The Issue Of Exercise Compliance Or A Lack Thereof

The Issue Of Exercise Compliance Or A Lack Thereof

The Myth Of Exercise Compliance

Here at Sydney Physio Clinic, we often prescribe exercises to patients only to see them a week later to find out that the patient hasn’t done any of them. The question is: Why don’t patients do their rehab prescribed to them?

From my own perspective (having had three knee reconstructions, probably because I didn’t do enough of my prescribed exercises) I have personally felt all of the below listed constraints. In an interesting turn of events, I am working for a physio. He prescribes me my rehab exercises and I feel tearable (get it?) that I still can’t straighten my leg fully because I haven’t been doing my exercises. Unfortunately, I see him every day and there I am, smiling, working, but definitely not doing my physio exercises. One of my main qualms is that I don’t have enough time. Another issue is that the exercises hurt, and they’re boring, and they’re repetitive. I also hate not being able to run at my maximum capacity and that my stupid body doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. Interestingly, the main reasons why patients don’t comply with their exercise regimes, echo my own restraints.

The Four Influences Of Exercise Compliance

Studies with exercise compliance have identified four reasons for non-compliance:

  • First of all, time constraints are an issue. You’ve already had the surgery, can’t your body just do what it’s supposed to and you can just keep on kicking? Unfortunately not, it takes sometimes 2- 12 months of intensive rehab and doing your prescribed exercises to get your body to even 99% of it’s normal capacity. Sorry, not sorry to tell you. A lack of time is one of the most common reasons patients can’t perform their physio exercises. Stay tuned for our next article about some ways to juggle the time constraints preventing rehab exercises.
  • Patients also often underestimate the severity of their symptoms/ issues and don’t release that the physio exercises prescribed are there to help rather than hinder. Even though they are painful, frustrating, repetitive and dull, they are aimed at decreasing pain, alleviating symptoms, increasing strength and minimizing potential reinjury or arthritis.
  • Some studies have also shown that often injury and pain can affect patients own self-perception and identity. Often patients can experience feelings of under confidence and frustration that their pain and injury has interrupted their lives. They feel that their bodies are ‘letting them down’, particularly if they’ve fallen over. This can often shape people’s perceptions of themselves, their esteem and even their identity. This can also often result in one slapping themselves on their wasted leg and shouting: “Work why can’t you?!” Or maybe that’s just me. We need to remember that our bodies are precious and we need to do whatever we can to strengthen and look after it, even though it is frustrating and annoying that our bodies just don’t work like they’re supposed to. Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, why can’t you just work, work work work work? A song written by me ft. Rihanna.
  • Another barrier can often be that a patient can have difficulty remembering the exercises they have to do. These brief descriptions on a piece of paper can often be confusing, I myself often forget the difference between a bicep dip, a tricep dip and a sweet potato and cashew dip. If you have any difficulty remembering how to do your exercises or which ones to do, feel free to email us at

Sydney Physio Clinic We’re Here To Help

Overall, if you have any issues with doing your physio exercises, or any issues with compliance, feel free to give us a call on 0292232502 or shoot us an email, we are always happy to help. For more tips on how to juggle these constraints, feel free to check out our article:
PS. After having written both of these articles I have stepped up (literally) my rehab exercises ad have sought more means to incorporate them into my every day routine.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on The Issue Of Exercise Compliance Or A Lack Thereof should consult his or her physiotherapist or perhaps their mother to nag them.