During this time when therapy services are limited, the therapy team at Helen Hayes Hospital would like to give our patients a few reminders for following their home exercise programs. Following these tips can help ensure that you are performing your home exercise program safely and that you continue to work toward you recovery goals at home:
- Follow the exercises, in terms of precautions, how often to do them, and how many repetitions/sets to perform, as directed by your therapist.
- Exercises should not cause new pain. If an exercise is painful, reduce the amount of weight or do it within your pain free range of motion. If it is painful no matter what the position, do not do the exercise.
- Stretches should typically be done daily. You should do the stretch slowly and hold for the recommended amount of time.
- Strengthening exercises can be done 3-4 times per week. They should be done slowly and with control. You should pay attention to keeping your body and head centered and avoid compensating for weak muscles by leaning back or to one side.
- When performing shoulder exercises, concentrate on sitting up tall, tightening abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your back, and activating shoulder blade muscles by pulling them down and back.
- Do exercises in front of a mirror to help you pay attention to your posture and how your arms are positioned during the exercises.
- Try to link the exercises with other aspects of your daily routine. Do stretches right after breakfast, strengthening exercises while you watch the news or right before dinner. Use alarms or reminders on your phone to help with being consistent with the exercises.
All of us at Helen Hayes Hospital send our best wishes to our patients at home and look forward to seeing you again!