Have you hit your 1,000 reps today?
I had the pleasure of attending a workshop last week, hosted by Bankstown hospital, which focused on strategies to increase intensity of practise in rehabilitation.
The benefits of exercise are extensive, with a positive impact on musculoskeletal health, decreased pain, improved bone density, improved mental health, improved functional mobility to name but a few.
They presented recent evidence that to become a ‘master’ of a skill, such as a musician, athlete or chess players a commitment of 10,000 hours of practise is needed, translating to 4 hours a day, 5 days a week for 10 years. “It seems it takes the brain this long to assimilate all it needs to know to achieve true mastery’ (Daniel Levitin).
The impact of a neurological event such as a Stroke, can take away a stroke survivors ability to walk and complete everyday activities, finding themselves back at step one of the ‘master’ stage of these activities. The road of rehabilitation usually starts within the hospital system via the acute and rehabilitation wards. Current observational studies within these institutions have found the total therapy time averages 78 minutes, or 16% of a stroke survivor’s therapeutic day. The numbers aren’t good, as it would take 80 years to accumulate 10,000 hours of practise at this rate.
As therapists, we want to help you achieve your goals as soon as feasible possible, but with all great gains needs to come great commitment. We need to drive neuroplasticity and our brain needs the repetition, with 300 daily task repetitions being linked to significant functional gains in that specific task.
Strategies to achieve these repetition targets include:
- External feedback focus, such as daily targets.
- Use of devices to record achievements, examples such as Fitness bands, pedometers, diaries.
- Structuring the environment, such as setting up workstations in your home.
- Practise variability.
- Involvement in a fun class or supportive group setting.
- Goal setting and celebration when the smaller goals along the way are achieved.
- Use of technology as appropriate, such as iPad video’s of your exercise program for independent practise, use of Wii Fit boards.
- A great Health Coach, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable rehabilitation therapist.
Imagine what could be achieved if we committed the time and effort? The brain is ready, are you?