After completing your treatment plan, you can manage your daily activities more safely and experience regained mobility, motion range, flexibility, and balance. However, understanding what factors can help you remain injury-free in the long term is important for maximizing your outcome. By learning practical tips, implementing healthy habits, and knowing when to seek professional advice, you can set yourself up for success and continue to enjoy a pain-free life with more independent movement.
1. Follow Your Physical Therapist’s Instructions
Throughout your physical therapy treatment, you can expect your provider to ask you to perform specific exercises and stretches at home to support your recovery in addition to your in-office sessions. The purpose of that “homework” is to develop your muscle strength and improve your joint health. Your commitment to those exercises is vital to achieving your goals during physical therapy. It also affects your health after the completion of your treatment.
Once you have completed the physical therapy sessions, your medical provider can share specific instructions on how to maintain your results. If they recommend you continue to do certain stretches and exercises to support your body’s function, you should continue to dedicate the necessary time to perform them as often as needed. This can improve your body conditioning and be a strong foundation for your physical activity.
2. Stay Physically Active
Physical therapy helped you increase your body’s capabilities so you can engage with your everyday tasks painlessly and safely. The physical aspect of your treatment should guide your exercise routine. Keeping your body moving is important for your overall health, including your mental well-being.
Staying physically active is critical for your musculoskeletal structures, joints, and body functions. Finding adequate fitness options to participate in several times a week and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle are keys to maintaining your gains from physical therapy. According to the (opens in a new tab), each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity
If certain aspects of your physical therapy particularly worked for you, you can find activities that are similar to them, including low-impact but regular walking, yoga, or swimming. If you are unsure of what is safe but challenging enough to boost your health, ask your physical therapist for recommendations at the end of your treatment.
3. Maintain a Healthy and Stable Weight
Another key element to preserving your health and enjoying the results of your physical therapy treatment is to ensure your weight remains healthy. Eating a balanced diet and staying well hydrated play a large role in your general health.
If figuring out what nutrition options meet your lifestyle and any dietary restrictions you have, consulting with either your physician or a licensed nutritionist can help you develop a convenient eating plan that you will enjoy. This can help you stay committed to healthy eating.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Making sure you get enough rest every night promotes physical and mental health. Sleep helps your body recover from everyday activities and fitness. It helps increase your energy levels and cognitive abilities during the daytime.
Creating and sustaining a bedtime routine can include:
- A consistent sleep schedule throughout the week
- Limited screen time in the evening
- Relaxing and mindful activities
- Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening
You can also update your bedroom with a more supportive mattress or a lower temperature to enjoy a more restful sleep.
5. Talk to Your Medical Provider
If you ever feel that you are losing some of the gains you made during physical therapy or find implementing healthy habits challenging, you should talk with your doctor. You can do this whether during your annual physical or a separate appointment.
If you have any concerns about your health, talking with your physician can make a significant difference because they can recommend specific tests and/or treatments. Getting a timely diagnosis can help you receive necessary medical care and reduce your risk of future complications.
Your medical provider can either provide recommendations to you directly or refer you to a specialist that can help you make beneficial changes to your daily life. If they ever determine that you could benefit from additional physical therapy sessions, they can also prescribe them.