals are the same: to help each person reach their full potential and to improve. How we reach our goals and get to our final destination looks VERY different. Age is a number, but we need to be mindful how we meet the needs of our patients at all ages.


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities

Forever Strong – Post Rehabilitation Program

Forever Strong – Post Rehabilitation Program

Forever Strong

Post-Rehabilitation Exercise Therapy


So you’ve been to rehab. “Been there, done that” as they say. What’s next? Nothing? It can’t be nothing. Your rehab needs aren’t gone. You know you haven’t maximized your recovery ability.  There must be more.

Relax, there is.

Physical Therapy at ExercisAbilities

Continuum Health Care

The Forever Strong Program at ExercisAbilities is a one-of-a-kind program in Rochester MN, created to provide post-rehabilitation fitness and recreational services when the need for full rehabilitation services are over or no longer available to you. It is a continuum rehabilitation healthcare program.


Your rehabilitation needs may never end, however, “skilled” insurance paid therapy by an occupational, physical, or speech therapist may end.   It may end because your insurance coverage for rehabilitation ends. It may end because the therapist determines your rehabilitation has plateaued and believes you may not see significant improvement going forward. At ExercisAbilities we know that your long-term health and wellness goals likely require ongoing treatment with assist by skilled practitioners, which we call Post-Rehabilitation.

Post-Rehabilitation may be the next step for you. Post-Rehabilitation allows you to continue with a healthcare program specifically designed for you, your needs, your medical condition and your fitness level. This may mean more rehabilitation or a transition to exercise therapy, recreational therapy and exercise classes. The post-rehabilitation program we design will be customized for you.

Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program

At ExercisAbilities, the Forever Strong Program is our unique approach to your long-term wellness. This program provides a lifelong approach to your wellness in relationship to your medical diagnosis or physical limitation. After an initial assessment of your ability level, our staff will determine the next steps in a program specially designed for you. Your program will be modified to accommodate your physical and cognitive abilities and will focus on providing safe and effective post-rehabilitation recovery interventions. We have specially trained exercise specialists and therapeutic recreation staff to serve you and the program is provided in consultation with onsite licensed physical and occupational therapists.

Your individualized program may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise therapy (specialized medical fitness), diagnosis specific exercises classes and more. Our services range from group therapy classes, such as our Stroke Recovery classes, to specific and individualized exercise therapy.


Who needs Forever Strong?

The Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program will be advantageous for a large variety of situations and diagnosis. Physical Therapy at ExercisabilitiesIf you have graduated out of a recovery or rehabilitation program but know you need on-going treatment to reach your maximum potential, then this program is for you. If your insurance coverage is maxed out, no longer paying for your rehabilitation, this program is for you. If you want to be Forever Strong, despite your physical limitations, this program is for you. If you want to find the ability in your disability, this program is for you. Wheelchair users, Parkinson Disease, Stroke Recovery, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy clients and more will benefit from this program.

How Do I Get Started with Post-Rehabilitation?

Getting started is easy. Every new client at ExercisAbilities receives a free, individual health fitness assessment. New clients meet with an Exercise Specialist or Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Our staff will assess your ability level and review your specific history to help them understand your needs and goals. Together, you will plan your Road Map to Health which will include recommended classes and services to meet your individual needs. Staff will also give you a free orientation of our facility, so you can see the available equipment and exercise rooms.

To get started, stop by our front desk to schedule your New Client Assessment or call 507-259-7570.  We do not require a medical provider referral.

How Much Does Post Rehabilitation cost?

The Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program is customized per client, allowing us to design individualized post-rehabilitation programs for each client. Your custom program may include a variety of our services and thus there isn’t a set cost for the program.

As part of your New Client Assessment, you will meet with our business office staff to explore your payment options. This may include self-payment, waiver assistance with state funding programs, a sliding-scale payment or subsidized payments made possible by community donations to ExercisAbilities as we are a non-profit organization.

Because this is a post-rehabilitation program, most often used after prescribed rehabilitation or insurance payments have ended, it is unusual for formal medical insurance programs to cover the costs but check with your insurance company.

