STRUGGLING TO FIND TIME TO DO YOUR EXERCISES?
I had an interesting conversation recently with a client who was “embarrassed” about not having done his prescribed physio exercises. This client had not progressed as he would have liked, and was somewhat ashamed & nervous about my reaction to him telling me this.
I must admit in my early days of practising physiotherapy, I would find it difficult to not get frustrated with people who would come and pay for my advice, but then not follow-through with my recommendations. However over the years I have come to realise that ANY negative emotional response from myself or the client (including frustration, embarrassment, shame etc.) is not helpful for anyone in fostering a great outcome.
It is the job of a clinician NOT to judge an individual based on their compliance, but to WORK TOGETHER with them to find a solution to getting things done. Just as it is the role of the client to TAKE CONTROL of their own health and commit to prescribed rehab in order to work towards their goals.
We are not all professional athletes who have the luxury of spending hours each day rehabilitating and treating our bodies. People have jobs, families, partners, social lives and other commitments that can be barriers to the completion of exercise. We are all busy, and the vast majority of people will fall off the wagon from time to time. This is NORMAL human behaviour.
However the analogy I use is this – Do you brush your teeth every day? Shower every day? Get dressed every day? Eat every day? The answer for everyone is an overwhelming yes. And why is it that we do these things every day? It is because they are a HABIT! We don’t wake up and say “I can’t wait to ensure my teeth are super clean and my breath smells super fresh today!” We just brush our teeth. Because that is what we do.
Linking your physio exercises to something you do out of HABIT as part of our normal daily routine is very simple, but also very powerful. Don’t rely on motivation or memory or waiting until you have time to get s**t done. Link your rehab to something you do every day, and make it a habit. Simple, yet extremely effective.
B. Health Sciences (Physio), APAM