Dog Ate Your Homework? How To Avoid Your Exercise ExcusesMarch 17, 2015
One of the most important aspects of physical therapy is the “Home Exercise Program” (HEP). Every patient we see at CBPT is sent home with a few very important exercises (‘Homework’) to do throughout the week in order to maintain and improve their function.
PURPOSE OF YOUR HEP
Along with the hands on manual therapy and functional retraining that we provide for our patients, we realize that for long-term success, our patients must perform their home exercise program. This allows them to maintain what they gained in treatment and continue to improve on their own.
The patients that are good about doing their home program consistently progress faster than those who do not. For those of you who are past patients, you know that being consistent with your home exercise program is just as important as when you were in PT! Maintaining your strength and flexibility even after your time with CBPT is done will help keep you moving and pain free after your “graduation.”
I love when I run into former patients in the community and they tell me they are continuing to perform their home exercise program. These patients are usually still pain free!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Every once in a while I get the “My Dog Ate My Homework” type of excuse on why someone is no longer performing their exercises. While patients may have the best intentions to stick with a home exercise program, actually following through is hard. Oftentimes you have other responsibilities and things to do on your list (work, family, errands, etc). Here are a few tips to help you be more consistent with performing your home program.
1. Make it a habit.
Pick a time and place to do your exercises. Maybe it’s after breakfast, during your child’s nap time, or right before bed, etc. Whatever you choose, if you pick a specific time and place, you’re more likely to stick with it.
2. If you really don’t have time for all, do some.
If 15-20minutes is too much time out of your day, then pick one or two that are most important. For example, stretching your calf before running errands all day really will help to decrease stress on your foot and ankle and will allow you to get the most out of the program for that day.
Put post-it lists on the refrigerator, keep the HEP on your kitchen counter or bedside to remind you of what you need to do that day, or write some exercises on the bathroom mirror. You’ll be more consistent when you visually see what you have to do.
4. Have the right tools.
Usually you need a few minor exercise tools to use in your home exercise program (foam roll, theraband..). Make sure you have what you need to be successful. (All of these are available at any CBPT location!)
5. Don’t forget the purpose.
You exercises actually matter. I know in comparison to other things, 15 minutes of exercise may seem unimportant, but what is selected is specifically for you and your injury to help improve your function as quickly as possible and decrease your pain. Patients do better in the clinic if they’ve been doing their home exercises.
Perhaps your dog really did eat your homework. Maybe your children confiscated your foam roll. If you need another copy of your home exercise program or have any questions, feel free to call or email us today in the form below!
How are you able to stay consistent with a HEP? What are some obstacles to consistency that you face?
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