Many patients are excited when beginning their physical therapy journey – and for good reason.
Not only is physical therapy a high-reward, low-risk solution for many different health conditions, but it can also help patients improve their overall well-being. That said, it can be very easy to get off-track when starting a new physical therapy program, as missing one appointment can set progress back.
To maximize the success of your physical therapy program, consider the five tips highlighted below:
Hydration is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but your water consumption should be kicked up a notch when starting a physical therapy program. This is because an increase of physical activity will result in your body losing water more quickly and that can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can impact your body’s ability to heal, carry out normal functions and drain your energy.
The guideline that most people follow when it comes to hydration is to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. That said, the American Council of Exercise suggests drinking 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before the start of exercise, eight ounces 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise or during warm-up, 7-10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise, eight ounces within 30 minutes after exercising and 16-24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
Sleep is another key component of living a healthy lifestyle. However, getting enough sleep when starting a physical therapy program is even more important because your body uses this time to heal.
In fact, the National Sleep Foundation notes that when sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have enough time to complete all the phases needed for things like muscle repair, memory consolidation and the release of hormones that regulate growth and appetite. Although the recommended amount of sleep varies by age and individual, adults should aim for at least eight hours every night to give their body enough time to mend.
Communication with your physical therapist is of upmost importance. At the start of physical therapy it is imperative to discuss goals so that you are on the same page as your therapist. This type of open communication should continue throughout your treatment process, so don’t hesitate to ask questions or express concerns at any of your appointments.
You can’t cut corners when it comes to physical therapy, and the only way to reach your goals is by staying committed. This means making it to all of your appointments and completing assigned at-home exercises.
At the end of treatment your therapist will discuss next steps, which may include reviewing goals and progress, finalizing a home exercise program, following up with referring providers like your physician, and communicating with family or care-givers when necessary.
Athletico makes it easy to get started with physical therapy by providing free injury screens. Schedule yours now!
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.