Gone are the days of complete bed rest after surgery. It is important not to over exert yourself, but getting a little bit of exercise after surgery could be a good thing. Though we are not following a strict bed rest regime as once suggested, Nightingale was onto something though when she suggested the need for fresh air.
What are the benefits of exercise after surgery?
Anaesthetic agents can make some people feel very tired for days after surgery. It can take a few days for them to clear out of your system. Getting the body moving can increase energy to combat fatigue.
Lying for long periods of time can be bad for people with other health conditions, such as heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and depression to name a few. Being dormant and sedentary may exacerbate symptoms, and getting moving again can be helpful.
Taking time out of work can be stressful for some people. Doing some light exercise can help you unwind, also distracting you from pain and worries, particularly if you get out and see some green. Green spaces and nature have been shown to improve health related quality of life. You might even discover a new park or an interesting hotspot in your suburb.
What to avoid
After surgery, it is advised to avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise. If you do so, you run the risk of post-operative bleeding and injury. Analgesia may also mask an injury: you may do yourself harm and not notice.
What defines heavy lifting or strenuous exercise? It is different for every person. If it takes a great amount of power and two arms to lift or causes you to break a sweat (opposed to a light sweat from mild exertion), do not do it.
What kind of exercise can you do?
You may be instructed to perform special exercise and physiotherapy after your surgery. Most people can benefit from light exercise such as walking or gentle cycling on a stationary bike. You can practice with friends or chose to exercise solo- the choice is yours!
Your surgeon will instruct you when it is okay to return to normal. When you return to your normal exercise routine, ease yourself into it and/or tell your instructor about your recent surgery to avoid injury. Healing can take several weeks, even for some minor procedures. There is no need to keep up the pace during this time of healing: this time is for your wellbeing and health.
For more information on this topic or any wellbeing related fields, contact the ENT Clinic on 1300 123 368.