The Importance of Doing Home Exercises

Posted on by Shawn Fife

It is estimated that approximately only 35% of patients are compliant with their home exercise program (or HEP) given to them as an adjunct to physical therapy (PT) sessions. Here are some good reasons to regularly practice the HEP your clinician gives you:

Regular physical maintenance can help keep symptoms from recurring.

Many physical conditions have taken years to develop and may take varying degrees of time and effort to undo. Dedication and perseverance is important to improve function, reduce pain, and get you closer to your goal of feeling better and doing more. 

Strengthening foundational movements can lead to opportunities to delve into more advanced techniques in PT to use in daily life.

Once you get the hang of proper form, increasing weight and repetitions can be the next step. Then advancing difficulty slowly and appropriately can lead to more dynamic movement, bringing opportunities for increased level of function and strength both in and (more importantly) out of the therapy clinic.

Repeated efforts may help alleviate pain and help regain function sooner!

PT appointments may only be once or twice a week. The more work you do on your own will help increase the benefits you see when at the PT clinic and in daily life. Your physical therapist can help adjust form, intensity, and repetition of your HEP to help you meet your goals more quickly.

Even if regular exercise is new to you, practicing regular activity can help encourage a more active lifestyle for years to come after discharge from PT.

Developing regular practice has been shown to form healthy habits; the more you do something, the more easily it becomes second nature. Stretching and strengthening consistently with proper form may guide you to long-lasting lifestyle changes that support benefits from PT long after your discharge.

Even after discharge, physical therapist and physical therapist assistants are available to answer questions you may have about changing or progressing home exercises. 

Your PT (or their assistant) is an ally to help you adjust exercises to assist you in meeting your goals. If things change or questions arise, help is available. Increased pain, decreased mobility, or exercises that are too easy or too difficult are good reasons to talk to your clinician. Your well-being is our goal and our passion!

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” — Norman Vincent Peale

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