Six Types of Rehabilitation Exercises to Do at Home
How essential are your physical therapy needs in this time of COVID-19? Well, it depends on what you’re recovering from. Physical therapy is used for a wide range of conditions, from minor aches and pains to major injuries or surgery, along with all the slow breakdowns of an aging body.
Under normal circumstances, we are eager to recommend physical therapy early and often for just about anything. But these are not normal circumstances. So even though the Department of Homeland Security and state governments have declared physical therapy to be an essential component of healthcare during this pandemic, you should still exercise caution. If your condition is relatively minor, there’s no need to put yourself (or your PT!) at risk. And for more serious concerns, if you’re lucky, your PT might be able to utilize telerehab to offer treatment in the comfort of your own home.
Otherwise, we have previously discussed alternatives to seeing a physical therapist, such as the abundance of PT videos available on YouTube. Fortunately, much of the work of physical therapy involves exercises you do on your own anyway. It usually doesn’t require much more than some resistance tubing or maybe a pulley system for range of motion work.
Rehabilitation Exercises You Can Do at Home
The human body is a complicated machine, and there are a lot of ways things can go wrong. Likewise, there are a lot of corresponding exercises to address those issues, falling under an array of categories:
- Strengthening exercises
- Range of motion
- Balance and proprioception
- Functional mobility
Strengthening exercises don’t just build muscle mass. They also increase bone density, improve posture, cut your risk of injury, and ease arthritis pain. They’re good for balance, blood sugar control, better sleep, and mental health. And they’re easy to do at home. Check out these fitness videos for examples of exercises you can do.
Range of motion exercises are important for improving joint movement. Passive range of motion exercises are commonly used as part of the treatment program before and after surgery for the shoulder and the knee, and they’re also helpful for arthritis patients. A pulley system makes these exercises easy to perform on your own at home.
Flexibility is essential for ease of movement, reducing pain and inflammation in the joints. Basic stretching is good for flexibility, but so is more general exercise. Just getting out of your chair regularly and moving around can help prevent stiffness and improve flexibility.
Balance and proprioception are important to prevent falls and keep us active especially as we age, but also after injury, surgery, or any period of immobilization. You can use balance boards for this, or simple single-leg exercises like the T-stance.
Functional mobility exercises combine muscle training and joint movement to make everyday activities easier to perform. They emphasize core stability and movement proficiency to help with basic movement patterns like pushing, pulling, squatting, turning, carrying, and gait.
Cardiorespiratory exercises keep your heart and lungs active and healthy. These are classics like a jog, bike, or swim, or even a walk around the block. If none of these are options available to you, then depending on your fitness level there are always jumping jacks, jump ropes, jogging in place, burpees, mountain climbers, or walking up and down the stairs.