Whether you have had a stroke, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injury, studies have shown that not every rehabilitation regimen is the same. Some training schedules simply work better than others! Today, we are going to go over 3 basic things your rehabilitation regimen needs to include in order to maximize your recovery.
1. Lots of Repetition
Repetition, repetition, repetition. You’ve heard us say it before, but we can’t say it enough! The more you repeat an exercise, the faster your motor skills will improve. Repetition drives recovery because it is the only way your brain can relearn movement through brain plasticity. So rather than struggling through difficult exercises that take a long time to complete, create a regimen with exercises you can repeat over and over again in a short time. We promise you’ll see results.
2. A Little Variety
Variety is the spice of life, and adding a little variety to your preexisting rehabilitation regimen can go a long way towards improving your recovery. First you want to make sure your regimen includes more than one type of exercise. Even though it might seem more difficult to switch from one thing to another, this variation keeps the brain engaged and increases retention. But don’t try to do too much! If you jam too many different exercises into one regimen, you won’t spend enough time practicing each one. A good rule of thumb is to include 3 new exercises for every 5 minutes in your regimen.
Another way to add variety is to change up the order you do your exercises in. If you normally do shoulder exercises before elbow exercises, try switching them up. Or even better, flip a coin! If its heads, do a shoulder exercise, and if its tails, do an elbow exercise. This randomness will prevent your brain from zoning out, and will force you to focus your attention on every repetition you perform.
Is this all starting to sound like a lot? Don’t sweat. Research has shown that taking breaks actually helps improve learning! You need to give your brain time to rest and absorb all the stimulation you are giving it during exercise. This will also prevent you from getting burnt out, making sure you get the most out of every repetition you perform. A good rehabilitation regimen needs to include scheduled breaks to be most effective.
Are you already including repetition, variety, and rest in your rehabilitation regimen? Drop us a comment below if you have any advice you’d like to share with our community!