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The Most Common Physical Therapy Exercises and Who Might Benefit From Doing Them

at home physical therapy exercises

Are you looking for information on the most common physical therapy exercises? Do you wonder if they will benefit you?

There are many different types of physical therapy exercises that you might do during your recovery process, and not all of these activities will benefit everyone equally.

Therefore, it’s important to understand what kinds of exercise you should be doing and why those particular movements will help your body recover from injuries or illnesses.

We’ve created this guide with information about the most common physical therapy exercises and who might benefit from doing them.

Table of Contents

common physical therapy exercises

What Are Physical Therapy Exercises?

Physical therapy exercises can be defined as a series of actions that help to improve or maintain the function and mobility of one’s body.

Physical therapists will often prescribe these exercises to patients to give them more independence from their injury and/or illness by:

  • Strengthening core muscles 
  • Improving balance and stability 
  • Increasing range-of-motion, flexibility, and strength in the joints 
  • Reducing pain and stiffness

But what are some of the most common physical therapy exercises that you may do?

5 of the Most Common Physical Therapy Exercises Used Today

Physical therapy is all about helping people regain their mobility and independence as they recover from an injury or illness.

Physical therapists are experts in the body’s mechanics, so it makes sense that many common exercises, like the following, are based on these principles.

#1: Muscle-Strengthening Exercises

There’s a lot of emphasis on strengthening your muscles when attending physical therapy.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are integral to increasing functional strength and balance, which can lead to improved pain levels and fewer falls.

Here are some examples of the types of muscle-strengthening exercises that you may do with a physical therapist:

  • Exercises with weights
  • Exercises with elastic bands
  • Exercises using the patient’s body weight to provide resistance, such as squats and pushups

Who Benefits From These Physical Therapy Exercises?

Muscle-strengthening physical therapy exercises are important for people who have experienced an injury or illness that has caused them to lose some of their physical function.

Clients with…

  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain; or 
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome 

…can all benefit from these exercises.

It may also help prevent injuries and illnesses by strengthening the body’s muscles.

at home physical therapy exercises

#2: Coordination and Balance Exercises

Physical therapy is an excellent way to regain coordination and improve balance.

Physical therapists who integrate exercises for their clients may use some of the following activities as part of the rehabilitation process.

  • Single leg standing balance exercises 
  • Walking on a line or balance beam
  • Squatting with a chair on the balls of your feet

Who Benefits From These Physical Therapy Exercises?

Physical therapy exercises for coordination and balance can increase the strength of the muscles for athletes or someone who wants to maintain an active lifestyle.

Furthermore, many people who experience dizziness or vertigo find relief from their symptoms after undergoing this type of physical therapy regimen.

If you suffer from any one of these symptoms — or even if they just make your day-to-day life more difficult — it’s worth considering what coordinating and balance physical therapy exercises might do for you.

#3: Ambulation Exercises

Ambulation in physical therapy refers to walking, which can be done with crutches, a walker, a cane, or by oneself.

If you have difficulties walking, a physical therapist can help you improve your mobility by using a variety of ambulation exercises, such as:

  • Walking 
  • Jogging 
  • Stair climbing 
  • Side-stepping (sideways) 
  • Shuffle walking (walking backward)

Who Benefits From These Physical Therapy Exercises?

Ambulation exercises are important activities for those who need to exercise muscles that have been immobilized and often cause;

  • Stiffness 
  • Aches; and 
  • Pain

Physical therapists may also recommend these exercises to help promote joint health by increasing blood flow within the body.

For example, after an orthopedic surgery such as a hip replacement or knee repair, ambulation exercises may be used for patients who need to walk on their own at regular intervals throughout each day to aid recovery from these procedures.

#4: Range-of-Motion Exercises

Range-of-motion exercises are a vital part of physical therapy.

These exercises work to increase the range of motion within your joints and help you recover from injuries and chronic pain.

The following is an example list of physical therapy exercises that your physical therapist might suggest:

  • Hamstring stretch 
  • Straight-leg raise 
  • Supine hip extension 
  • Prone knee-to-chest exercise 
  • Lying hip flexion with pelvic tilt and rotation

It is important that you follow your physical therapist’s instructions exactly as they are given, to avoid injury or worsening an existing condition.

Have questions or need help? Click below for a free consultation with our caring professionals at In Motion O.C.

Who Benefits From These Physical Therapy Exercises?

Physical therapy is often a treatment option for people who have sustained an injury.

Physical therapists help patients regain range-of-motion in their joints and muscles by using exercises designed to promote healing, increase flexibility, and prevent injuries from reoccurring.

If you need help with restoring your joints’ normal movement and to lessen pain, you could benefit from range-of-motion exercises.

#5: Conditioning Exercises

Many of our patients come to us with a specific condition or injury.

Whether it is an ACL tear, rotator cuff injury, hip replacement surgery (or any other number of conditions), conditioning exercises in physical therapy can be instrumental in the recovery process.

What exercises are commonly used in physical therapy?

Some examples include the following:

  • Lateral and side lunges
  • Water aerobics
  • Step-ups
  • Squats

You can get faster results with physical therapists who provide you with conditioning exercises that will strengthen your muscles and keep them safe while your muscles are healing.

Who Benefits From These Physical Therapy Exercises?

Conditioning exercises are designed to be used in conjunction with strengthening and stretching.

Some people may benefit from this type of exercise because they have restrictions on their range of motion due to injury or other conditions like arthritis.

Conditional exercises can also be helpful for those who want to maintain mobility as they age, but don’t currently have any injuries or limitations in their range of motion.

In Motion O.C. offers many different types of exercise programs to meet your needs and goals including;

  • Strength
  • Coordination
  • Conditioning exercises;
  • And more.

Click below to contact us today and find out which physical therapy exercises are best for you.

Should You Do Physical Therapy Exercises Every Day?

No. It’s important to avoid over-exercising even though it might be tempting. Your muscles need time to recover and grow from physical therapy — just like when you’re working out.

If you have been diagnosed with a physical therapy condition such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a rotator cuff injury then the last thing you want to do is aggravate your symptoms by doing at-home physical therapy exercises that could cause more pain.

It may seem counterintuitive but exercising too much can make your condition worse.

Therefore, it is important to comply with your physical therapist’s recommendations to be safe.

physical therapy exercises

How Often Should You Do Physical Therapy Exercises?

Physical therapy exercises are a crucial part of the physical therapy process. They help patients recover from injuries and return to their daily activities as quickly as possible.

Some of the questions that new physical therapy clients often ask are:

  • How often should I do my exercises? 
  • What is not enough? 
  • What is too much?

The answer depends on your injury, but typically you should do them 3-5 times per week for at least 2-3 weeks after your physical therapist prescribes your individualized plan.

If you have any questions about which exercises to do or how to modify an exercise correctly, feel free to contact us today.

The #1 Clinic In America – In Motion O.C. Can Help With Your Rehabilitation and Recovery

In Motion O.C. is the #1 clinic in America, specializing in physical therapy and fitness for all ages. We have helped our clients with their health, rehabilitation, and recovery since 2003.

Our team of experts can work with you to:

  • Get back on track after an injury or surgery
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Offer treatments that are tailored to each individual’s needs
  • Help you return to your normal life as quickly as possible, whether it be returning to work or playing sports again. 

If you’re looking for a place where you’ll feel at home during your recovery process, we’re here for you. Click below to find out more.

In Motion O.C.