Home Exercise Programs (and sticking to them)

Exercise is an important part of the management of a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions. Most physiotherapy programs include a home exercise program to help address issues identified during your assessment and it is important to do them regularly in order to reinforce and complement the treatments you do while in clinic. Exercise programs aim to tackle issues such as muscle imbalances, range of motion limitations, motor control deficits, to name a few. Your physiotherapist will carefully select the most appropriate exercises for your specific needs, however it is up to you to do these exercises regularly to see results.

Many patients struggle with completing their home exercise program on a regular basis (you’re not alone!), so we’ve assembled a list of tips to help you stay on track:

  • Have your physiotherapist demonstrate the exercises for you
  • Try the exercise in clinic with supervision a few times to make sure you’ve got the hang of it.

The more comfortable you are with the exercise, the better you will do with it at home.

  • Ask for pictures and descriptions of the exercises on paper to follow at home (including sets, reps, frequency, and weight if applicable)
  • Place your exercise sheet somewhere visible to serve as a regular reminder
  • Try to make the exercise program part of your daily routine (for example, always doing the exercises on your lunch hour, or while you watch your favourite show)
  • Set a reminder alarm on your phone or computer
  • Keep an exercise log and track your progress
  • If you are struggling with compliance, discuss it with your physiotherapist and they can help modify the program as needed to address the barriers you’re experiencing
  • Set goals with your physiotherapist and try to remember what you are working towards – this can serve as great motivation when you’re not feeling like exercising
  • Ask your physiotherapist any questions you might have!

Have any other tips or advice for sticking to your home exercise program? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

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