Regardless of why your patient comes to physical therapy, they’re there to address some area of their body that needs help. Whether it’s their knee pain and they need to strengthen the muscles in that area to prevent the pain, stability where they’re learning how to balance and walk, or any other reason, they are moving their body. Movement is an inherent part of PT and therapists are constantly looking for ways to increase the amount of movement in their patients’ lives. Why? Because it will help them.
Benefits of Regular Movement for Physical Therapy:
Movement helps everyone, it seems. Whether you’re trying to recover from an injury or trying to train for a marathon, incorporating more movement seems to be the best route to go. But it goes deeper than that. Some of the main benefits of daily movement include:
- Reinforces PT Efforts – Whatever a patient is learning in PT, they can take it into their normal lives and repeat it. In fact, that is often what they are tasked to do. The more committed they are to their exercises, the more positive their results will be. So, patients must find a way to move every day.
- Builds Strength – Movement builds strength. It helps strengthen the muscles that support our skeleton, which for some people is a huge element in preventing pain and discomfort.
- Boosts Mood – Regular movement can have a positive impact on mood, focus, and cognitive functioning.
- Creates Good Habits – Introducing regular movement into our lives carves the path for us to introduce other good habits into our lives, like healthier eating.
- Encourages Positive Health – Exercise and movement are good for heart health, cognitive health, and more. Moving at least a little every day can encourage positive health trends.
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How to Encourage Patients to Introduce Movement into Their Daily Life:
While most people know that movement has all these benefits, they don’t automatically jump at the chance to introduce it into their daily life. This is because it isn’t always that easy. Developing new, positive habits is challenging and exercise is both difficult and intimidating if you’ve never done it regularly. As their physical therapist, it is vital that you offer support and encouragement to help them make the transition into regular, daily movement. What does that look like?
- Listen to Their Challenges – Everyone has different challenges and struggles. As their provider, you need to listen to them. What roadblocks do they feel are preventing them from achieving regular movement? Some of the most common include time (not enough of it), energy/motivation, lack of knowledge, and lack of resources. By listening to their challenges, you can help them find ways to navigate through them and find solutions that work for them.
- Model a Positive Relationship with Movement – It is important to remember that movement isn’t the same for everyone, and that your client needs to do what is best for them. They need to move in whatever way makes them happy. If they don’t have a positive relationship with movement, it could be because it was never modeled for them. Discuss with them all the different varieties of movement until one sparks their interest and show them that they’re allowed to be creative with it – it doesn’t have to be walking on a treadmill.
- Set Achievable Goals – Some patients might be able to dive right in while others will need to start small. Make sure to set movement goals for your patients that are achievable for them. Don’t tell your patient that has never run before to start training for a marathon. Instead, help them land on something that makes them comfortable. Maybe they like walking their dog or walking around the grocery store to buy their groceries.
- Remind Them and Encourage Them – If they ever start to feel discouraged, remind them that introducing daily movement can be difficult, but they’re doing a great job and they should keep trying. You’re there if they need any help.
- Provide Information and Resources – If your patient needs structure, there are an infinite number of resources available for you to point them to. From internet dancing and training videos to Home Exercise Programs (HEP) like the one from Fusion that helps you streamline your patient’s home exercise program – helping you work together to achieve their goals, the options are endless. Resources can help give patients a starting point to jump off of instead of aimlessly trying to figure out what might work for them.
Encouraging your patients to adopt daily movement offers tons of benefits for them and their physical therapy. By following these tips, you can help them get started.
Looking to see how Fusion’s Home Exercise Program can help you encourage your clients to include movement in their days? Get a free demo of Fusion today!