Burn Survivor Exercise Program

By: Michael Appleman, CEO

Exercise is one of the most important ways to offer a burn survivor what is needed in order to regain both his/her physical and psychological life after suffering the initial burn injury. This can combat future complications and ensure a successful long-term recovery.


You might be asking yourself, will this become a lot of hard work? Yes exercise is not easy and can be a lot of hard work for someone who suffered a burn injury. So many burn survivors feel that this is worth the pain and suffering. Depending on when you begin your exercise program, depends on what type of exercise plan you should begin with. If you had a long hospital and burn unit stay, it might be best for you to start off slow. It is important for you to build back you muscle mass and flexibility. Anyone who has used exercise to recover knows that scars can make it very difficult and painful to move your joints. Finally you might suffer from pain, itching and fatigue. All of the above can complicate psychological challenges that can lead to depression, self-consciousness, negative body image and fear of being seen in public.

I would suggest that you speak with your doctors and possibly go to counseling in order to get control of both the physical and emotional issues. With their help and suggestions regular exercise can become beneficial to a burn survivor. No matter what kind of exercise you choose it will hopefully become a natural pain reliever. With a lot of hard work you will find that feeling less physical pain eases depression, relieves stress, and opens the mind to an acceptance of new possibilities.

If possible before leaving the hospital you should speak to a physical therapist about starting an exercise program. No matter if it is a simple or extensive program you will begin to get use to what it will take to move forward and recover. When you leave the hospital you will be leaving the support system that has helped you reach the goals you are currently at. It is very important to meet with your family members in therapy before you leave the hospital. This will help both you and your family to begin working together on the emotional and physical issues that may come up at home. A good exercise plan can make you safe and comfortable during the transition. Most of us already know the basics: 1. You should wear pressure garments. 2. Sun protection and Hydration is very important. 3. It is important to know how to get and give motivation. 4. We need to organize. 5. Finally you should always have adequate resources.

Most physical therapists suggest that you should use slow, steady stretching and strengthening movement patterns like Yoga, Zumba or bike riding. I suggest that you do whatever works for you. Always remember to follow up with your medical team on a regular basis so they can help you make any adjustments to your program.