Occupational Therapy Home Exercise Programs

Occupational therapy home exercise programs can help individuals of all ages, ranging from children to seniors afflicted with medical conditions that include stroke and musculoskeletal abnormalities. Occupational therapy emphasizes the emotional, social and physiological effects of injury or illness. Done consistently, exercises can help individuals recuperate properly in preparation for returning to a functional lifestyle. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Cane Rotations

Occupational therapy home exercise programs can increase your shoulder area range of motion, according to HEP2go.com. Use either a cane, broomstick or wand for this sitting or standing exercise. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Place the item in your hands, holding it palms facing upward. Gently and slowly move the item to your right while feeling your shoulder joint rotate. Hold this position five seconds. Return to the center position. Relax 10 seconds. Slowly swing the item to your left. Hold this position five seconds. Return to the original position. Relax 10 seconds. During this maneuver, your unaffected arm does most of the work while your affected-side arm stays partially relaxed. Do this exercise five times to each side. Do not move your back during this exercise.


Walking needs to be included in an occupational therapy home exercise program to help individuals return to the functioning level available prior to injury, according to the American Heart Association. Walking aids in overall muscle strengthening and flexibility, and it can help to improve your capability of performing every day tasks such as lifting items and improving exercise tolerance. It can enhance blood lipid levels and cardiovascular fitness, improve oxygen intake and utilization while also increasing independence levels. If walking is too difficult, walking on a treadmill offers the advantage of using harnesses and rail supports. Walking for a minimum of 20 minutes on at least three days weekly is recommended.

Upper Body Turns

Occupational therapy home exercise programs can increase your upper body flexibility through trunk rotations, according to HEP2go.com. Sit upright in a firm chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Lift your arms and cross them over your chest, palms lying flat on your upper chest. Rest your fingertips against your shoulder area. Slowly and gently rotate your upper body to the right as far as possible. Keep your head aligned with your shoulders, do not rotate your neck. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Feel the stretch along your abdominal, back and waist area. Slowly return to the original position. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise three times.


Occupational therapy home exercise programs can improve body balance while strengthening your leg muscles, according to HEP2go.com. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Do a modified leg balancing exercise by lifting your right foot, placing your body weight onto your left foot. Keep your right knee slightly bent and maintain your balance. Gently and slowly move your right foot behind your body. Hold this position for as long as possible. Slowly return your leg to the original position. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times with both legs.

About the Author

Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.