5 Totally Free Home Exercise Programs To Use With Your Patients
This post was originally published August 23, 2016 and updated on April 6, 2019.
How many times have you wished your job had pre-printed, free home exercise program handouts?
If you aren’t one of the lucky OT practitioners that has easy to access HEP handouts, this list is for you!
There are overwhelming amounts of search results on Google, so I narrowed down the best FREE online home exercise program resources. These are not only easy to access but are also perfect for sharing with your patients.
HEP2Go is the fan favorite of free online home exercise programs – and for good reason.
It has exercises for multiple disciplines, ranging from OT’s and COTA’s to PT’s/PTA’s, athletic trainers, chiropractors and orthopedic physicians.
Not only does it have the basic exercises you would imagine – like upper body, lower body and core exercises – but also the functional handouts like tub transfer training and grab bar placement handouts. There is also information about modalities, vestibular exercises, weightbearing, balance exercises, and more.
HEP2Go is great for the cash-strapped fieldwork student or new OT grad that can’t yet purchase the paid options, but still needs to be able to print out guides for patients.
Having discovered it myself after I started working, I really wish I knew about this during my level II fieldwork. It would’ve saved me a LOT of time combing through articles and texts for exercises and intervention ideas.
One of my other top favorite options for free HEP’s is the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s free online content library. They’ve created an amazing topic page solely dedicated to free Occupational Therapy resources and handouts.
The resources on this topic page cover pretty much everything you could think of related to educating your patients, and include so much more than just exercises.
With 111 pages of resources just on the Occupational Therapy page, you’ll be sure to find the exercise or educational handout you’re looking for.
Just a few examples include: seated wheelchair exercises, tendon glides, self range of motion exercises, tenodesis grip exercises, and more.
This resource is also fantastic for non-exercise related topics too, like one-handed dressing techniques, energy conservation, scar massage and positioning (just to name a few).
You’ll definitely want to bookmark this site for any future handouts you may need for your patients. Another bonus is that you don’t need to log in, so you can very quickly access and print out the handouts you need without taking much time out of your busy day.
If you were born after 1980, you may be thinking “Pinterest…that’s a no-brainer!”
Surprisingly, not every occupational therapist uses Pinterest for OT-related topics, so I felt the need to share how great it is for finding home exercise programs as well as intervention ideas.
For those of you who aren’t using Pinterest, all you need to do is create a free account and simply start searching for “occupational therapy home exercise programs,” “Theraputty hand exercises,” “older adult home exercises,” and so on for a solid amount of resources from multiple sources.
Basically whatever you’re looking for, Pinterest most likely has pins that will take you to relevant websites with the articles on your topics.
Just try not to get too distracted by the amazing recipes that might pop up on your feed 🙂
No matter what country you live in, the UK National Health Service (NHS) Health and Fitness page has many great free home exercise programs.
They have a specific program for older adults, titled “Exercises for Older People.” The program includes images and easy to follow instructions for flexibility, strength, balance, and sitting exercises.
The NHS also has many other informational pages discussing stretching, walking, and specific exercise programs for wheelchair-bound individuals with new or prior disabilities.
The Livestrong Foundation also has quite a bit of free information on occupational therapy exercises for various conditions, including, but not limited, to stroke, diabetes, cardiac conditions, and arthritis.
It doesn’t have as many images, detail or easy-to-print handouts, but does have helpful information on the site for your patients to skim through during their downtime.
Just a few articles that I’ve found related to OT are “Occupational Therapy Home Exercise Programs,” “Occupational Therapy Activity Ideas for CVA,” and “Activities to Improve Upper Body Strength in Occupational Therapy for Adults.”
There are quite a few more home exercises and healthy lifestyle articles on the Livestrong site than that, so have fun and poke around to see what else you’ll find.
This concludes our list of five free home exercise program resources. I hope this list helped you find some some solid handouts for your patients without breaking the bank!
If you have any other favorite free resources that are not on this list, please share them in the comments below!