Tuesday 22 May 2018

Making Rehab Fun

Pain isn't fun. For many people who aren't accustomed to sport or fitness, exercise might not immediately be a fun thing either.

I find that many individuals struggle to adhere to their recovery plans due to the fact that the rehab process is perceived to be grueling and unenjoyable. Perhaps, even to the same extent as the pain itself!

Maybe the exercise is causing a different type of discomfort that the client is adverse to. Perhaps the rewards aren't immediate enough. Maybe the exercises being provided are just "lame". A lot of factors can play into the reasons why a client doesn't enjoy exercise, regardless of knowing the benefit behind it.

The difference between pain and the mental blocks of rehab is this: clients are often accustomed to the pain! That being said, it's sometimes easiest to simply deal with the pain rather than persevere through the work, as coping mechanisms for the former have already been developed.

So let's make the recovery process fun! Many therapists think that the fun factor is only applicable to making young children adhere to their pains, but why is it so absurd to think that adults might like a bit more enjoyment as well? People of all ages benefit from using fun to motivate their health behaviours.

Disclaimer: If you hate fun, don't book with me.

I'm not suggesting that every rehab exercises needs to be turned into a game. Regimented exercise has its necessary place and making fun out of everything is unrealistic. However, tedious sets and reps have a limit to holding interest and attention.

But how about using the activities that the clients are trying to get back to? Whether it's a sport, going for hikes, or gardening, there's bound to be an active activity that those individuals would like to get back to. Using a soccer ball as a piece of rehab equipment, walking or trails, or even simply incorporating light activities in the yard into the plan is going to go a long way to keep clients motivated. They'll enjoy the work, it will apply to their desired lifestyles, and it will act as a constant reminder of progress.

Many clients will thrive off of strict exercise plans and regular routines, but, like fitness, some people will need other alternatives to enjoy the process. As a therapist, it's my job to recognize which methods are going to be the most effective for each individual. At the end of the day, whatever works to get you feeling better.


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