Forever Strong – A Lifetime of Health and Fitness

Being well is not a luxury, it is a need to which each person should have access. Massive amounts of research now point to activity and fitness as the primary factor in living a longer, healthier life. Don’t let your rehabilitation journey stop and risk going backward in your progress.

Call 507-259-7570 or stop by our office at 2530 N. Broadway to get started.

Keep gaining strength by joining our Forever Strong Post Rehabilitation Program today!

You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities

February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month

It’s Heart Health Month at ExercisAbilities and all across the United States.  The first American Heart Month was proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in February 1964. At that time more than half of the deaths in the US were caused by cardiovascular disease. From then on, February has been annually designated as American Heart Month.

This month we will focus on all things heart healthy and that is an amazingly complex topic. Heart health can be as simple as exercise for some and as complex as heart surgery for others. At ExercisAbilities we will work with you as you strive to make healthy choices for your heart health.

Heart Healthy Eating

Eating right is the foundation to a lot of your health including your heart health. Heart-healthy eating includes eating vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, lean meats, fish, nuts and more. But it’s not really that simple because even the smartest of us can take a healthy apple and turn it in to a sugar-loaded piece of apple-pie with whipped cream AND ice cream on top.

Heart healthy eating includes eating the right things, prepared the right way. Try to avoid packaged foods (high in sodium) and eat fresh! There are all kinds of heart-healthy diet and recipe websites out there for you, just google “Heart Healthy Recipes” or “Heart Healthy Diet” to find one.

Perhaps the best thing to get you started on your heart-healthy eating habits is a visit with our dietician, Laurie Brengman. Laurie is a licensed dietician and can provide a one-on-one consultation. We also have a great group class, Learn To Be Fit, which teaches you both how to eat right and get started on an exercise program.

Heart Healthy Weight Management

The more body fat you have the more likely you are to develop coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.  A healthy weight for adults is usually when your body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. But how the heck do you compute your BMI? Here is a  BMI calculator to help you get an estimate.  If you are overweight or obese, try to lose weight. Losing just 5% of your current weight can improve your blood pressure and losing a bit more can help you prevent pre-diabetes from becoming Type 2 Diabetes. Losing 5-10% of your current weight also helps lower triglycerides and glucose levels, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol! Health professionals recommend losing 5 to 10 percent of your initial weight over the course of about 6 months.

Join our Learn to Be Fit class in April to get started with both a diet and exercise program or use our open gym hours to exercise on your own.

Heart Healthy Exercise

Eating right and losing weight are important factors to heart health. But what if you already eat right and are at a healthy weight? Are you set for life? Well, you’re doing great, but health professionals agree that routine exercise is key to your continued heart health.

ExercisAbilities Parkinson Wellness Recovery Moves 2 class
ExercisAbilities Parkinson Wellness Recovery Moves 2 class

Everyone should try to participate in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day for most days.  If you can’t do 30 minutes of exercise at once, try at least 10 minutes at time, several times in the day. Any exercise in which your heart beats fasters and you use more oxygen than usual is good aerobic exercise.  The more active you are, the more you will benefit.

Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. Ask your doctor how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.

Managing Stress

It stresses me out thinking about how many things can stress us out. With a little training we can learn how to recognize our stressors and how to cope with them in a healthy way.  Otherwise, we may cope with our stress in a way that causes more stress: drinking alcohol, drug abuse, smoking, overeating, avoidance.

Stress isn’t healthy for our hearts! Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks which may later lead to cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are many healthy ways to manage stress:

At ExercisAbilities, the Learn To Be Fit Program teaches us how to recognize the stress factors in our lives that may cause some of us to over-eat.  Our program also helps get you started on an exercise plan and gives you access to our open gym hours to exercise on your own.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quit.  Smoking can raise your risk for coronary heart disease and heart attack and worsen other coronary heart disease risk factors.

A normal habit is hard to break. Breaking an addictive habit is tough, tough, tough. For those of you that have done it, “Well done! Good Job! You’re amazing!”. For those of you in the midst of your efforts, “You can do it! Keep going! Don’t give up!”.

