Tuesday 19 June 2018

The Rehab Schedule and Exercise Frequency

How often did your last therapist tell you to do your rehab exercises? Twice a week? Three times? Every day?

If you answered 'every day', then you're likely of the majority of individuals. There's a trend among health professionals to make this rule absolute. If you want to get better, then the more you adhere to your exercise plan, the fast the recovery will be. Makes sense!

However, how often do you see someone make a seven-day-per-week behaviour change in a snap simply because a medical professional told them to do so one time?

Sorry, what?
A lot of my clients are self-motivated fitness enthusiasts, so if I tell them to do their rehab exercises every single day, adherence is high! However, expecting perfect compliance is rare among most demographics. I'm not talking about unhealthy shlobs who are unused to taking care of their bodies at all. I'm talking about recreational athletes, weekend warriors, avid gardeners, blue-collar labourers, and more. Telling just about anyone to add a 20-minute routine to every single one of their days might not sound like a lot, but it can be quite the feat.

A lot of therapists are aware of this and will still stick to the "daily dose" model, however, figuring that clients will still do a lesser amount of exercise when prescribed the more. But is this an effective measure? Or does the higher expectation lead to a greater rate of failure? If a client feels guilty because they did less work then they were instructed to, this could lead to a quicker loss of motivation and eventual overall noncompliance.

For this reason, I find it important to get a thorough understanding of each of my clients' lifestyles, schedule, and inherent motivation. If I feel like someone is going to be perfectly happy to exercise as told every single day, then great! For most, however, setting high standards is an easy way to make clients feel disappointed. Instead, I tailor each plan to each individual, whether it's alternating exercises on each day, having them exercise every other day, or simply doing their rehab plans just as warm-ups for their activities and sports.

We're not sacrificing quality of the program by decreasing the frequency. We're ensuring overall success by helping to create gradual habits. Besides, just a couple days of exercise per week is enough to start providing beneficial effects for just a wide variety of physical ailments.

I'll say this again before Nike sues me: "Just do it" doesn't work.


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