Zumbathon to Benefit Adela Cufre-Alvarez, MN Zumba Instructor Who Lost Leg to Amputation, Saturday, May 31, 2014 at The Rink in Monticello, MN

May 20th, 2014

Here’s a link to the Facebook event page for the Zumbathon Charity Event to benefit Adela Cufre-Alvarez, a Minnesota Zumba instructor who lost a leg to infection after going into cardiac arrest while instructing a Zumba class. Please share and consider going if you are in the Twin Cities metro area.


If you can’t attend, please consider donating towards Adela’s medical expenses for a athletic prosthetic leg and rehabilitation that will allow her to return to teaching Zumba classes. Thank you for sharing the Zumba love!

Adela Zumbathon 05312014

Minnesota Zumba Instructor Loses Leg – Help a Sister Out

April 30th, 2014

In January 2014, a Zumba instructor in Rogers, Minnesota, Adela Alverez collapsed during a Zumba class. She had gone into cardiac arrest. When she awoke from sedation several weeks later, she discovered her leg had been amputated due to infection.

As a physical therapy student as well as Zumba instructor, this story hits home to me. Please consider donating to Ms. Alverez’s Go Fund Me page to help her cover medical costs including a prosthetic leg so that she can begin the long recovery process and hopefully teach Zumba again soon!

Adela Alverez’s gofundme page http://www.gofundme.com/helpadela

Related news story Zumba Teacher Trying To Get Back In The Gym After Losing Leg

zumba love

Can You Afford to go to Physical Therapy School?

January 5th, 2012

I came across a journal article titled, “The False Wisdom of Tuition Based Ranking of Allied Health Programs: Is Your Program Affordable?” through a tweet by the Department of Physical Therapy at University of the Pacific on Twitter (@PacificDPTweet).

While this article focuses on the costs of physical therapy programs, it raises some good points if you are thinking about going back to school for any discipline. I wish I would’ve read this article a couple of years ago while I was researching physical therapy programs. I’m now in the middle of my first year of a DPT program, so I thought I would share the article with you in case you are considering physical therapy school or some other grad program and don’t know what to expect.

Schools are often ranked by tuition, but as the article above points out: “Regional differences in the cost of living and the total length of the program made a significant difference in the total cost of attending the program.” I attend school in Duluth, Minnesota, a small city on beautiful Lake Superior, where 56% of renters pay more than 30% of their household income on rent according to a recent article in the Duluth News Tribune. Finding acceptable housing has proven to be a challenge for me and several of my “transfer” DPT classmates. I am a 30-something returning student with pets, so cramming myself into traditional college student housing with a bunch of 21-year-old’s is not an option for me. I am certainly paying for it.

Another bit to consider, according to the article, is “the lost opportunity to earn wages.” Some graduate programs are flexible and allow, or even provide, opportunities for grad students to work and get paid. Some graduate programs, like physical therapy school, require students to work (clinical internships) and not get paid. The DPT program is very time consuming outside of regular class time with cadaver lab; exam, evaluation, and modalities open lab practice time, and clinical experiences. While it is possible, finding a flexible part-time job that does not interfere with studying can be difficult in PT school.

The article above is from 2006 so it also considered length of program. All PT programs are now Doctor of Physical Therapy programs and most likely 36 months in duration. Some programs were offering at “3 + 3″ option which allowed undergraduate students to apply to physical therapy school their Junior year of college and enter physical therapy school their Senior year of college. This would allow the students to be considered undergraduates for one year of the PT program and pay less tuition. I believe most programs have eliminated the 3 + 3 option with the new Doctor of Physical Therapy program requirement.

Of course it is also important to consider the program ranking.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from going back to school. I just want to help paint the realistic picture I wish I had had going into physical therapy school. I hope it’s worth it.

