When local physical therapists Monty and Lauri Merrill began to see patient after patient come in with the same injuries from exercising, the two decided to open the Pump Institute, a facility dedicated to helping patients maximize their strengths while minimizing the risk of injuries.

The Pump Institute has been in operation for at least a decade and is one of 20 clinics affiliated with Golden Bear Physical Therapy. What sets the Pump Institute apart from other Golden Bear locations is that it is the only one that also offers personal training. The Merrills plan to add fitness classes to their list of services this year.

“After people were rehabbing, oftentimes there was no place to go where they could ask questions or know what to do, so we wanted to provide that environment where they could continue to feel good and stay on track,” Monty Merrill said.

At the Pump Institute, patients are able to work with personal trainers to build on the gains they’ve made with their physical therapist, and if they have any questions or experience any problems, the therapist is there to address the problems on the spot.

Exercise is important for rehabilitation, Merrill said, but must be done properly in order to avoid risk of injury and reap the benefits.

“Exercising is essential. The body needs movement. It needs to be stimulated and pushed in the right direction,” he said.

Safe exercising starts with the core, Merrill explained.

“Your core is the central part of  your body. It’s your abdomen. It’s your mid-back. It’s the place where you gain stability,” he said.

Merrill advises people to listen to their bodies when they are exercising.

“Pain itself is a warning signal, and it means to make a change so you won’t hurt yourself,” he said.

Merrill emphasizes that while exercise is beneficial, it is also a vehicle for other activities that people enjoy. Trying to do too much too soon and getting overwhelmed and quitting is a common mistake that Merrill sees people make when exercising.

“People have the idea that they have to work super hard and be sore and be painful, and that ends up limiting their progress and adherence to a program,” he said.

Back, neck and shoulder pain are the most common injuries associated with exercising, Merrill said. He advises that patients who have these injuries not try to work through the pain and see a physical therapist and have it checked out. That way, they can find out what changes need to be made to their exercise regimen.

“That’s what we do at the Pump Institute,” Merrill said. “If someone has a problem, they get it checked out and see what changes need to be made so they can go on with what they’re doing.”

He invites anyone with questions about exercising, training or the Pump Institute to walk in or call at 209-365-7867 (209-365-PUMP). The Pump Institute is located at 210 W. Pine Street, Lodi, and is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and  6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

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