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Do I HAVE to do my therapy homework? The benefits of home exercise during the Coronavirus quarantine

COVID-19 has impacted all of us. Whether that’s due to quarantine restrictions, financial burdens, or fighting the actual infection. Among the countless other difficulties our communities face, there is one fact true for every one of us: activity levels are in sharp decline.

Immobility and a sedentary lifestyle are a danger at any stage of life. Our bodies are made for movement. When we stop moving, we become like the Tin Man—rusty and barely creaking along. Or a car that sits out in the winter weather for multiple days without running. Has anyone else ever had a car not start on a frozen day because it had been sitting too long?

During the quarantine, we should move as much as possible. This is especially crucial for folks who were undergoing physical, occupational, or speech therapy prior to clinic closures due to the pandemic.

For those patients who were shocked when the clinics informed you of the closures, and worried about your progress in therapy, have no fear! E-visits are on their way. Once this system is activated, call the clinic and leave a message or schedule an appointment for an E-visit if this appeals to you.

For those who think this is a nice break from therapy, think again!

Rehabilitation professionals will tell you the most benefit you will get from our services is what you do for yourself at home. This is truer now than ever before.

Careful and dedicated performance of your home exercise program is crucial to your long-term success. Not just in physical, occupational, or speech therapy, but in life, as well.

Patients who are recently postoperative need to perform daily exercises to prevent additional swelling, pain, immobility, and even stiffening of their joints to the point where another surgery may be necessary.

Patients with neurological diagnoses, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dizziness, balance problems, multiple sclerosis, and many others risk losing the wonderful gains made in therapy prior to the clinic closures.

Children and the frail of health are especially susceptible to regression if diligence in a home program is not followed. Returning to square one is disheartening for the patient and families, and will only prolong the return of independence and function.

Other negative side effects of immobility include weight gain, depressed mood, lack of energy, poor sleep, muscle atrophy, higher resting heart rate and blood pressure, weakness, decreased circulation, and many more.

A little exercise does a LOT of good. It will renew your energy, elevate your mood, help you sleep, keep your weight stable and controlled, and maybe even provide some sanity during the madness of our current circumstances.

Don’t risk a bigger problem than the one you began therapy with by not adhering to your home program.

If you wouldn’t leave your car—or the poor Tin Man—out in the cold to rust and decay, don’t let it happen to your body, either.

E-visits are now operational for physical rehabilitation, make sure you listen to your mechanic—er—therapist, and follow their advice. They’ll help have you up and running.