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The Importance of a Home Exercise Program

Spring, Autumn or Summer are great times to be outside, be more social, or even go on holidays. They also provide opportunities to catch up with family. Unfortunately, holiday times mean that our home exercise programs seem to get missed more often.

There should be no excuse to neglect your exercises during times of holidays or festivities. If you are going away, it is really important that you take with you your exercise program and any needed equipment (theraband, massage ball etc). Furthermore, you should make sure you understand the exercises you’ve been asked to complete. Remember they are prescribed to you just like medicine, and should be taken as prescribed for the best benefit.

There was an interesting study published in October 2015 that provided 29 participants with shoulder abduction exercises, to be completed for 2 weeks at home. Participants were provided with an initial instruction of the prescribed exercises, along with the required sets and repetitions of each to complete. The finding revealed that after 2 weeks, only 13 of 29 participants had the correct exercise form and 14 of 29 completed the prescribed amount of sets and repetitions (1). Therefore, it is very important that you completely understand the exercises you have been prescribed. If you are unsure, ask your Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist. We would much prefer you to be exercising correctly than not at all.

If you feel that you’ll struggle to complete your exercises, the following tips may help:

1. Remember your goals. What are you trying to achieve and how important is this goal to you?

2. Use a diary or weekly planner to organise specific times to exercise.

3. Exercise with a friend or family member. We know that exercise is more fun if you’re doing it with someone else.

4. If your going away, plan ahead by finding out if there is a gym at your destination, or take some basic equipment with you.

5. Remember, you must be accountable for your own health. We can’t exercise for you!

Before you start telling yourself, “I’m on holiday and I don’t need to do anything,” or “I’ll do lots of exercise when I get back,” please have second look at the above advice about how to stay active over your holiday period. If you are taking time away from your gym sessions, make sure you have a talk with your Exercise Physiologist so you know what, how and when to complete your exercises.

References:

1) Faber, M, Andersen, MH, Sevel, C, Thorborg, K, Bandholm, T, & Rathleff, M. 2015. The Majority are not performing home-exercises correctly two weeks after their initial instruction-an assessor-blinded study. Peer J; 3: e1102.

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