Why Consistency is Key for Success in Home Exercise Programs.

Lauren Menino, MS, OTR/L, an Occupational Therapist at NYU Langone Health, joins us today to talk more about why consistency is key for successful home exercise programs.

Why Consistency is Key.

Though dosage and duration will vary for each individual and injury, research into many different therapeutic interventions demonstrates that consistency is a primary factor impacting client outcomes.

Each component of a home exercise program is selected by your therapist to focus on a specific muscle group or movement pattern. Form and alignment are essential for clients to understand to target the appropriate body segments and prevent injury. Research on learning theory confirms that learning via repeated practice leads to improved recall and carryover.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

You, and your body, can more easily repeat something the right way when you have done it over and over. And, when you don’t have to think about the basics of each exercise, you have a chance to focus on specifics such as positioning, stabilizing other muscles, and breathing, to get the most out of your program.

My top five tips for remembering to do your exercises:

1. Figure out what works for you. Does it help to complete your program the morning to alleviate pain throughout the day? Can you make it part of stretch or cool down during a workout? Do you do it during commercials while watching TV? Can it fit as part of your routine when you wake up or before bed?

2. Build it into your schedule. Make your program work for your day so it becomes a habit rather than a burden. Set a goal and keep track of how consistently you follow your program so you can acknowledge progress.

3. Ask your therapist for specifics. Time and frequency, what are the “must do’s” for days when your schedule or your body challenge you.

4. Set a reminder or sign up for a daily reminder service. Visual, auditory or multi-sensory- something to catch your attention. The hardest part is showing up, so have what you need organized that way when you’re ready to start you don’t first have to go running for equipment.

5. Find your motivation. Remind yourself the value of what you are working towards. In the end, your doctor, therapist, etc. are your guides, but you are the primary driver in your recovery.

Lauren Menino, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist at NYU Langone Health

References: 

Bayona, N. A., Bitensky, J., Salter, K. & Teasell, R. (2005). The role of task-specific training in rehabilitation therapies. Topics in stroke rehabilitation, 12 (3).

Brewer, B. W., Cornelius, A. E., Van Raalte, J. L., Tennen, H., & Armeli, S. (2013). Predictors of adherence to home rehabilitation exercises following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Rehabilitation Psychology, 58(1).

Chen, C. Y., Neufeld, P. S., Feely, C. A., & Skinner, C. S. (1999). Factors influencing compliance with home exercise programs among patients with upper-extremity impairment. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53.

Helfrich, C. (2014). Principles of Learning and Behavioral Change. In Willard & Spackman’s Occupational Therapy. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Palazzo, C., Klinger, E., Dorner, V., Abdelmajid, K., Theirry, O., Boumenir, Y., Martin, W., Poiraudeal, S., & Ville, I. (2016). Barriers to home-based exercise program adherence with chronic low back pain: Patient expectations regarding new technologies. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 59

Are you someone who has exercises and/or stretches you are supposed to be doing everyday, but always seem to forget? Let us help you remember, and help you start feeling better fast! Sign up via facebook messenger here or for our SMS text service here.

Wishing you a fast recovery!

The Tiyaga Health Team

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