It is scientifically proven that physical activity is included in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases of all kinds: cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, neurological and even depression, stress and anxiety. Thus, exercise becomes the first tool for solving or reducing the problems caused by bad habits or these chronic diseases.
According to the WHO, if a middle-aged person does 30 minutes of intense exercise 5 days a week, he can get around twenty different benefits. If, in addition, this training is carried out according to a programme of exercises that is guided and measured by a physiotherapist, the benefits are multiplied.
Benefits of therapeutic exercise:
- Improves physical function.
- Increases cardiorespiratory capacity.
- Improves symptoms in cancer patients.
- Prevents and treats pelvic floor pathologies.
- Reduces chronic pain.
- Reduces the need for medication in patients with depression by up to 50%.
- Helps to acquire good postural habits.
- Increases strength, preventing injuries.
- Eliminates or reduces joint, muscle and ligament pain.
- In many cases, it avoids the need for surgery.
What factors should we take into account when designing an exercise programme?
When designing a therapeutic exercise programme, the physiotherapist must take into account the factors that maintain or contribute to the person's health problem. These can be very varied, ranging from how the patient’s lives, leisure time, sports activities and profession.
The most important, because of their influence on treatment outcomes, include:
- The phase of rehabilitation the patient is in.
- The patient's motivation.
- The level of communication between patient and physiotherapist.
- possibilities in the home environment
- functional problems
- medical history
- activity level
- Aim of therapy.
- Factors contributing to or maintaining the patient's problem: sedentary lifestyle, bad habits, stress...
- Other life circumstances.
- Exercise framework.
- Measurement of progression/regression.
Relationship between therapeutic exercise and adherence
Therapeutic adherence means that patients have to change their behaviour and lifestyle to achieve results. When it comes to therapeutic rehabilitation exercises at home, their low level or lack thereof is a problem. The reasons for this are multifactorial, encompassing both psychological and situational elements, which vary from patient to patient and must be considered in the design of the exercise programme.
Providing this therapeutic training at home is one of the fundamental aspects of physiotherapy. Patients who adhere to prescribed exercises achieve significantly improved goals and demonstrate greater gains in physical function. Poor adherence increases the risk of recurrent injuries or flare-ups with long-term negative outcomes.
The use of new technologies for physiotherapy treatments
In an age of rapid technological advances, physiotherapy is always looking for new ways to improve patient care. With the right digital tools, adherence to therapy is easier for patients, some health apps even motivate them to complete treatment with gamification strategies that help them experience faster recovery.
Telerehabilitation has been shown to achieve 85% treatment adherence and 30% more clinical improvement compared to traditional treatments.
For professionals, the use of technology facilitates the follow-up, monitoring and progress of the therapeutic treatment. Along these lines, the ReHub platform has a library of predefined and clinically validated exercises, which allows the physiotherapist to create a scheduled therapeutic exercise programme for the patient in less than a minute. In addition, it allows the inclusion of exercises created by the specialist himself, which allows personalisation of the treatment.
Follow-up of the telerehabilitation patient
By keeping open lines of communication between patients and professionals is key in a successful rehabilitation, providing security for both parties. For this reason, ReHub allows the professional to help resolve patients' doubts about their treatment via chat or video call, giving them greater confidence. In many cases, patients are older and often find it more difficult to familiarize themselves with the digital world, so ongoing communication will play a key role in their recovery and adaptation to this new way of working.
Patients and professionals are notified about exercise reminders, reading chat messages, reduced compliance with the programme, etc.