In April 2023, I took the decision to go ahead with a surgery that I was contemplating for almost a decade. I knew as a physical therapist and as an active adult that I needed to do everything that I could to recover well and fast. One of the things was sticking to a pre-surgery exercises program. Here’s some of the tricks and tips that help me on my journey with an exercises program:
Short term goal
I set myself a goal for the next month and set a frequency that I wanted to do. For April 2023, I wanted to do 5x/week my 6 exercises prescribed by a physical therapist. After that, I revised my goal every 3-4 weeks with them until my surgery in September.
Most musculoskeletal injuries require exercises on the short to mid-term. Allow yourself to find a vision that makes you want to push yourself.
Life is pretty and it can get busy! I knew that if I waited at the end of the day, those exercises would not be done in a month. I developed the strategy of blocking a 15-minutes time slot in the middle of my day in order to do the exercises during my workday. Not only did it give me a sense of accomplishment in the middle of my day, but it allowed me to reduce the stress after work to do my exercises.
Be creative with your schedule and find a conventional or not conventional way to do your exercises.
From day one, I look to find positive sensations that I had while I was doing my exercises and after doing my exercises. During, I felt stronger and less unstable and after I felt less pain around my shoulder blade.
Exercises can be associated with discomfort, and they sure can be hard! Find sensation or positive things that you can always think about when you find less motivation to do your exercises.
10-15 minutes was the maximum duration I could see myself doing exercises every day. I was not able to complete all my exercises in one day, so I divided my exercises into 2 days.
It is important to find realistic goals according to your schedule, your motivation, your energy, and your equipment.
I made myself a calendar where I could put a “X” on every day that I did my exercises. I felt like a kid that received stickers everytime I put an X on my calendar.
Extrinsic motivation is also a way to cultivate your energy and accomplish your goal. Don’t be afraid to create systems or tools to find your way to get to your exercises program.
As a physical therapist, I knew I could find the exercises myself. Instead, I saw Sarah and Marie-Michelle to help me find new exercises than the one I knew already. I saw them at different intervals to create a sensation of novelty when my motivation was less high.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. Those discussions and education sessions are often a great source of motivation.