Home Exercise Program

September 13th, 2012
Home Exercise Program

Home exercise program (HEP) are good and popular ways to involve patients in their physical therapy programs.  When a patient starts or ends their treatment plan, the therapist will slowly introduce patient education.  In reinforcing education, tools like a home exercise program may be used.  These exercises are meant to continue the treatment at home once a patient completes the treatment plan with certified physical therapists.

Home exercise program are created differently for different types of patients.  It can feature a set of exercises and relevant tips for patients suffering from back pain or neck pain or it can focus on patients recovering from stroke.

For a home exercise program to be effective, three elements need to be present.  These elements are strength training, flexibility and aerobics.

As part of a great home exercise program, strength training works with resistance to induce muscular contraction.  It aims to build strength and anaerobic endurance.  This can also include core exercises, activities with dumbbells, resistance tubing and/or a kettlebell.  Resistance exercises which can be done easily at home are planks, lunges, crunches, squats, arm rows and bicep curls.  When done properly, strength training provides functional benefits and can improve the overall health of the patient.

Another aspect of an effective home exercise program, flexibility is all about stretching out muscles and guarding them from injury.  This can be done by doing ensuring warm up activities at the onset and cool down at the end of each session.

When doing flexibility exercises as part of a home exercise program, it is best to follow the following guidelines:

  • Warm up before getting started
  • Stretching until feeling a little discomfort
  • Holding the stretch should diminish that tightness feeling
  • Breathe as you stretch, no holding of breath
  • Stop stretching if the tightness does not go away or if there is pain

The third element needed for a good home exercise program aerobics.  It is a physical exercise that aims to improve cardio-vasculary fitness, muscular strength and flexibility.  Aerobics can be done indoors with the following activities like stair climbing, treadmill and stationery bicycle.  Outdoor activities are cycling, running, and jogging.  Other activities also include kickboxing, swimming and jump rope.

Coming up with a home exercise program that includes the three elements can be done easily with a specific goal in mind.  Each HEP should be created for a specific type of patient group to make it effective.