In physical therapy, you will often do exercises and movements that improve mobility (ability to move) coordination and strength. These exercises should be continued outside of your physical therapy sessions to ensure that the work you have done in therapy continues to progress.
The frequency at which you perform these exercises can be a big factor in your progress. Here are some tips to help you determine the right frequency for your specific goals.
Before and after physical therapy exercises, it is important to perform stretches. Stretching helps to limber up your muscles and prepare them for movement, which can reduce the risk of injuries.
When stretching, it is crucial to hold the stretch for a long enough period of time. It takes at least 30 seconds to lengthen the tissue safely and up to 60 seconds for a particularly tight muscle or problem area.
A great way to ensure that you are performing the appropriate stretches is to ask your physical therapist for a program of stretches that will complement other modalities and strengthen your body.
Especially if you have chronic pain, regular stretching can help you to untie knots in your muscles that cause referred pain to other areas of the body. This can also help to alleviate aches and pains in your joints.
If you’re looking to increase your flexibility you should do them at least two to three times per week. Performing these exercises consistently will allow them to become a part of your routine and help you to maintain the results you achieved.
Static stretching, in which you move a muscle as far as it can go without feeling pain and hold that position for 20 to 45 seconds, is one of the most effective ways to increase your range of motion. To maximize the benefits, you should repeat each stretch a few times.
Before you start a stretching exercise, warm up your muscles by doing a short full-body warm-up. If you’re doing a strength or endurance workout, save your stretching for after you’ve finished that activity.
A bouncy or jerky movement can tighten muscles and cause injuries, so always try to do the stretching in a smooth motion. Breathe normally and repeat each stretch 3-5 times.
For optimal results, follow the guidance of La Clinica Physical Therapy and perform your prescribed physical therapy exercises as recommended. Consistency is key to improving flexibility and achieving your therapy goals.
Physical therapists can perform range of motion (ROM) exercises to increase the range of movement of joints and muscles. They can also stretch tight muscles and tendons to help maintain flexibility, especially after an injury or surgery.
These exercises can be active, passive or combinations of the two. An example of an active exercise is a crunch. Lie on the floor with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and directly under your shoulders, legs straight, heels on the ground and bend your arms until they reach parallel to the floor, then push up.
A good physical therapist can use these exercises as part of a more comprehensive plan to get you back to doing the things you love. They will tailor a program to your specific needs, including dietary habits, sleep patterns and daily activities. They may also prescribe a variety of postural exercises to counteract the negative effects of sitting for long periods.
Whether you’re working in the gym, riding your bike or just trying to get up the stairs with ease, it’s important to have strong mobility. If you have a joint or muscle weakness, it can derail your workout or cause injury.
Your physical therapist will provide you with mobility exercises that target your specific needs. These mobility exercises are geared toward preventing injuries, improving flexibility and range of motion and improving overall function.
The intensity of these exercises will largely dictate how often you should perform them. For example, your physical therapist may recommend that you do them two to three times a week or less.
For example, if you have poor hip mobility due to a long history of poor posture or repetitive motions, your therapist will likely prescribe several mobility exercises to help restore full movement. These exercises are typically done in a sitting or standing position, and you can do them for just a few minutes each day.