Only few things could deprive you of your fitness and agility more than surgery does. Depending on the nature, site and extent of your surgery, it could leave you with more restrictions than you ever imagined.
You lay in bed for days to weeks, and when you’re discharged eventually, it’s like you’ve lost all the muscles in you. You feel weaker than before, and mild activities like walking become a big deal.
In addition, prolonged bed rest as a result of surgery causes you to lose muscle mass, makes your bones weaker by decreasing their calcium content, and increase your risk of having blood clots (because your blood is static).
How can you get back to your previously strong self after being weakened by surgery? How can you regain your fitness after spending weeks on the recovery bed? This post reveals how to go about it in a healthy way, without hurting yourself.
- Be patient
Trying to speed up your recovery can be very dangerous. After a surgery, you need to wait for your wound to heal before resuming any exercise.
Here’s why: You had a surgery because you needed to repair something. During the surgery the tissue gets altered, and many blood vessels at the site are opened up. When you engage in exercise your heart rate increases, and more blood will be pumped to the surgery site. And if the healing process hasn’t reached an advanced stage, this will produce more pain, more swelling, and more scarring. You also risk infecting the site with your dirty sweat.
So, ask your doctor when it’s safe for you to resume exercise. Before you can resume rigorous exercise, you would be able to engage in mild activities, such as walking. Keep doing more and more of those until you’re fit to engage in serious exercise.
- Modify your workouts
There are times when you’re free to exercise every part of your body except for the part operated on. In such instances, you have to modify your workouts so you don’t end up stressing the surgery site. For example, if you just had an appendectomy, you should stay clear of all abdominal workouts until your wound has healed completely. However, you can continue with exercises that focus on other body parts.
As your wound heals up, you can gradually introduce workouts that involve the part operated on. But always listen to your body. If you feel some pain or some other signal that tells you to stop. Stop immediately or you might end up again in the hospital.
- See a physical therapist
A physical therapist understands how the surgery you had would affect your health and your strength. So, they are in a very good position to help you work out a realistic and healthy rehabilitation schedule. They also motivate you to adhere to whatever workout programs they have ruled out for you. This motivation has a major effect on your recovery.
Most people visit the physical therapist only once after their surgery. This is a big mistake. You should report to the physical therapist on a weekly basis until you’re fully fit to work and exercise again.