Lame Excuses for Not Doing Your PT Home Exercises

Did You Do Your Home Exercise Program?

Senior couple holding hands and walking in park
Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images

If you have ever been a patient in physical therapy, then you know that physical therapists like to use exercise to help you gain range of motion (ROM), strength, and functional mobility. Most rehab programs consist of specific exercises in the PT clinic coupled with a home exercise program (HEP). The home program typically consists of exercises that you are to perform at regular intervals throughout your day or week.

Should you do your home program? Is it really important? If you don't do your home exercise program, will you get in trouble with your physical therapist? And what should you tell your PT if you don't do your home program?

Here is a list of the lamest excuses that patients give for not performing the home exercise program that has been prescribed by their physical therapist.

I Lost the Paper with My Home Exercise Program on It

I lost my homework.
Did you lose the paper with your home exercise program?. John Slater/Getty Images

When your physical therapist prescribes exercises for you to do at home, he or she will likely write them down for you. You may get a piece of paper with pictures of your specific exercises, or your PT may use a computer program, like HEP2Go, to send you your exercises via email or text.

If you lose your home exercise sheet, that is no excuse for not trying to perform your home program. Simply do your best to remember your exercises, or call your PT clinic and ask for a copy to be sent to you.

Bonus lame excuse: The dog at my home exercise program.

I Ran Out of Time During the Day

Businessman in a suit looking at watch while doing yoga.
Make time for doing your PT home exercise program. Neil Webb/Getty Images

Everyone is busy these days. Work, friends, family, and recreational activities leave little time for squeezing in a few repetitions of shoulder exercises or exercises for your low back pain. There just isn't enough time, right?

But wait, didn't you make time this morning to brush your teeth?  And won't you make time tonight to brush them again because you know that brushing will help prevent dental caries?

You should also make time for performing your home exercise program. Think of it in terms of brushing your teeth; time is set aside for this healthy activity. You can set aside a few minutes to do your home exercises.

I'm Feeling Better So I Do Not Need to Exercise

Woman exercising and feeling good.
If your HEP makes you feel better, keep doing it. Mike Kemp/Getty Images

Your physical therapy program may be so effective that you realize rapid improvement in your condition. When that happens, you should just stop your home exercise program, right?

Wrong. Your physical therapist has prescribed your home exercise program to help treat your current condition, but the exercises may also be useful to help prevent future problems with your condition.

Bottom line: keep doing your HEP until your physical therapist tells you to stop.

I'm Not Dressed in My Exercise Clothes and I Don't Want to Change

People wearing suits exercising.
Can you do your home exercise program in a suit?. Cultura RM/Marcus Lund/Getty Images

If you dress in a suit and tie for work or if you enjoy lounging around the house in your favorite pair of jeans (you know the ones that fit just right), you may not feel like you are dressed appropriately to do your home exercise program. This makes sense, but many PT exercises are pretty simple and can be accomplished wearing street or work clothes.

You will likely be able to move better wearing workout clothes for your home exercises, so take the time to change out of your casual and work clothes for your exercises. You'll feel better doing it, and you'll make your PT happy.

I Don't Have a PT Appointment Until Next Week

Circling a date on the calendar.
Even if your PT appointment isn't until next week, don't wait to do your HEP. Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

Your HEP is not homework, and there is no cramming for an imaginary rehab test that may occur during your next PT session. If your next PT appointment isn't until next week, you should still do your home program at the frequency that your physical therapist prescribed. It doesn't make sense to half-heartedly try the exercises the night before your PT session just so you feel less guilt about skipping out on your HEP. You're only cheating yourself.

I'm Lazy

Man sleeping in a canoe.
Are you feeling too lazy to do your HEP?. Westend 61/Getty Images

Your physical therapy HEP was designed to help you move better and feel better. Your physical therapist prescribed your exercises to help you return to your normal functional mobility, and you owe it to yourself to put your best effort in when performing your exercises.

The "I'm lazy" excuse is quite possibly the lamest of all the lame excuses for not doing your HEP. Plus, you may just feel invigorated after doing your home exercises. Drop the lazy lifestyle and give your exercises a try!

Remember, your home exercise program is an integral part of your rehab program. So quit making excuses and start doing your home exercises.