If you’re currently in a rehabilitation program to recover from an injury, you may be starting to think about how to keep your progress going over the Christmas break. For various reasons it may be hard to access your usual programs over Christmas, either because of business closures or because of personal travel during this time.

Here are some tips to ensure you keep improving your strength and fitness over the Christmas break:

  • Ask your providers now whether they will close over Christmas and how long they will be closed for.
  • Talk to your physio / exercise physiologist about an exercise program you can do at home to keep your progress going through the break. Think of what would be the best way for you to remember the exercises – you could write them down or even film them on your phone.
  • If you usually do weights at the gym and don’t have access to these at home, you can substitute various sized bottles and fill with water – 1L water = 1 kg.
  • Simply stay active! While specific exercises targeted at your injury are useful, a lot of research has found non-specific exercise to be effective in rehabilitation and pain reduction. This involves activities that incorporate the full body such as walking, hiking, running, cycling, swimming, dance, boxing, circuit classes, Pilates, the list is endless. Do approach this with caution, for example you may not want to do boxing three weeks after a shoulder surgery, but instead going for regular walks could provide some light movement to prevent shoulder pain and stiffness. Discuss with your health provider what some safe general exercise options could be for you!
  • If you are usually doing a hydrotherapy program and your hydro pool has closed, you may be able to access other pools that are open through this time to do a modified program on your own. Ask your hydro provider to help you put together a program you can do independently.
  • Set a reminder on your phone/calendar to remind you to do your exercises regularly if your routine is changed over Christmas.
  • Have a family member or friend either join you or keep you accountable – tell them specifically what exercise(s) you intend to do and how often.

Do what you can but also don’t forget to chill out, have some fun, spend some quality time with friends and family, and schedule some me-time. You’re allowed to let your rehab slip a little for a week or two and come back refreshed, just be ready to ease back into it in the New Year – taking that one step back at first will have you moving forward much sooner.

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