More about going back to school if you’re interested:

What to Wear to a Physical Therapy School Interview
Physical Therapy School Interview Questions
DPT Post Interview Thank You?

physical therapy

“No Shoes Please” Zumba Class

October 11th, 2011

A newly-certified Zumba instructor I know recently posted a new Zumba class on her schedule. It’s at a popular yoga studio and in the description, it is asked, “No shoes please!”

No shoes allowed? For a Zumba class? Really?

Kicking your shoes off at a wedding dance – we’ve all done that. But no shoes allowed for a Zumba class… All I can say is, “OUCH!”

Every Zumba instructor is different, but my classes involves high-impact dance moves like jumping and stomping. According to the article, “The Effects of Weight on Feet When Running” on Livestrong.com, when you run, each foot hits the ground with 3- to 4- times the force of your actual body weight with each step you take. In Zumba, your feet could take 2- to 4-times the force of your actual body weight with high-impact moves.

There are 26 bones in the foot. 26. Think about how small each bone has to be to fit 26 bones into your foot. Now, think about how much you weigh. Multiply that by 2- or even 4-times and imagine those 26 tiny little bones in your feet distributing 2- to 4-times your body weight for an hour long Zumba class. For me, that’s 115 pounds – 115 x 2=230 pounds to 115 x 4=460 pounds. Ouch.

Of course, one might argue barefoot running is gaining in popularity, why not barefoot Zumba? Well, to be fair barefoot running-related injuries are also becoming increasingly popular. So much so, that one article on Competitor.com calls it “The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic.” If you do Zumba barefoot, chances are you are putting yourself at risk for foot and leg injury.

One might also think, Shakira dances barefoot, why can’t I? Well, Shakira’s dances moves are not high-impact – she usually has both feet on the floor. Shakira is obviously not a weekend Zumba warrior, she is a highly-trained dancer. Trainers and coaches most likely monitor her fitness to be sure her body, muscles, joints, and bones are able to support her dancing. She most likely has access to the best athletic trainers, physical therapists, and doctors at any given moment if any part of her body gives her pain.

If you see a Zumba class offered that requests, “No shoes please!”, I recommend looking for another Zumba class where you are allowed to wear a supportive pair of Zumba shoes.

Fun Minnesota RPE Scale – Does your region have one?

October 6th, 2011

I am part of a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in Minnesota. Recently, an instructor shared a fun version of the Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale, a way to subjectively measure the intensity of exercise, to celebrate our Scandinavian heritage and “Minnesota nice.”

After a quick Internet search (when I should’ve been studying for an exam) I couldn’t find any other regional RPE scales. Does your region have one? Or just for fun, what would be the descriptions based on your region’s heritage and culture?

Minnesota RPE Scale
7 Piece of cake
9 Not too bad
11 Hardly working at all
13 Can’t complain
15 It could be worse
17 A guy couldn’t go much harder than this
19 Uff da!

Buying Textbooks on Amazon.com

September 1st, 2011

I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy student and I just had to purchase the required textbooks for first-year students. Ouch. Apparently, I was spoiled during my time as an undergraduate.

At the university where I completed my B.S. degree, we borrowed our textbooks for free. At the beginning of the semester, undergraduate and graduate students went to a part of the library where textbooks were stored. We picked up our required textbooks, checked them out the same way we checked out library books, used them for the semester, and returned them at the end of the semester. Of course, there are some books professors recommend buying those as time and money allowed.

I heard my classmates grumbling about spending $880 USD we had to pay for the 12 required textbooks through the university bookstore. I planned to use Amazon.com to save money. My total on Amazon came to $742 and I received free shipping using an Amazon Prime account. Although I saved almost $140 buying textbooks on Amazon.com instead of from the university bookstore, I was still concerned about how I was going to pay for these books before my fall financial aid and student loans are distributed.

At checkout, I received an offer to apply for a Amazon.com Store Card from GE Money Bank with six months interest free. This would allow me to put my textbook total on the Amazon.com Store Card and pay off my balance when I received the excess of my financial aid and student loans, which usually come one week after the semester starts.

