The home exercise program is the elephant in the room at a lot of physical therapy sessions. A lot of people simply don’t like doing their exercises during their free time. Trust me. I understand the liberating feeling of just going to a clinic dedicated to physical therapy, mentally checking out and being told what to do to improve. While this will work, you won’t be getting the most out of your rehab with this mindset. Staying compliant with your home exercise program will allow you to do the simpler exercises at home so you can focus on more complex tasks while under supervision with a physical therapist or athletic trainer. The problem is that even though most people understand the need to do exercises on their own time, they find it hard to squeeze them into their busy lives. Here are a few suggestions to help with that.
o Most commercials are 30 seconds in length. It seems almost serendipitous that most stretches are done for 30 seconds. With most 30 minute TV shows showing 8 minutes worth of commercials, you have a chance to drop the DVR remote and knock out 16 stretches while you watch Seinfeld reruns.
o If you like watching live sports on TV, you’ve probably notice that some of there can be a lot of down time. In fact, most NFL games average 11 minutes of action. One half of a game should be plenty of time to do most home exercise programs.
o Morning workouts have been proven to reduce morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which will lead to lower pain levels and reduced fatigue. Decreased pain will definitely be a strong motivator to make a little time before coffee for some home rehab.
o If morning exercise isn’t your thing, you should try to plan ahead to set aside the time you need to take care of your body. Planning home exercise time has been shown to be a major contributor to improved compliance.
o Anecdotally, I have found that patients who understand the purpose of their exercises are more likely to do them on their own. A lot of my ACL patients feel that working on their hip muscles is a waste of time when they had surgery on their knee. When I show them how big of a role the hip has in stabilizing the knee, they begin to buy into the “big picture” of physical therapy and the importance of following through on their rehab at home.