According to an often-cited statistic on exercise adherence 50% of people drop out of exercise programs within 6 months (1) even though physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the USA (2). Apart from that, adherence to specifically prescribed exercise programs is of utmost importance for the successful rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries. Do you have difficulties to commit or stick to the things that are good for you? Here some strategies that can make it easier to follow through with home exercise program:
#Find Your Why
Take some time before your start to identify why you should do your exercise program. This ‘why’ should not include the reason that your health care provider told you so. It must be personal. Do you want to get back to an activity you used to love? Do you want to be out of pain and have more quality of life? Once you understood your motivation, you can formulate a specific goal that reflects it.
#Visualize Your Results
Imagine what it would be like if you could achieve your desired outcome. Picture it in your mind and try to image how it would feel like if you had already accomplished it. Take a ‘mental snapshot’ of that image and try to bring it to the surface whenever you need a little push.
#Make it possible
Set realistic milestones. Try to focus on process related goals that can help you to get to your ultimate target. This could be as simple as: “I will do my Home Exercises 3 times every week for the next 3 weeks.”
Lack of time is THE #1 excuse for not exercising. Here are two strategies you can try to avoid using it and fail to do what you are supposed to do.
Schedule your workouts and treat it the same way you would treat a dentist appointment, aka don’t miss it even if you don’t want to do it.
Commit to do a 10 – 15 minute exercise session with the option to extend it if you want to. Most people will be willing to keep exercising once they wear their exercise gear. Getting started is usually the hard part, so try to get through the first minutes will be half the deal.
#Make it a habit
Integrating new habits into your life is tough, but there are some tricks that can make it easier: try to do your exercises always at the same place and the same time, have your exercise plan ready and follow it religiously. That way you limit your thoughts on the ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ and you will be less likely to come up with excuses.
Track your progress including the time and effort you put into your exercise program. Record the performed reps and sets of each exercise. It will feel as good crossing of your daily to-do list. Apart from that, tracking can help you to stay motivated if the results take longer than expected: effort will lead, results will follow (eventually).
Last but not least: try to have fun with it. Exercising may be not your definition of fun, but you will feel good after and that will spill over to anything else you will do that day.
Dishman, R.K. (Ed.) 1988, Exercise Adherence: It’s Impact on Public Health
Mokdad AH, Marks JS, Stroup DF. Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. JAMA. 2004; 291:1238–1245.
WebExercises was created by clinicians who wanted to find a better way to help patients succeed with their exercise rehabilitation programs. As clinicians we are limited with time therefore WebExercises was developed to efficiently design exercise programs. We offer an engaging patient experience that can be monitored virtually by the clinician keeping your patients motivated outside of your office. Since 2005 we have delivered over 20 million exercises saving clinicians time and improving patient adherence. To find out more how WebExercises can improve your practice call us 866-411-4825 or visit webexercises.com/join