When I was at school, I was never good at homework. I am sure I was not the only one.
But it turns out they were trying to teach me something useful!
Perhaps I wasn’t invested enough, or I couldn’t clearly see the end goal. But today, I can see how important it is for you – and your support network – to be heavily invested in what you do. Especially when it comes to the most important thing: health.
In order to stay mobile, safe and happy for as long as possible, The Physio Co (TPC) likes to find a better way and think big, so if sticking a picture of Hugh Jackman to the mirror while exercising helps – do it!
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We believe great things come from well-thought-out plans. We also believe great things come from people who always ask themselves: “How can I improve upon that?”
Below are five of our top tips to get the most out of working with a physiotherapist.
1. Set a goal
Take a look at where you are now and work with your physio to set a goal that is achievable, but will stretch you.
While none of us is going to look like Hugh Jackman or Wonder Woman any time soon, setting a realistic target helps.
The goal could be to walk across a room. It could be walking a kilometre to the shops. Setting a challenge gives us something tangible to work towards.
Once you have a goal, work backwards to break it down into bite-sized milestones that can be ticked off along the way. If the challenge is to walk a kilometre, set targets at 200m, 400m, 600m and 800m, and literally tick each step off to stay on track.
Personally, I take great pleasure in drawing a line through a completed task.
Keep the goal at the forefront of your mind. Print off the program and stick it to a mirror, or a fridge, and make it a part of everyday life.
2. Sharing is caring
Get yourself a training buddy. Find a friend, co-inhabitant or a family member who is engaged in the program too. Hold each other to account and help each other when motivation is low.
If your program is similar to that of your training buddy, you could take it in turns, or hit the exercises at the same time side by side.
If the programs are different, you can just inspire each other through progress and reaching goals. Even if somebody has not been prescribed a program, ask them to join in – it might prevent them from ever needing to see a physio.
Exercising with somebody is fun and we like the whole process to be fun. Laughing helps!
3. Get it in the diary
Life is busy. Between morning coffee, afternoon tea and the big game on the telly, it’s easy to forget about your exercises – or put them off until tomorrow.
By integrating exercises into a daily routine (it doesn’t have to start at the same time every day), it almost becomes automatic – like brushing your teeth.
Speaking of which, I am sure you have heard about the trick of standing on one leg while brushing your teeth. We don’t really recommend that to be honest but, in some cases, we can try to fit a program around an existing daily routine.
Be open with yourself. If you know you don’t have the discipline to set time aside, tell the physio what you like to do and we will try to build a program around it.
4. Consistency can be fun
Just like learning to ride a bike, exercises can become second nature with consistency.
If the program is Pilates-based, for example, familiarity around the movements will enable focus on breathing and mindfulness.
If the exercises can be built into an everyday routine, then it is not always necessary to block off all other distractions.
Good practice can become routine. Listen to your favourite radio show or watch the footy on the telly. Have some fun with it.
If you find that the distractions are detrimental to the execution of the program, then don’t hesitate to change things and switch off.
5. Join a group
At TPC, we can refer an individual to group exercise sessions where we think it may enhance an individual’s program.
Everybody is different, but generally it helps to surround yourself with people who are aiming for a similar outcome.
A group environment can be inspiring and energising, even when you are not in the mood for exercise.
You can meet some great people and have a lot of fun!