If exercise is medicine, then in what way shall we as physical therapists dispense this medicine that will set us apart as the doctors of exercise/movement compared to the many other professions that dispense exercise as well? The future of rehabilitation depends on our collective ability to move beyond linear, simplistic thinking to not only thinking complexly, but delivering care that embodies that thinking. The “buzz” at conferences, in the literature and on the social media PT feeds is about the need to understand pain and movement as complex. Appreciating complexity is an important first step in our next level of professional development. Even more important is transforming practice to reflect these new findings and to leave behind the out-moded, simplistic exercise practices of the 20th century. The “But what is Exercise?” can best be understood by looking at the past and considering what we know in the present, before speculating on the future.
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