Perhaps no event in professional sports is quite as inspiring as the Olympic Games. Years of physical conditioning and childhood dreams of participants are tested on an international stage. In response to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Professional Physical Therapy explored Team USA athlete treatment and training in contrast to the expectations of everyday people. Here are three lessons we can learn from the approaches adopted by top-echelon Olympic competitors:

Lesson #1 – Establish clear, achievable goals.

Practitioners of sports medicine understand that highly skilled athletes are extraordinarily goal-oriented. Goals serve as guideposts, with relatively small daily and weekly objectives leading the way to big targets in the months and years ahead.

Once you meet with a physical therapist for a comprehensive consultation, you will work with them to achieve immediate goals that serve the needs of your overall rehabilitative journey. Every time you have a physical therapy (PT) appointment, your status will be assessed and the treatment strategy will be modified as needed. Goals are dynamic, not static: the primary point of focus is always lasting recovery.

Lesson #2 – Easy does it.

When we watch the Olympics, it’s easy to forget that the fluid and responsive bodies of athletes represent years of training. One of the most critical lessons of sports medicine known by athletes is never to become impatient and experience burnout.

A competent professional will not view your injury in isolation but in relationship to your personality and general physical condition. The stretches and exercises used for your recovery should be “challenging, but not overtaxing or to the point of frustration.” In other words, you want your treatment plan to match reasonable immediate goals rather than an obsession with the finish line.

Lesson #3 – Control your time.

When crafting star athlete treatment, PT practitioners are aware that Olympians have full schedules, including their careers and social lives. Focusing on time management allows them to dominate on a moment-by-moment basis so that they keep progressing physically.

To optimize the safety and effectiveness of your rehabilitative program, make sure you aren’t imbalancing your daily life. Let your physical therapy team know of any schedule limitations that should be factored into the broad story of your recovery.

Implementing the Olympic spirit in your treatment

We may not always be training for a gold medal and glory on the podium, but we can all approach training and rehabilitation with Olympic determination and drive. Our physical therapy program is focused on the ultimate target of wellness, while embracing a step-by-step approach toward that end. Benefit from our New Patient Offer, and feel free to call us at (316) 942-5335.