Why Your Home Exercise Program (HEP) is Important

By Kyle Dorsey
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Performance Plus Physical Therapy

If you’ve ever attended Physical Therapy, you’ve most likely been sent home with a list of exercises to complete between scheduled visits. While these exercises are often simple and easy to perform, they are vital to your plan of care and only help to facilitate your outcomes as a patient. Home exercise programs, or HEPs, are designed to carryover and enhance the gains achieved in the clinic itself. Physical Therapists aren’t just handing out a list of exercises for you to complete to keep you busy outside of the clinic, they are prescribing them to help you get better. 

While its true you can get away with seeing improvements in strength, range of motion (RoM) and overall function with seeing a Physical Therapist 2-3 times a week, you will see significantly improved outcomes with completing the exercises at home. Not only does it help improve and facilitate the potential gains achieved in Physical Therapy, it will also help speed up the recovery process, cut down on the monotony of performing the same simple exercises in the clinic almost every single visit and provide temporary pain relief throughout the week. Every time we perform some type of physical activity, whether it be running, walking, or performing even basic exercises, our brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are naturally occurring chemicals found in the brain that when released provide temporary pain relief or analgesia that helps reduce pain and improve your mood. 

Additionally, the exercises help enhance and maintain joint mobility and tissue extensibility. One way to treat your HEP is to think of it as a daily oil change. Sure, you can get by (temporarily) with simply filling up your car with gas and driving it on a daily basis, however if you want to optimize the longevity of the life of your car, you need periodic oil changes. The HEPs are essentially daily oil changes for the body. The movements and strengthening help bring joint fluid which acts as lubrication for your joints in the same way oil lubricates the gears and joints in your car. Just like skipping an oil change can cause the engine in your car to break down, skipping your exercises can result in more pain, less mobility and a decreased quality of life. 

These are just a few reasons why performing you HEP every day outside of the clinic. We as Physical Therapists don’t just hand out random exercises to keep you busy, we prescribe targeted activities that are designed to optimize your rehab as well as your overall quality of life. 


If you have any questions or concerns regarding safe and effective exercises, reach out to us any time and we’ll be happy to answer your question!