“I want you to do this exercise, then this one, then this one, and…….the next 10 on the list I just gave you…….my world renowned stick-figures should clearly demonstrate how to do each…….just 5 sets of 15 each”.
This can be a common management ploy by a therapist, sprung on you, the patient, at the end of a treatment session. It can leave you deflated trying to figure out when you can fit in what seemingly feels like 3 hour’s worth of uncomfortable, gravity defying exercises that most likely will do nothing to help you with what you came in for!
I tend to agree – in part – with the notion of “less is more” when it comes to home exercise programs. This is for several reasons;
- We are all busy, and it is important to do some prescribed exercises in comparison to being turned off due to the shopping list prescribed, and doing NONE! Compliance is important as a starting point.
- Compliance can only come if we show you that the exercise will have a positive impact – it needs to be the right exercise for that person and the condition – there most likely will only be a few that fits that need.
- It is our NERVOUS SYSTEM that drives movement patterns, hence influences our muscles resting and working tone, contractive output (powerful vs weak), and proper sequencing (when a muscle contracts compared to other muscles). Due to this, we should ensure the exercises we choose for a patient influence the nervous system in the most efficient way – just because we feel “tired” after a long list of exercises does not mean the prescription has been effective!
- To the previous point, we should strive to live by the mantra “an exercise should be the hardest thing a patient can do well!” It ensures a change in the nervous system, which will in response change how our body moves – hopefully this helps with what you, our patients, come to us with.
In short, exercises are only ever going to be effective if there is compliance, it is the right exercise for that patient at that time, and it is challenging enough for the nervous system to change (hopefully positively).
Long list of exercises to do?……….maybe it’s a waste of time!