I'm too busy to Stretch – Ana Downey-Smith
Your physiotherapist or podiatrist might prescribe you stretching and/or strengthening exercises as part of your treatment and it seems simple enough to do right? Then you blink and 3 weeks later you realize you only did it once and you are still having the same problems. Generally speaking, people don’t go to the effort of seeking and paying for professional treatments, only to not continue the treatments at home. But life gets busy and sometimes we just forget about our exercises. Here are several key points to help you keep on track of your ‘at home stretches’ and speed up the road to recovery.
- Routine: an obvious one, but by far the most crucial to achieve success. Pick your time and be realistic; if you aren’t a morning person, don’t try and put your stretching program in before work. Chances are you won’t do it and you’re back to square one. Many stretching and strengthening exercises are between 25-40 seconds long and include 4-6 repetitions, so you’re adding 2-3 minutes to your day, for a potential lifetime of change.
- Triggers: Forgetting to do the stretches or exercises is one of the most common reasons for delaying the road to recovery. It’s a reason many healthcare professionals hear regularly. A ‘trigger’ is a visual cue to remind you to do your exercises. Reminders on your phone, sticky notes, towels or exercise equipment in front of the couch and pictures on the bedside table or fridge will help to remind you.
- Keep it manageable: Don’t over commit or pressure yourself into doing the exercises. Generally speaking, 2-4 different exercises is advised, any more and it becomes too consuming and overwhelming. If you have more than 4 exercises, regardless of who prescribed them, talk to your health professionals about prioritising which exercises are more critical than others.
- Time frame: Between you and your health care practitioner discuss a manageable time frame to complete the exercises. It isn’t always possible to estimate a strict date of completion, however it will help to try. By setting a time frame to have the exercises completed, it will help you manage your goals and expectations about the exercises.
If you think you might benefit from more regular stretching, make an appointment to see one of our practitioners today. They can help you to make a plan and set some realistic targets.