Rob Cowell, PT

About the author

Rob Cowell, PT

Hello, I'm Rob Cowell, PT.  Thanks for visiting Why I Exercise!  

I’m a physical therapist who helps people feel better, move more easily and take charge of their own health. At age 49, I maintain peak physical conditioning to keep it for the long term. I enjoy my workouts and the benefits of being in good shape. I want to help you find ways to meet your goals the same way.

Why I Exercise provides training tools that give you the health benefits you need from the lifestyle you enjoy.

I want to help you upgrade your fitness in ways that impact your long term health.

These days there are so many conflicting opinions in the world of health and fitness. With all the noise out there, it can be a challenge to find reliable resources and mentoring to guide you toward your goals.

I’ve been a physical therapist for 26 years. I’ve designed exercise programs for people with chronic pain, joint and muscular injuries, and multiple health conditions. I’ve helped guide many healthy people to become stronger and fitter in person and through Why I exercise.

I don’t just teach exercise. I’m on the fitness journey alongside you, training to stay strong and fit for as long as possible. Lately, I’ve been running on trails, practicing handstands and gymnastics ring exercises, playing volleyball, and doing partner dancing to maintain good health.

Why I Exercise is where I combine the best, most applicable research data with fitness and therapy techniques from my own experience.

My approach is to practice, master, translate, and share what has been working best in exercise training. I also study new methods and dig deep into the scientific literature. I want my patients, clients, readers/students, and myself to be well and keep improving. So I’m learning and practicing for all of us!

A mountain of evidence shows us that exercise is essential for our well-being. Once you find activities you enjoy that are doable in your life routine, you only need to stick with it to become fit. Fine-tune your training intensity and balance your program with supplemental exercises, and you can maximize your fitness for years to come.

Generally speaking, I recommend starting with the Fit For Your Life masterclass series. It will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so you know what you need from your exercise training for optimal health in the future. Read on to learn more about this website.

learn more about Fit For Your Life

Why I started Why I Exercise

I met a middle-aged man who’d ignored his health to spend extra time working on his business. With the severity of his new medical conditions, it was too late to help him recover enough strength to return to his business. He regretted his choices. He would also be dependent on his family members for the future. I was deeply struck and saddened by his story. Within a week, I met another man five years older than him who was so fit I mistook him as being 15 years younger.

I’d seen other examples like these in my career, but this moment hit me differently. I realized that many people weren’t conscious of these stark differences in quality of life, or the potential for significant and unnecessary suffering if they chose not to take good care of themselves.

I decided that more voices were needed to persuade people to exercise and that I would add mine. 13 years ago, I began a deep study of the fitness standards and techniques we need to achieve greater longevity and better health outcomes. I translated my work into user-friendly articles and YouTube videos (more recently) that help guide my clients and students in their approach to being more active.

Learn more about how exercise and inactivity affect the aging process screenshot 2012 home page in 2012

Fun and interesting facts 

I create many of the graphic designs for Why I Exercise and its YouTube videos. It’s a fun hobby and I’ve gotten better over the years. Sometimes I wish I could be more efficient!

I competed in Division I Cross Country for the University of Evansville. Getting in shape for any sport has always been interesting to me, and I've enjoyed the feeling of running (relatively) fast for long distances. I also ran the 100th Boston Marathon. There were 2 million spectators for that race and runners from all over the world! It was a bucket list experience for me.

I moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles in 2004 so that I could work as a PT in a Pilates studio. I taught free Pilates mat classes on Sundays after church!

I spent one year working as a pediatric PT, and some of my patients were infants!

Rob Cowell, PT, Why I exercise, straight handstand

While working out at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, CA, I met Tony Horton (of the P90X workout video series) and started weekly calisthenics/gymnastics training with Tony and his crew. It was a 3-4 hour workout! It was a long road to developing the strength and skills for those moves, but I enjoyed the journey. Years later, I joined Tony and his friends as a cast member in the P90X3 and 20-Minute Hard Core exercise programs!

I’ve kept up with calisthenics training for years, and today I can hold a straight handstand for 30 seconds without looking at the ground. I started working out with a pulley system and harness to get more practice with my calisthenics movements. It’s a lot of fun and a helpful tool. Check it out on my Instagram page @robcowellpt


I graduated with a Master of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Evansville in 1996.

My first job was in North Carolina at a well-respected PT clinic. I was a new grad working alongside multiple ten-year veterans, so it was great for learning. I felt compassion for patients with chronic pain, and I traveled around the country taking six seminars per year to find ways to help them.

I spent one year in Ohio working with children and infants with developmental delays and disabilities. It didn’t turn out to be my career focus, but I enjoyed the kids. The role pushed me to be a better communicator and leader.

I moved to California and worked in a Pilates studio, a sports medicine clinic, and for a fitness company that used sophisticated exercise equipment from Germany that prevented back pain.

The following season of my career was a mix of home PT sessions for seniors and private PT clients of a younger age. With the seniors, I faced the challenge of training people who felt discouraged by their weakness and lack of independence, even giving up hope at times. Many patients could improve enough to make an impact, and many more could have turned out much better with a more active past.

I have continued to explore the world of health and fitness while writing and studying. I’m intensively building Why I Exercise to create a bigger and better resource for all who visit.

Return to the home page, Why I exercise.

Leave me a comment in the box below.