Fitness and Physical Therapy: Essential Recovery Equipment

Apr 30, 2015

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

by Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

When recovering from surgery or injury, it is important to remember to rest and allow time for healing. Once you’ve recovered sufficiently, it would be beneficial to begin a good fitness and physical therapy program. Our experts at Foothills will show you the proper movements and help you start a healthy exercise program. To stay on track, here are some essential gym pieces for at-home exercises between physical therapy sessions:
Exercise Mat
Any activity where your body is close to the ground should include an exercise mat. Whether you are building your core with Pilates, or functional exercises, using a mat will give you cushion and traction. Unlike a hard, slippery wood floor, a mat will provide a proper space to exercise outside a rehab facility or gym.
With any piece of equipment, consider investing in the right one for you. If you intend to build up core strength with Pilates or stretch doing yoga, buy a “sticky” non-slip mat that offers more traction. For functional exercises that may involve more lying down or timed reps, consider getting a fitness mat that has more cushion. While fitness mats with a lot of cushion are bad for yoga and Pilates, they are better suited for those who need more support and reduce impacts on elbow and knee joints.
The cost of an exercise mat can range anywhere from $20 to $50. The cost will vary depending on the size, thickness of cushion, and cosmetic features like color, design and inclusion of carrying straps.
Resistance Bands
The best part about resistance bands is that they can be taken everywhere and the exercises can be performed almost anywhere! Resistance bands are most commonly used for stretching and recovery of muscles. Once your physical therapist has approved you for the use of resistance bands, consider investing in a set of resistance bands, loops or straps.
Resistance bands can be found in a range of sizes and strengths. From light to heavy-duty, the assortment of straps and cords is endless. The varying sizes and stretch range allows users to slowly increase resistance over time. With features like handles and cuffs, resistance bands have a very wide range in price. Talk with your physical fitness instructor to see which would work best with your prescribed exercise program.
Dumbbells
To improve range of motion and build muscle strength, dumbbells are used in physical therapy and fitness programs. With the help of a physical therapist you can learn which muscles to target when using dumbbells and learn proper techniques to avoid strain or further injury.
Dumbbells come in all weights, materials and sizes. Consult a physical therapist or FAST trainer first before purchasing a set of your own. When buying weights, get a feel for the grips, the weight and the size. Find the best ones for your workout, body and exercise space. Prices range from $10 to $100 depending on quantity, material and weight.
Box, Step or Bench
Consider investing in a sturdy box or bench for your fitness. A bench can be used for plyometric exercises. Jumping up with both knees bent, onto the bench for conditioning muscles. A box can also be used to increase the intensity on lateral exercises.
If you are still in recovery from a surgery or intense injury, check with your physical therapist before beginning high impact exercises. Consider using a bench or box to lessen the impact of push-ups by using them to raise the height of where your hands rest with push-ups. You can also lunge using a bench so your leg doesn’t have to stretch as far. These exercises, with the training of a professional, can ease you back into an active lifestyle.
Depending on the height and material, exercise benches can be purchased anywhere from $30 to $100 dollars.
When you’re in recovery, your physical therapist will constantly work with you to improve your mobility. When you are exercising at home, it can be hard to know your boundaries. Always ask your health professional before picking up a new piece of equipment. With the continued dedication to fitness and physical therapy and the following of an exercise program, you can quickly return to your favorite activities.
Ask our physical therapy experts at Foothills Rehab how you can incorporate equipment into your recovery workout and schedule an appointment today! To learn more about physical therapy, recovery, and what our certified professionals can do for you, check out our Foothills blog.

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