Goals of Therapeutic Exercise

Previously Published on Medscape


What should you expect from therapeutic exercise? (italicized bits are my own additions-rehabdeb)

Therapeutic exercise should…

  • Enable ambulation (or bring about improvements from baseline status)
  • Release contracted muscles, tendons, and fascia
  • Mobilize joints
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve respiratory capacity
  • Improve coordination
  • Reduce rigidity
  • Improve balance
  • Promote relaxation
  • Improve muscle strength and, if possible, achieve and maintain maximal voluntary contractile force (MVC)
  • Improve exercise performance and functional capacity (endurance)

The last 2 goals mirror an individual’s overall physical fitness, characterized by good muscle strength combined with good endurance.

No matter which types of exercise may be needed initially and are applied to remedy a patient’s specific condition, the final goal of rehabilitation is to achieve, whenever possible, an optimal level of physical fitness by the end of the treatment regimen.

Medscape, Feb., 2012

All of my rehabilitation programs produce the above results, I’m stoked to say!

Formerly paralyzed Sully the Great Dane walking around the block demonstrating benefits of therapeutic exercise
Formerly paralyzed Sully the Great Dane walking around the block.

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