Recovering from an injury, stroke or surgery is a task that is neither fast nor easy. If you want to regain mobility after such an incident, some sort of rehabilitation or therapy is often necessary. Of course, following doctor’s recommendations is often the safest and most effective course of action, but supplementing therapy with a little extra work on the side, home rehab, may be a great way to quicken your road to recovery. Be sure to check with your doctor before including any of the following rehab options that can be conducted from the comfort of your home.
General Rehab Tips
Whatever form of exercise you choose to do for your home rehabilitation program, there are a few tips that you will want to keep in mind.
Get comfortable: Proper clothing is critical to making rehabilitation exercises comfortable, relaxing and effective. While you do not have to invest in expensive workout clothing, ensure that whatever you wear is not restrictive and will not cause chafing or pain with repetitive movements.
Warm Up: Never leap into an exercise routine without first taking the time to warm up your muscles. Failure to engage in warm-up exercises can actually cause more harm than good. The warm-up exercises you choose will depend upon your range of motion and state of being, but slow walking, range-of-motion exercises and gentle stretching are all good ways to prepare for a rehabilitation routine.
Keep Repetitions Minimal: When you begin, you will want to limit repetitions to a small number, such as eight, and work toward more repetitions. An appropriate goal may be 10-15. Too much of a good thing can cause damage.
Rotate Muscle Groups: Even if you are recovering from a specific injury, try to exercise various muscle groups on different days rather than focusing on one group. This will promote overall strength and wellbeing and avoid overstressing one area. The National Health Institute has a great chart that can be found here.
There are a host of exercises that are perfect for home rehabilitation. What is best for you depends on what you are rehabilitating and your current body condition. A few suggested programs are listed here:
Pilates: This form of exercise was originally created to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers during World War I. Pilates not only helps to rebuild muscle strength in injured areas, but also, it builds core strength and improves balance, agility and control. Many community centers and other local organizations offer Pilates classes. You may also purchase a DVD demonstrating basic moves.
Chair Exercises: If leg mobility or strength is an issue, chair exercises are a great way to strengthen muscles without putting unnecessary strain on the body. Many of these exercises involve the use of a ball the upper body in addition to gently working the lower body muscles. A great resource for pictures and instructions can be found here.
Resistance Band Exercises – another great at-home rehabilitation tool is the resistance band. Available in a number of different sizes and resistance levels, the band allows you to target different muscles to improve strength and tone. Because there is very little impact, it is an easy way to strengthen muscles without causing damage. A list of easy resistance band exercises can be found here.
Chris Turberville-Tully is a marketing strategist for Physio Answers, a Physiotherapy Southend residents depend on to help with neck and back pain, sport injuries, arthritis, whiplash and headaches.