After a person is injured, or faces a chronic disease, it is common for him or her to have declining functional ability; this is called deconditioning. The decline in health affects a person’s ability to work, take care of him or herself, and engage in normal activities. This is especially true when a person has been on bed-rest, nearly the entire body is affected.

Inactivity is detrimental to a person’s well-being. Deconditioning can affect a person’s heart, digestive system, muscles, bones, skin, and even psychological responses.

Deconditioning doesn’t affect only people who have faced illness, or surgery, it can describe anyone who has lost general strength or fitness through lack or decline of exercise. Although an injury typically sparks the process. Deconditioning can also be used as a tool to prevent overexertion. Some athletes are taught how to properly go through rest (deconditioning) periods to control their heart rates.

When a person has gone through the process of deconditioning, he or she is at risk for future injury. It is important to strategically start building strength. A physical therapist can help anyone from a geriatric patient, to an elite athlete rebuild strength and regain functional ability.