Most physical therapy consists of building up exercise tolerance. The exercise is usually focused around the activities required to complete your daily life. Whether these activities are bending over or reaching up: like you would to bend over to put something away or reach up to put something away in your home.
Physical therapy is unique in that it is highly individualized. Depending on your specific needs and muscular weaknesses, your physical therapy regimen will look different from anyone else’s. So, what does that mean for exercise post physical therapy?
Your Physical Therapist May Recommend An Aftercare Program
According to the Orthopedic Rehab Specialists, many physical therapist will recommend an after-care program. An after-care program is similar to physical therapy in that it has goals to improve your functional fitness.
Many times patients are not back to normal before their physical therapy benefits have run out. After care is designed to allow patients to continue their physical therapy progression without billing the insurance company.
Typically, aftercare can be purchased monthly or semiannually like a gym membership. The difference is that instead of going to a gym you continue your exercise at the physical therapy facility. The exercises are completed under the guide of a physical therapy aide or a personal trainer.
Your Physical Therapist May Recommend Personal Training
If aftercare is not appropriate your physical therapy, they may recommend personal training. Personal training will allow you to continue exercise under the care of a professional. This is less medical supervision than that of the physical therapist but will still ensure that you are utilizing proper form when completing your functional exercises. Certified personal trainers are a skilled in crafting functional fitness programs for their clients.
Certified personal trainers can also help with training for sport-specific exercises. Many times people in physical therapy have ended up in rehab due to sport related injuries. Whether the sport is occasional trail running, pick-up basketball, or Olympic lifting, a certified personal trainer can assist you in building the muscles needed to remain injury free. Keeping good form and strength will help keep you from reinjuring yourself.
Personal trainers can also help you in correcting muscle imbalances that may not have been fully resolved during your physical therapy. If this is the reason that you have been referred to a personal trainer, you may bring exercise restrictions or recommendation from your physical therapist with you to your personal trainer.
Released to Home Exercise
Sometimes a physical therapist will prescribe a home exercise program. Typically, these programs are designed to help you maintain whatever progress was achieved in the physical therapy sessions. The exercises that your physical therapist gives you to work on at home may look a lot like the physical therapy exercises you did in their treatment facility.
In addition to strength training, the physical therapist may recommend that you begin or maintain a stretching program. This is especially true if shortened muscles and ligaments were the primary reason for you to enter into physical therapy. Often patients have a recommendation to begin a program like yoga to keep up the flexibility work they did while in physical therapy.
What Happens If I Don’t Exercise After Physical Therapy
It is very important to remain compliant with your physical therapy home exercise program. Physical therapy often works on strengthening weakened muscles. If you choose not to participate in the home exercises that your physical therapist recommends then you could end up where you started before you went into physical therapy. Keeping the strength built during therapy is going to be your best bet for maintaining the progress you achieved in your therapy.
Ultimately, your exercise program after physical therapy is going to be highly tailored to your specific needs. Whether you are in sports rehab or are seeing a physical therapist for chronic pain. Your exercise recommendations post physical therapy should be followed to ensure you maintain the progress you achieved in physical therapy.