PUBLISHED ON March 6, 2020
Staying motivated is the key to achieving your physical therapy goals. Yet, for many people, being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic can make staying on track quite the struggle.
Part of the problem, it is easy to skip your exercise routines because you are not being held accountable like you were if you were going into the office to see your physiotherapist or chiropractor. You may say you will skip today and just do your exercises tomorrow.
But tomorrow comes and you tell yourself that if you exercise today, it will throw off your normal schedule so you will get back to it tomorrow. Then the next day comes, and there is another excuse.
Putting off your exercise is not good for your body either. If you are recovering from an injury or have chronic pain, it is vital to continue with your exercises. Otherwise, these conditions could be aggravated and worsen.
Step 1: Understand why you skipped your at-home physical therapy.
Don’t make excuses but take the time to try and figure out what went wrong. Were you not sure how to do the exercises? Maybe you don’t have access to the equipment that you use in the office. Were the exercises too difficult or hard to do on your own? Whatever the reasons, write them down and log a journal.
Step 2: Get re-motivated with a telemedicine appointment with your physiotherapist or chiropractor.
Even though you can’t go into the office right now, you can schedule a telemedicine appointment. Make sure to go over all the reasons you came up with in Step 1. The video appointment is also a good time to get re-motivated with encouraging words from your physiotherapist or chiropractor.
Step 3: Take it slow and steady.
Instead of skipping days, just take the exercises slow and steady. Work at them at your own pace. If it takes you an hour instead of 30 minutes to complete all the different exercises that is okay. You are not trying to win a race here.
Step 4: Alternate your exercises to keep from getting bored.
If you have several different exercises you do, try to mix it up some, with permission from your physiotherapist or chiropractor. For example, do lower body exercises one day, upper body another, back exercises the next, and shoulder and neck exercise on a different day.
Another option, if there is just one targeted body area you are focused on, is to learn a variety of different exercises you can vary rather than doing the same one over and over.
Step 5: Revisit your goals every month.
Talk to your physiotherapist or chiropractor at least once a month to ensure you are on track to reaching your health goals. Talk to them about adjusting your exercise and routines as you feel stronger, so you have more of a challenge.
By using these steps, you can remain motivated during physical therapy at home until your physiotherapist or chiropractor can reopen and see you in person.