Whether you’re an elite athlete, recovering from surgery or dealing with chronic illness, rehabilitation strength training can be your secret weapon to reduce pain, improve movement and live a healthy, happy life. This type of exercise is not as intimidating as it sounds, and can be done in your home gym, a garage gym, large-box fitness clubs like Gold’s or Anytime Fitness, functional fitness gyms, college recreation centers, physical therapy rehabilitation centers, or even in an open room at your gym.
Regardless of the type of exercise you do, your physical therapist will always prescribe an appropriate amount of weight and a range of motion to limit injury risk. This is called load management, and is one of the most critical factors in successful rehab – but also the least understood or prioritized by most fitness professionals.
The most common reason for PT patients seeking the services of a physical therapist is pain. Pain can be caused by past injuries, surgeries, poor ergonomics at work or at home and other factors. A good physical therapist will be able to assess and treat the source of your pain but will also recommend specific rehabilitation exercises and strength training programs that will improve your quality of life.
Most people who seek the services of a physical therapist have undergone medical treatments that require them to be confined in bed for extended periods. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to loss of muscle mass and bone density deterioration. By combining a regular physical therapy regimen with a strength training program, patients can recover the lost muscle mass and increase bone density.
In addition to reversing loss of muscle mass, rehabilitation strength training can help with improving movement and increasing flexibility. This is especially important for patients with conditions that affect the muscles and joints of the body, such as diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s and other illnesses. Strength training can also increase the metabolic rate of people with a sedentary lifestyle and make it easier for them to lose weight.
A major goal of a physical therapist is to promote recovery and return function to the injured area as quickly as possible. The use of a rehabilitation strength training program helps to achieve this by redistributing the stress placed on the injured area to other areas of the body while simultaneously restoring the strength of the damaged tissue.
A rehabilitation strength training program is a key part of any fitness and health regimen, but there are a lot of myths out there that have been created to justify its use. These myths range from the ill-advised belief that hip weakness is a cause of running injuries like iliotibial band syndrome to the overblown scares about “dead butt syndrome” and other posture-related ailments.