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 Countdown

  • motor drills during (instead of skipping) the Intro

Posture Power

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

...pace yourself

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 gave her his picture 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

The Routine

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.

 
 
  Author:  Steve Procter, MSc, BSc, PT, AT, CEP, CPT, Fellow-HFFC  Clinical Director, Physiotherapist, Trainer -  Club Sportif MAA

Author: Steve Procter, MSc, BSc, PT, AT, CEP, CPT, Fellow-HFFC

Clinical Director, Physiotherapist, Trainer - Club Sportif MAA

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.