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Jane Cunningham, PT
Exercise In the Rehab Setting
La Plata Physical Therapy, Inc.

Exercise In the Rehab Setting

Exercise is defined as the performance of physical activity for the improvement of health. Normal exercise might include walking the dog, performing yoga, cycling in the morning, or going for a jog.

Therapeutic exercise, or exercise in the rehabilitative setting, is the scientific use of body movement to restore normal function in injured or altered tissue. Physical therapists can be partners and guides during the rehabilitative journey, and are unique in their ability to evaluate and follow a patient’s progress. A physical therapist will work together with a patient to identify and address weakness, loss of mobility, or impaired movement through a plan of care.

A plan of care might include targeted practice of such everyday tasks as lifting, bending, squatting, pushing, and pulling. Many of these basic movements can be difficult to perform after injury or surgery, and the practice of such movement is known as therapeutic activity. Through targeted practice, these functional and dynamic tasks of everyday living can help improve range of motion and strength.

Pain or stress are often limiting factors in one’s ability to perform exercise, and the experience of pain can be complicated by situation, condition, or even a person’s understanding of the pain they feel. Pain can be a complex and multifactorial experience, but one thing that research shows is that movement has the potential to help.

In many cases, including with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, targeted movement can have a positive effect on a person’s symptoms.

Targeted movement and therapeutic exercise are important aspects of the rehabilitative journey. Exercise in this setting takes many forms, including aerobic activity and aquatic therapy, and the goal is always progress. Whether you want to return to a sport you play, decrease the pain you feel, or walk with a little more confidence, taking an active role in your unique journey is important. Partnering with a physical therapist can be a great first step.

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