Returning home after an injury, illness or stroke can be stressful. While the body and mind are healing, it’s easy to forget or even lack the desire to continue with the prescribed rehabilitation exercises. However, the key to living as independently as possible in a community-based setting is to maintain a regular practice of physical rehabilitation exercises at home.
Physical rehab is designed to restore all or most physical and mental capabilities that were lost to injury, illness or disease. However, research published in Physiotherapy Theory and Practice indicates that as few as 35 percent of patients adhere to their at-home exercises. Time, energy and simply forgetting are some of the primary reasons for not doing the exercises.
It is imperative to follow instructions for in-home exercises. In order for the treatment to work, the “homework” is just as important as the work performed in the clinic with a therapist. When completely committed to working at home as well as in the clinic, returning to a more normal and comfortable home environment is possible.
While rehabilitation can be stressful, frustrating and sometimes even painful, the ultimate goal is recovery and independence. Here are a few tips to stay motivated and maintain your exercises at home.
Set a rehabilitation goal
Whether it is to ride a bike again or simply get “back to normal”, setting a goal will help you stay committed. Making a connection between the exercises and your goal will motivate you to keep working.
Be honest with your rehabilitation progress
Understand that rehabilitation is designed to help, not hinder. If something is not working, let your therapist know so that you can work together to find a solution. Understanding barriers to success, whether it is pain or simply time, and then working to remove them will help you reach your goal.
Develop a rehabilitation plan
Time is a huge constraint for at-home exercises. However, most exercises only take about 10 minutes a day. So, it is simply a matter of scheduling that time and committing to the work. Look at your calendar and ask yourself how you will complete your exercises. Once you have the answer, schedule it and commit to it.
Physical rehabilitation is a crucial piece to overall recovery, regardless of the type of injury or illness. While you may face some obstacles along the way, establishing a goal and maintaining a routine will help you succeed in living your life as independently as possible.