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Safe Exercise After Surgery

July 18, 2023

If you have a planned surgery coming, you may be curious about getting back into your regular fitness routine. Returning to exercise after surgery should always be done with the approval and guidance of your healthcare provider. They can provide specific recommendations based on the type of surgery, your general health, and your personal recovery progress.

However, here are some general tips to keep in mind:

Get clearance from your doctor: This is the most important step. You should not begin any exercise program after surgery without your doctor’s approval.

Practice good wound care: Scabs are a normal part of healing. Change the dressing as directed and monitor your wounds for signs of infection.

Start slow: When you’re first starting out, your workouts should be gentle and not overly strenuous. It’s important not to push yourself too hard, too fast.

Listen to your body: This is crucial. If you feel any unusual or intense pain, stop and consult with your doctor. Mild discomfort or fatigue is normal when starting to exercise again, but pain is a warning sign that something might not be right.

Stick to your physical therapy plan: In many cases, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist, who can provide a tailored exercise plan and monitor your progress. Make sure you follow the instructions from your physical therapist, especially after you return home.

Focus on low-impact activities: Activities such as walking, tai chi, or yoga can be a good way to start as they are less likely to put strain on your body. It is important to start moving again as soon when your doctor says it is safe. Movement, even just walking around your home, can help prevent blood clots and muscle atrophy.

Stay hydrated and rest: Ensure you are drinking enough fluids and getting enough sleep. Both hydration and rest aid in the recovery process and help your body cope with the increased activity.

Gradually increase intensity: As your strength and endurance improve, you can slowly increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. But remember, always at a pace that you’re comfortable with and allowed by your healthcare provider’s recommendation.

Maintain a balanced diet: Proper nutrition will support your recovery and fuel your workouts. Avoid sugary snacks or sports drinks with sodium, which can cause swelling.

Remember, everyone’s recovery process is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to stay patient with yourself, listen to your body, and keep open lines of communication with your healthcare providers.

Always prioritize your health and safety over pushing yourself to get back to your pre-surgery fitness level. It may take time, but with consistent effort and care, you can rebuild your strength and fitness.

The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Always follow your doctor’s advice.