Rehabilitative Exercise

Rehabilitative exercise refers to a program of exercise which will allow an individual to return to work, or cope with daily living in terms of healing from specific injuries, restoring mobility and overall conditioning.  The word rehabilitative is based on Latin ‘habilitare’ meaning to enable or make fit.  Exercise is the physical exertion to improve fitness or health and is based on Latin root word ‘exercitare’ meaning to train.  Some individuals have been injured through accident or are dealing with chronic conditions.  Athletes want to better their performance or improve their training.  Rehabilitative exercise is the means to these objectives.  The underlying concept is that exercise plays a key role in the prevention of chronic disease and disability and the maintenance and enhancement of strength, mobility, fitness and overall health.

Rehabilitative exercise can address various situations and therefore can take various forms:

  • A kinesiologist or exercise therapist will do a movement assessment and testing and come up with solutions based on a clients’ physiology, biomechanics, anatomy and motor skills.  He or she will assess the body condition(s), the impact of any injury on body function and lifestyle and will help the client to understand how the body heals, how to prevent injury, and how to attain optimum health.  The therapist can outline a specific exercise program for the client.
  • A therapist can be certified as an athletic therapist who deals with assessment and treatment of acute injuries which are related to sports.
  • A therapist who may have training in kinesiology or physiotherapy but who specializes in work conditioning programs.  These programs are specifically tailored to clients who are trying to return to work and involve education in movement efficiency and pain management, cardio training, soft tissue manipulation, mobility restoration, simulation of work activities and exercise information.
  • A therapist may offer aquatic rehabilitation which is exercise done in the pool. The buoyancy of the water assists in supporting the weight of the client.  Stress on joints is greatly reduced and makes this therapy ideal for those dealing with arthritis, weight issues or have bone fractures that are healing.   Also the water’s viscosity offers great resistance without having to use weights.

There are centres focusing on exercise rehabilitation which integrate physiotherapy, kinesiology, massage therapy, athletic therapy, and neurophysiotherapy. An initial assessment is carried out followed by a treatment program which is based on the specific conditions of concern. A program of exercise will usually be prescribed both in the center’s gym as well as take-home exercises. Other physiotherapy centers approach exercise rehab through physiotherapy complemented by other modalities:  massage therapy,  yoga, pilates, acupuncture and shockwave therapy.

Specific Techniques