At Westcoast SCI, therapeutic exercise will always be prescribed as part of your physiotherapy treatment so that you have strategies that can empower you to decrease pain, improve function and return to pre-injury activities.

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physiotherapist assisting with therapeutic exercise

What is Therapeutic Exercise?

It is any type of exercise with the goal of improving overall bodily function. The types of exercise can include:

  • Strength (push ups and squats)
    • Power (jumping – sudden force generation)
    • Endurance (building tolerance to prolonged activity)
  • Flexibility (stretching)
  • Mobility (improving the ability to move your body through its full range of motion)
  • Agility (navigating through obstacles)
  • Balance (fall prevention)
  • Postural (understanding the way the body aligns)
  • Fine motor skills (eye movements, finger dexterity, etc)
  • Biomechanics (proper lifting and carrying techniques)


Therapeutic exercises will always be prescribed as part of your physiotherapy treatment. There are many important reasons why your physiotherapist includes exercises as part of your treatment plan. Perhaps the most important reason is for you to have strategies that empower you to heal and get well. For the most part, the exercises prescribed to you by your registered physiotherapist or kinesiologist, if done correctly, can potentially be something that is incorporated into your daily routine and rituals. They should help you throughout life and ideally prevent substantial injuries from happening as you age.

What are the benefits of therapeutic exercise?

The benefits of therapeutic exercise are exactly the same as exercise in general. One of the important benefits that may not be as obvious is improved brain function. This may seem counterintuitive, but learning how to move your body increases the signal strength from your brain to your muscles. Not only will your bones and muscles appreciate the attention, so will your brain!

Other benefits of therapeutic exercise include:

  • Strengthening your bones, muscles, joints and ligaments
  • Improved brain function
  • Prevent or decrease likelihood of developing chronic pain
  • Improved overall fitness
  • Decreased likelihood of developing a chronic disease
  • Weight management
  • Decreased likelihood of traumatic injuries like falling
  • Improved mood
  • Improved self-esteem and mental health

What are the goals of therapeutic exercise?

The goals of therapeutic exercise can be varied and far-reaching. For the most part, people seek help from a Registered Physiotherapist or Kinesiologist when they are injured. Therefore the most common goal of therapeutic exercise from a rehabilitation point of view would be to decrease pain, improve function and return to pre-injury activities.

However, there can be other goals for therapeutic exercises such as getting stronger, decreasing likelihood of serious injury, weight management, improving overall bodily or sport performance, improving flexibility/decreasing stiffness, increasing endurance or the ability to sustain prolonged activities or positions and many, many more!

What is the difference between therapeutic exercise and therapeutic activity?

The difference between therapeutic exercise and therapeutic activity is that therapeutic exercise will be a specific movement (or exercise) that will target a specific body part or area of the body. It will have a very specific goal such as improved strength of the bicep muscle. An example of this would be a bicep curl.

Therapeutic activity on the other hand is an activity that will likely target several body parts or areas of the body and has a more generalized goal, such as improved overall quality of life. An example of this would be walking. There are many different muscles that will be activated and many different areas of the body that will benefit (endurance, balance, agility, cardiovascular fitness, spatial awareness, mental health, etc).