The three to six month period during ACL rehab is the hard slog. By this point, your knee is feeling great, you’re getting stronger, you have returned to running, and feeling normal again. The downside – you’re told you can’t play sport for another six months.
ACL rehabilitation does take patience and there will be times when motivation wanes, especially when life, school or work gets busy; you take a holiday or winter hits and you just don’t want to train outside. As important as it is to have an end goal, such as returning to sport, you really do need to set lots of little goals along the way to ensure you stay motivated.
Strength and neuromuscular training requires time, focus and consistency. Our top tips to stay motivated during ACL rehab are:
- Establish small goals, such as a weight goal for squats in the gym, or improve your 200m/2km/5km run time.
- Set a mini-milestone, sign up for a fun run.
- Find a workout buddy to keep you accountable.
- Talk to your physio and find ways to spice up your training program. It can be as easy as changing up your gym routine.
- Try cross training – with guidance from your physio. Yoga or rock climbing anyone?
- Have your rehab plan written down on paper and tick off sessions like a ‘to do’ list.
- Create a vision board of motivational quotes and pictures of the goals or sport you’re working towards.
- Update your music playlist.
- Watch a motivational sports movie or documentary.
- Have a day or week off training if you need to take your mind completely away from rehab. Refocus and start fresh the next day or week.
By Kate Da Silva, Physiotherapist at SportsCare and Physiotherapy Barton & Bruce.