Physical Therapy Exercises to Try at Home

People who have struggled with physical injuries, surgeries, or illnesses are mostly in need of physical therapy. This is to promote the fast recovery of the affected body functions. In your physical therapy sessions, you’ll be doing exercises with the guidance of your physical therapist. However, you can continue your routine in the comfort of your own space with home physical therapy exercises.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is a treatment approach for patients who underwent surgery, accident, or any physically traumatizing event that impacted their bodies’ normal functioning. Physical therapy helps promote healing, pain relief, and restoration of normal body functions. It is a medical concept that applies to anyone of all ages with existing medical conditions, health issues, or injuries that limit their ability to function normally.

While physical therapy is traditionally used for patients with underlying health conditions, it is also recommended for daily routines. Not only is it relaxing, but also therapeutic in soothing aches and making you feel better generally. 

The benefits of physical therapy:

Here are the benefits you’ll get in doing physical therapy:

  • Stretch and strengthen your muscles and joints
  • Promote recovery from or prevention of physical-related injuries
  • Help the fast recovery from surgery
  • Minimize age-related concerns like arthritis
  • Aid in the improvement of overall mobility and function
  • Help correct one’s posture

The home physical therapy exercises

Whether you are recovering from a medical condition or only interested in improving your mobility, there are easy physical therapy exercises you can perform at home. Here are some:

1. Standing March

For mobility

  • Stand near a stable support.
  • Start marching in place slowly for about 20-30 seconds.
  • You can change the pace as recommended by your Physical Therapist (PT).
  • You might even change the surface to march on, like from carpet to grass, cement, foam, etc.

2. Sidestepping

For flexibility and strength

  • Face a wall or countertop and place your hands on it for support.
  • Step sideways in one direction and have your toes pointed straight ahead.
  • Ensure your toes reach the end of the wall or counter.
  • Return to the original position.
  • As you progress, your PT might ask you to wear a resistance band around your knees or ankles.

3. Standing three-way kicks

For balance and strength

  • Stand on one leg and have your knee soft and unlocked.
  • Slowly raise your leg in front of you.
  • Keep your elevated leg straight as much as possible and then return to the center.
  • Raise the same leg to the side, extend, and return to the center.
  • Raise your leg behind your body and return it back down.
  • Repeat each way as much as you can.
  • Your PT might alter the difficulty of the home physical therapy exercise by ridding the supporting surface.

 4. One Leg Stand

For balance

  • Find a supporting surface near you and execute this exercise.
  • Stand on one leg for as long as you can; 30 seconds is fine.
  • Do the other leg and keep changing for up to five times.
  • Soon, you’ll be comfortable doing this without needing support.
  • You can then start doing other tasks while standing on one leg, like doing the dishes, cooking, using your phone, etc.

5. Sit to Stand and Stand to Sit

For strength

  • Sit on a chair and rise from it without needing any support.
  • If you find this difficult, put a firm pad on the seat to elevate you somehow.
  • Carefully sit back down on the chair without “dropping” yourself into it.
  • Try to rise out again without needing to push out on your arms.
  • Do this physical therapy exercise as many as you can.

6. Heel-to-Toe Standing and Walking

For balance

  • Stand and place one foot ahead of the other. The heel of the front foot should touch the toe of the back foot.
  • Keep this position for up to 30 seconds, or as long as you are comfortable.
  • Once this exercise is easy, you can start walking with this position—think you are walking on a rope.
  • Hold onto a support while walking.

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7. Hamstring Stretch

For flexibility

  • Lie on a flat surface.
  • Raise your left leg and lock your hands at the back of your left thigh.
  • Pull your knee close to the chest.
  • Keep your knee close to the chest and slowly extend your left knee until you feel a stretch at the back of your left thigh.
  • Don’t overstretch your knee if you are not comfortable; only do what’s comfortable to you.
  • Hold the position for 30-45 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise on your right leg.

8. Standing Hip Flexor

For flexibility

  • Place a bench or chair in front of you for support.
  • Stand facing the bench with feet point forward.
  • Raise your left foot and rest your foot on the bench. Ensure your foot rests past your knee to create a more than 90 degrees angle.
  • Gradually shift your weight toward the foot placed on the bench. Do this until you feel the front of your right hip and your right calf stretch.
  • Hold the position for 30-45 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercises on the other leg.

9. Straight Leg Raise

For strengthening

  • Lie down on a flat surface, bend your right knee, and keep the other leg straight.
  • Point your left toes onto the ceiling and slowly raise your left leg at about 45 degrees.
  • Keep your left knee straight.
  • Slowly lower your left leg back to the floor, and you will feel the front of your thighs work throughout the movement.
  • Repeat the exercise for 10-20 more times.
  • Do it on the other leg as well.

10. Bridge

For strengthening

  • Lie on a flat surface, bend your knees, place both feet near your buttocks in a hip-width apart.
  • Squeeze gluteal muscles as you slowly raise your pelvis.
  • Keep knees aligned over the ankles.
  • Hold this position for 3-5 seconds.
  • Then, slowly lower down your pelvis to return to the original position.
  • Repeat the exercise for 10-20 more times.

11. Cervical Retraction

For posture improvement

  • Stand or sit up straight on your chair.
  • Place both hands at the back of your head.
  • Keep your neck stable and start extending your upper back while squeezing shoulder blades down and back.
  • Hold the position for 1-2 seconds.
  • Slowly return to the original position.
  • Repeat the exercise ten more times.

12. Lumbar extension

For posture improvement

  • Stand up straight.
  • Put both hands on your lower back.
  • Slowly bend backward as much as you’re comfortable. Mind the arching of your lower back.
  • Hold the position for 1-2 seconds.
  • Slowly return to the original position.
  •  Repeat the exercises for ten times.

Aren’t they easy? These simple home physical therapy exercises guarantee to aid you in the improvement of your physical health. Want to dive deep into the wonderful benefits of physical therapy? Here are some online courses to take up:

Ready to perform some home physical therapy exercises? Click here to get started.

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