6 Totally Free Home Exercise Programs To Use With Your Patients
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 that may or may not even be relevant to you, 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 #1 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 includes 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 any frugal OT or student that doesn’t necessary want to deal with the paid options out there, 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 textbooks for exercises and intervention ideas.
2. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
An old favorite of mine includes the HEP handouts from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s free online content library. However, since writing this article back in 2016, they’ve since removed their amazing Occupational Therapy topic page that had pretty much everything an OT needed to provide quality patient education through exercises as well as educational handouts. If anyone working for Ohio State’s site is reading this, PLEASE bring this back! It was so helpful for so many practitioners!
While they’ve gotten rid of that fabulous resource, you can still find many helpful handouts by visiting their search page and using the search bar for “exercise” or for the exact topic you need in the search bar.
Some examples of exercise handouts that you can find include balance exercises, stretching, sitting conditioning exercises, various TheraBand exercises, upper body exercises, and more. It takes a bit more digging to find what you need now, but since I do love the handouts I’m keeping this resource on here for now.
A plus of this site is that you don’t need to a log-in to get the handouts, so you can quickly access and print them out without worrying about logging in.
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 🙂
4. The UK National Health Service
No matter what country you live in, the UK National Health Service (NHS) Health and Fitness page has many great free home exercise programs.
Along with a variety of exercises like sitting, strength, balance and flexibility 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.
5. The Livestrong Foundation
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:
- Occupational Therapy Home Exercise Programs
- Occupational Therapy Activity Ideas for CVA
- 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.
6. TheraBand Academy
Thanks to My OT Spot reader Michelle Ajram for sharing TheraBand Academy which is a great free resource! We all know TheraBands and likely already use them in our practice, but did you know TheraBand offers a free online resource with a plethora of TheraBand exercises targeting any body part you need?
You do need to create a free account to register, but it’s well worth having a wide variety of applicable exercises for the body part you want to address.
This concludes our list of the best free home exercise programs and 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!
This post was originally published August 23, 2016 and updated on April 6, 2019 and January 31, 2022.
I had used a site called Theraband Academy for resistance band and tubing exercises that I thought were very good. Have not been on and not sure if it is still free.
Thanks, Michelle! It looks like that site is still active and just requires a login to access the exercises. It appears to have a lot of different exercises and resources.
Hi! I can’t seem to find the Ohio State pdfs. Maybe I’m looking on the wrong link? I remember seeing them before…any insight?
Hi Clarissa! It looks like Ohio State changed their handouts page, making it less user-friendly, but thankfully the handouts are all still available! You just have to do a bit more manual searching on the main page that the link takes you to. For example, if you’re looking for “spinal cord injury arm exercises,” you’ll have to type that out manually in the search box. Then the handouts will pop up 🙂
Awesome! Thank you so much!!