Physical therapy is the ultimate factor regarding your recovery. Treating the source of your pain with a trained professional keeps your body safe, healthy, and protected from reinjury. Of course, a patient’s lifestyle plays a crucial role in recovery too. Outside of one-on-one time with your physical therapist, are you doing what you can to heal? Here are some supplementary factors to keep in mind.
Home Exercise Program (HEP)
An integral part of all physical therapy treatment plans is the home exercise program. Your physical therapist will walk you through exercises to do at home outside of your therapy sessions. It is crucial that you perform these exercises as prescribed by your physical therapist. These exercises play a critical role in your recovery and will help you get the most out of your one-on-one time at each physical therapy session.
Interested in incorporating more fitness or movement into your day to day life? Talk to your physical therapist about how you can personally add more movement into your day. It could be as simple as adding some leg lifts while watching TV, or perhaps fitting a short walk into your day. Everyone, from young athletes to seniors, benefits from proper fitness. Building additional muscle or increasing range of motion helps your body fight inflammation and have the tools it needs to repair itself.
Note: During recovery, always consult with your physical therapist before adding or changing your fitness routine. They will have the best insight as to what can and cannot help your body. After you complete your physical therapy, ease back into fitness with our i’m Fit adult fitness program, which includes five unique classes, for beginner to advanced skill levels, offered 31 times per week. If you’d like to learn more about these classes, try them out for a week for free (just fill out the info under “adult fitness”).
Much like movement, talk to your physical therapist about how and what forms of stretching are beneficial to your recovery. Gentle stretching reduces muscle fatigue and helps repair inflamed tissue. Generally speaking, make sure your body is warmed up and opt for dynamic stretching to keep things safe while recovering. Instead of pushing for more or deeper stretches, stick with what’s comfortable for you.
Enough (and Consistent!) Sleep
Tired? Then you should be listening to your body! Generally, we should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, every night, to ensure our bodies have time to heal. Deep sleep is critical for our energy levels and the healing process. And no, you cannot repay your sleep debt through a single night or power nap. Studies prove time and time again that REM deep sleep is linked with blood pressure, weight, healing, and brain function.
When putting your sleep first, aim to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. Establishing a routine, ideally with some quiet time and limited electronics beforehand, gets you in the habit of getting the sleep you need to heal. Take some time for you and catch up with those Z’s.
Food & Drink
You’ve heard this one before, and statistically, most of us have tried bettering our diet. We know that healthy fuel leads to healthier recovery, but no one can reasonably perfect their diet overnight. Our advice: start small. Pick a single food item to add/eliminate from your diet. We recommend starting with drinks. Cutting out alcoholic or sugary beverages (even the “diet” version) will do wonders for your energy levels and mood. Additionally, adding a few glasses of water every day will give your body what it needs to self-regulate and heal.
If you’re serious about your diet, we recommend our Precision Nutrition program. Samantha is phenomenal and can help you create lasting change in your diet. That one-on-one and team support can truly help you set and reach those goals.
Finally, try to take some time to give your body a break. Whether that’s taking time to use a heating pad once a day, soaking in the tub, or even getting a massage, adding time to de-stress into your routine gives your body the chance to slow down and breathe. Don’t be afraid to take a break from your busy routines and commitments to find time to recharge. Managing daily stressors and making time for relaxation promote a smooth recovery.
When your body is in need of care, don’t settle. Physical therapy is both personal and affordable to give you the best recovery. Learn about our physical therapy benefits or sign up for a pain assessment at i’move today.