If you've recently lost some range of motion due to an injury or an illness, it's possible your primary care physician will refer you to physical therapy. While your physical therapist will likely be able to come up with a program that will get you back on track, you don't have to wait for your next session to continue the healing process. There are plenty of things you can do on your own time in between sessions that can help maximize the chances of your physical therapy program being successful. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind.
Your Body Needs Rest to Heal Properly
Getting enough sleep should be part of just about everyone's fitness plan, but it is especially important for those going through physical therapy. When you don't get enough sleep, your body doesn't have the time it needs to repair your hurt muscles or fully recharge from the last session. Get a full night's sleep as often as possible in between therapy sessions so your body is at 100 percent and ready for more work when you return.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
When you suddenly start a new physical activity, your body will lose water much more quickly than it would otherwise. If you don't stay on top of this, you will end up dehydrated. Dehydration, in turn, can make it more difficult for your muscles to heal, not to mention what it does to your energy level. Get into the habit of drinking water throughout the day at regular intervals, even if you don't always feel like you need it.
Don't Forget Your Homework
It's common for physical therapists to assign "homework" to their patients to try in between sessions. You won't be expected to exert yourself as much as you would while you are with your therapist, but you will likely be given a set of physical activities to try on your off days. If you truly want to heal your body and get back on track as soon as possible, it's important not to slack off on these exercises. Put a note on the fridge or anywhere else where you will get a regular reminder to get moving.
A physical therapist can only do so much on their own. At the end of the day, it is the patient who has to truly want to complete the program. If you want to start seeing results sooner rather than later, make sure you take care of yourself in between sessions by getting enough hydration and sleep, and don't forget to do your at-home exercises while you're at it. For more information, talk to your physical therapist today.