A key strategy to ward off that dreaded plateau — that point of flatlining improvement everyone hates — is to vary your routine.
Variety?! But my routine knows not that word! In fact, that is exactly the opposite of routine!
Not if you don’t let it. What I do is have my physical therapist write me a new full-body program every eight times I’ve gone through one. Now, this tip is clearly aimed at people farther along in their rehab, where independent and/or more advanced techniques are part of their daily gig (because earlier on, your rehab is more or less guided completely by your therapists).
If you keep your body guessing, you’ll keep it on track rather than getting bored with the same-old, same-old.
An easy way to implement a regular mix-up? On a drizzly day you feel too sluggish to hit the gym yet feel guilty for playing hooky (um, like today, for me), stay in and pop in an exercise video or DVD. I’ve got them all: yoga, dance, capoeira, Bosu Ball, Bender Ball, pilates. (Apparently, there’s a whole rehab aspect to pilates that I’ve never officially tried with a practitioner before, but I’ll definitely get more information on that for you.)
Sometimes in place of the torso curls or reverse torso curls and side bends in my program, I’ll skip it at the gym and replace them with a session of as-seen-on-TV Bender Ball abdominal exercises. It seems, anyway, that the regular exercises pay off because doing a routine from a DVD once (usually when I first get it) and then again later (on an “off day”) I almost always notice a significant change in how easy or challenging the activity is.
Alternatively, dedicate an hour to Wii Fit (Plus) or Wii Active if you have a Wii. As long as you’ve got instruction somehow — whether it be a friend, family member, or television screen, you’ll have something or someone to follow and a way to change up what you’ve been doing.
I find there are often workout infomercials on TV advertising the latest breakthrough in fitness history — they might be too hardcore for the time being, so use your judgment. If it looks reasonable (it typically won’t, given none of these programs are put together for the disabled), you might want to try it out.
Magazines like Glamour and Women’s Health often publish articles with exercise suggestions. I’d bring them along to sessions with a PT and ask which exercises may be appropriate for you and try them at home when you want to vary it up a bit.
If you’ve got a Netflix account, do what a girl I know does and order a new workout flick every week or so — since you’re paying for DVD rentals anyway, why not let one of them be a fitness piece? And since you’ll be trying out different routines on a regular basis, your body won’t have a chance to plateau — score!!
To our healing,