This offer did not come without risk: If there is ANY balance on the Amazon.com Store Card at month six, six months of interest will be charged to the account on the interest-free balance of my textbooks $742 and the interest rate is very high at 25.99%.

As I plan to only use the Amazon.com Store Card to purchase my DPT textbooks and pay the balance when my excess financial aid and student loans are reimbursed, I decided to take the risk and put my textbook total on the Amazon.com Store Card.

Why It’s Great to Live in Duluth – Introduction

July 4th, 2011

I recently moved to Duluth, Minnesota to enroll in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the College of St. Scholastica (CSS).

The CSS DPT program starts in June for first-year students and I think I know why: Despite being warned about the harsh winter months in the treacherous hills of Duluth, I have had the pleasure of discovering for myself that summer months in Duluth are absolutely beautiful.


So to help myself through the long winter on Lake Superior, I am starting this series of blog posts to list reasons why it’s great to live in Duluth, Minnesota.

Lake Superior Duluth

DPT Post Interview Thank You?

January 16th, 2011

Should I send a thank you letter after a physical therapy school interview?

Most sources that I have read say yes, send a thank you after interviewing for physical therapy school.

It might not help you get into physical therapy school, but it won’t hurt your chances.

Send a thank you note or email to each individual person that you met. If you met with more than one person, personalize each note or email to each individual.

Send the thank you within 24-hours to one week of your interview.

In fact, most of what I’ve read says to prepare, dress, and follow up as you would for a professional job interview and that seems like good advice.

What to Wear to a Physical Therapy School Interview

January 12th, 2011

I went to my second physical therapy school interview today.

To my first physical therapy school interview, I wore a gray cowl neck sweater, black pin-striped dress pants, and black flats. I wore my hair in a low ballerina bun. I recently was disappointed to find out that I was not accepted.

For my second physical therapy school interview, I wore what I would wear to a professional job interview: I bought a new, black Ann Taylor pants suit with a two-button jacket and camisole. I also wore conservative medium heels and my hair down.

To quote the great athlete and entertainer, Deion Sanders: “When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you play good. When you play good, they pay good.” I am hoping for better results this time.

The other females I met today were also wearing suits – pants suits and jacket/skirts sets. Undershirts were collared button-up blouses or camisoles. The men I met today were wearing suits and ties.

Good luck to all of you interviewing for physical therapy school searching for what to wear!

Physical Therapy School Interview Questions

December 22nd, 2010

I recently went to my first physical therapy school interview and I really didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t heard the results yet, but here are my observations.

What to wear to a physical therapy school interview?
As a female, I wore a gray sweater, black dress pants, and black flats. All of the other interviewees (there were 14 other applicants) wore a black business suit with a conservative dress shirt underneath. The men wore ties. The women wore skirts and heels. If you want to look like everyone else at your physical therapy school interview, wear a suit. Wear comfortable shoes – we spent a half an hour standing in a cadaver lab and at least an hour on a walking tour of the facility.

What questions might be asked at a physical therapy school interview?
Our interviews were only 30 minutes of the full-day event. The interview included one faculty member, one second-year student, and one interviewee. The interview consisted of five behavioral interview questions. Each of us had five note cards and each note card had two questions from one of five categories. The categories were based on five professional skills that the school considers important for future physical therapists to have: Communication, Customer Service, Teamwork, Analytical Thinking, and Interpersonal Relationships. The interview consisted of one question from each category. My interview questions were:

Tell us about a time when listening was important.

Customer Service
Tell us about a time when you had to work with a difficult client.

Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty to contribute to a group.

Analytical Thinking
Tell us about a time when a common-sense approach helped you solve a problem.

Interpersonal Relationships
Tell us about a time when you had to work with a person/people from a different background than yours.

I’d love to hear about your physical therapy school interview experiences. Good luck!