Practicing dance moves can be a step in the right direction when returning to work after an injury. Sports and leisure activities build skills and endurance that are often transferrable in the workplace. Our occupational therapists sometimes incorporate sports and leisure activities into treatment plans so workers return to their jobs in a timely and safe manner. This increases workplace productivity, decreases the number of absences and can reduce worksite accidents.
How OTs Use Sports and Leisure for Return to Work
When Melissa Ferguson, OT, first meets with a client, she wants to know, “What are some of the important activities for you in your life?” She asks her clients why they enjoy those activities. She chooses to focus on what lights her clients up and gets them excited, even when an injury feels like a barrier to participating. She uses task analysis to create a step by step breakdown on how to achieve a chosen final goal.
Through a gradual progression in frequency and intensity, Melissa helps her clients discover what they can do, rather than focusing on what they can’t.
The Benefits of Sports and Leisure
Melissa’s clients build up sports and leisure routines before returning to work. As a result, her clients arrive at their jobs better prepared with skills in stress and pain management as well as community activation and ergonomics.
Exercise and hobbies can improve both physical and psychological functioning when they become regular, personalized practices for a variety of reasons. They allow us to connect with members of our community. They foster a feeling of accomplishment and confidence. Sports and leisure also:
- develop habits to build structured routines
- hone motor skills
- prevent and improve back problems, especially through low-stress aerobics like walking and swimming
- reduce chronic pain through yoga, Pilates, and strength training
- support independent living for seniors and prevent falls
- release tension caused by repetitive tasks and desk set-ups
- foster mental wellbeing
Educating yourself is a great first step to returning to recreational activities. Below are resources you can turn to for more information.
- “The Benefits of Recreation.” (City of Richmond)
- “Fearless Fitness: An Exercise Guide for People with Chronic Pain.” (CurableHealth.com)
- “Effects of Recreational Physical Activity and Back Exercises on Low Back Pain and Psychological Distress: Findings from the UCLA Low Back Pain Study.” (Authors: E. Hurwitz, H. Morgenstern, and C. Chiao)
Get Started with an OT
All of our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have additional training in areas such as mental health, brain injury rehabilitation, home safety and chronic pain.
If you or someone you know could benefit from occupational therapy after a motor vehicle accident or other injuries, contact us today! We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext 1000