How is "exercise like medicine?"
- It is prescribed - your physical therapist/physician must determine the type, intensity, frequency and duration.
- It requires a specific dosage - how much is required to achieve benefits?
- Too much can be harmful.
- An "exercise regularly" approach does not provide for safety/avoid complications.
How often should you exercise?
- Individually determined, under the direction of your physician, based upon your current health status.
- To increase strength and/or endurance: 4-6x/week.
- To maintain strength and/or endurance: 2-3x/week.
- Duration of each exercise session is individually determined, under the direction of your physician, based upon your current health status.
- Improvements in muscle strength can be measured as early as 2 weeks into a program.
- Improvements in endurance can be measured as early as 4 weeks into a program.
How much is required to achieve the benefits of exercise?
- Muscles must be worked until they fatigue (become tired) to increase strength.
- Muscle fatigue may feel like a heaviness, soreness, burning or tiredness in the muscle or limb.
- The correct amount of resistance will allow you to complete 8-12 repetitions of an exercise.
- Your therapist will determine the appropriate amount of resistance (weight, theraband, etc.).
- Building endurance requires working for increasing periods of time against low/no resistance + maintaining a target heart rate.
- Your therapist will determine an appropriate target heart rate range.
- The completion of exercise for a defined period of time will achieve a "training effect."
What should I do if I feel soreness or pain?
- Muscle soreness is a normal response to exercise.
- This soreness may start days after completing exercise.
- Notify your therapist if you are experiencing delayed onset of muscle soreness.
- Pain is NOT a normal response to exercise.
- Discontinue any/all exercises that cause pain immediately.
- Notify your therapist.