Congratulations on taking the first step toward your recovery!
Sticking to a recovery plan and achieving your goals can sometimes be challenging. Our lives are busy, and it can be difficult to change habits and routines. In addition, you may have suffered an injury or chronic pain - and now you have to see a physical therapist and do at-home exercises!
What are the best ways to stick to your plan? Read these top four tips from our physical therapy experts:
Give yourself a cue
The first trick to starting a brand-new routine is to schedule it with a cue or trigger - like pairing it with something that's already a habit. For example, if you always change your clothes when you get home from work, change into exercise clothes instead and start working out. If you are a morning person, plan your exercise routine after brushing your teeth each day.
Try bite-size exercise routines with your chores
Your exercise routine will be more successful if broken down into small, consistent chunks that can double as daily tasks. If you have step-up exercises and live in a home with stairs, stay focused on navigating the steps and take an extra trip or two instead of using the elevator or ordering delivery.
If you have squats as part of your plan, practice them while picking up items from the floor. If you have exercises you do at your kitchen counter, do them while you cook. Exercise can be fun when you get creative and turn it into a game or a way to get chores done! Get your family or pets in on the action and enjoy getting healthier and stronger together! For more reading on finding small moments in your day to move, check out our article, 'How To Make Time For Movement When Things Get Busy'.
After you have completed your work, offer yourself a small reward. Good examples are quiet time with a book, listening to your favorite music, a self-massage, or a cup of aromatic coffee or tea.
Communication is key
Having a bad day? Feeling pain? Feeling discouraged? It's perfectly okay! We all have our off days (including your PT!). Share your struggles, big and small, with your PT. It can help them monitor your progress and adjust your exercise plan. And sometimes - an encouraging word from your PT can really help keep you moving.
Sharing your progress and struggles with your loved ones can also help immensely. If you have difficulty going for your daily walk, ask your partner, a friend, or a neighbor to join you - there's no better quality time! If you're feeling discouraged about exercising, ask a family member to join you for one session - it could make it fun and light. It's all about speaking up and ensuring you have the support you need. Habit building is complex, but it's worth it!
If you’re looking for a stress free way to build your physical therapy exercises into your life - download the OneStep Digital Physical Therapy app. With the OneStep app, your physical therapist comes to you with helpful reminders, check-ins and updates about your progress, so you can stay motivated by always knowing how you’re doing.