Best ways to actually remember exercises
Exercises are one of physiotherapy's most powerful tools...when we remember to do them.
Here are some tricks to turn good intentions into good outcomes
Netflix & Stretch
Don't worry - you don't have to admit how much you watch. Simply set up your yoga mat, roller, and stretch-bands beside the TV and you'll be recovered in no-time. Try this series:
moving between stretches during the show
strength work during the Next Episode Coutdown
motor drills during (instead of skipping) the Intro
Another approach is for us to find an exercise variation specific to each posture. That way you can always be doing something, regardless of where you are or what you're doing. For example, sometimes I'll use this with my knee patients.
While sitting --> VMO activation
While lying down --> ITB stretching
- While standing --> Single leg stance drills
The Physio Drinking Game
Sometimes I do this when I'm treating a couple people from the same office. It not quite as fun as it sounds, but it's one way to jog your memory if you're at risk of getting 'sucked into' your work and forgetting about everything else.
Work in IT? Try stretching each time you:
- ask if someone tried 'turning it off and on again'
- curse, mock, or otherwise show contempt for Windows products
We Have The Technology
When is there ever not an app for that? Leveraging technology to be more productive is 21st Century 101 so try a couple of these suggestions:
Ask Google Assistant or Siri to remind you at a particular time
Try some Habit Tracking apps
Keep it simple and simply set an alarm
Location, Location, Location
I once asked a friend why she had photo of a middle-aged man on her bathroom mirror. Turns out her dentist had her do it to remember to floss each day. Hilarious, yet effective.
Whilst I haven't adopted quite the same strategy, I sometimes suggest patients try something similar. For example:
- calf stretches while in front of a sink
calf raises on the escalator
balance drills while waiting for the train
No tricks here - this is the classic method. For my patients who like structure and have a lot of discipline, we keep it simple and skip all the gimmicks.
For those already going to the gym, we can add your physio to your workouts. Otherwise, perhaps during your lunch breaks or before bed.
You're all set! Just remember:
Most exercises require regular use to actually have an effect. Building habits can be hard though, so draft up a plan at the start of your rehab process. Most of us are already trying to do more things than we have time for, so I always suggest looking for ways to add exercises without disrupting your day.
And remember, your Physiotherapist is there to help you on your path to success, so create a plan together that works for you.