It’s a common problem that patients to skip physical therapy “homework.” After all, there is a reason many people do not exercise at home—it’s simply easier to lounge and watch your favorite Netflix series. Plus, PT homework isn’t a typical workout since you are repairing an injury. It hurts!
That said, your physical therapist assigns PT homework for a reason. Completing your home exercises is essential if you wish to be back on your feet and healthy again.
One of the major reasons most people do not go through with exercise is simply motivation. But digging deep and finding your inner motivation will only get you to the finish line faster. Here are some motivational tips you can follow:
Track your progress
No one, meaning you or Simone Biles, can see progress on a day-to-day basis. The body simply does not work that way. The best way to see progress is to track your day-to-day exercises and reflect on them after a month or a few weeks. Note how much weight was used, take pictures of your range of motion, or even write down pain levels that you can reflect on. You will be surprised how much progress goes unnoticed.
Progress is not linear
From exercise to the success of huge corporations, like Amazon and McDonalds, neither follows a consistent and linear line of progression. We all experience setbacks, which is usually the case when nursing an injury back to health. Some days will be more painful than others, but one bad day or week only makes progress feel that much better. This is a good time to reflect back on your personal logs. Even though today hurts more than yesterday, you have still progressed tremendously since day one. Physical therapy is tough, pat yourself on the back when you can.
Provide yourself with incentives
Workouts at home are difficult because of all the distractions. Home is where you keep your books, entertainment, and where you’re surrounded by friends or family. Just like school-aged kids cannot play their favorite video games until their schoolwork is complete, use your distractions as incentives. Do not read that book or watch that Netflix series until you’ve finished your PT homework.
Listen to audio while doing homework
Do you remember that book you really want to read? Well, you can turn that book into your motivation by listening to it as an audiobook during your at home exercises. Just like with typical workouts, podcasts, music, and audiobooks can help remove the monotonous aspects of therapy and exercise.
Find a therapy buddy
A personal cheerleader that holds you accountable only helps with progress. For instance, befriending another patient at PT is a great option. Loved-ones can also act as a therapy buddy as well—they can work on their flexibility or core while you complete your PT homework. The more people you have holding you accountable, the better.
Structure your schedule
For those with busy schedules, find a specific time where you can focus entirely on your PT work. This can include waking up a half hour earlier than usual, finding time during lunch break, or even staying up after the kids are in bed. PT is short compared to the rest of your life. But the sooner you are healed the sooner you can take it out of your schedule. Make your PT one of your top priorities for the time being.
Think about the end goal
Tape your end goals on your wall at home, write them on a bathroom mirror with dry-erase marker, or even set them as your phone background. The fastest way to getting to that end goal is by following your PT regime to the fullest. State your purpose and constantly remind yourself of your end goals and you will be healed before you know it.