For anyone trying to break a bad habit, you’re not alone. There are many people on the same road and many programs to help you with your goals.

Learn more about quitting smoking at Smoking and Your Heart Health Topic.

A Heart Healthy You

ExercisAbilities is committed to working with all our clients on goals to a healthy heart. We have a Stroke Recovery Program for those who have suffered a stroke. We have a dietician, physical therapists and exercise specialists available to partner with you as you work on your healthy heart. Our Learn To Be Fit program is a great way to get started on a healthy diet and exercise routine. Don’t delay you heart health any longer. Call us for a free Fitness Assessment and get started on your heart health today.



You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities

S.A.F.E Assessment at ExercisAbilities

ExercisAbilities is all about helping you stay healthy and fit in a safe manner adjusted to your level of ability. Afterall, what’s safe for someone recovering from a stroke is quite different from what’s safe for someone recovery from a traumatic brain injury! That’s why we’ve developed an assessment tool to match you to the fitness programs that are best suited for your level of physical and cognitive ability.

Physical Therapy at ExercisAbilities

First Things First — Physical and Cognitive Ability Assessment

One of the first things we do with each client is called the S.A.F.E Assessment. Our trained staff will meet with each new client and utilize our S.A.F.E. Assessment tool to determine your physical and cognitive abilities.  This information is used to determine which level of classes and care are best suited to your specific needs. Staff will then direct you to the correct programs for your ability level. The program will be:

S = Safe

A = Active

F = Fun

E = Effective

Or as we say, S.A.F.E!

Staff will determine what activities and care are best suited to be effective for your long-term care.  Some of the stuff you need to do to stay fit and healthy isn’t really fun. It’s sometimes rather painful, isn’t it? We know this is true and so our staff tries to make things as fun as we can for you so you’ll enjoy your program.

S.A.F.E Assessment Levels

After your one-on-one S.A.F.E Assessment, staff will assign you to one of four different ability levels. You may start in one level but progress to a different level over time.

LEVEL 1 – Needs assistance of up to 2 people to get on and off equipment safely. Needs assistance for the entire session for safety with balance, strength or cognition. Cannot participate safely in open gym or any group sessions. Requires one-on-one assistance at all times for safety and effectiveness of session.

LEVEL 2 – Needs assistance of one person to get on and off equipment. Cannot follow instructions or speed of large group class, needs modifications. Can participate safely in a 1 Staff/4 client ratio or 1 staff/2 client class ratio. Is okay on equipment if there is a staff or supervisor in the immediate area.

LEVEL 3 – May use a walker or need supervision with transferring on and off equipment. Okay to be alone on equipment. May need modification in large group class such as a chair. Can follow instructions in large group.

OPEN Level – No assistance required. Safe to exercise alone with normal large group exercise program participation.

Medical Fitness for Everyone!

 Our SAFE Assessment Tool allows us to have safe fitness programs for everyone, at every ability level. A client who is mobile and wanting help managing their pre-diabetes is likely going to be assessed the OPEN Level and enrolled in our LEARN TO BE FIT Exercise and Diet Program. However, we can also serve a client who has almost no mobility, LEVEL 1, with our adaptive equipment and customized fitness sessions.

Whatever your needs, whatever your ability, ExercisAbilities will help you prepare to improve your health and fitness.

Call us at 507-259-7570 or stop by our offices at 2530 N. Broadway in Rochester MN to schedule your own SAFE Assessment.


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities

Hand Therapy

Hand Therapy 

Specialized Services in Occupational Therapy

Exercisabilities provides high quality recovery from disorders of the hand in our state of the art occupational therapy gym.

We work with all major insurance and worker’s compensation to assist you in many areas of hand and arm rehabilitation. Recovery after surgery, pain recovery, mobilization, splinting, prosthetics education and use, and much more.

Call today for your evaluation for your hand therapy assessment.  We accept direct access for occupational therapy services.  507-259-7570