Posted on Aug 15, 2019, 12 p.m.
No matter what kind of surgery your body goes through, recovery can feel like a very long process. Exercise is an important part of the healing process and helps in many different ways, and while it’s essential that you stick to the recovery recommendations of your doctor, there are some exercises to try at home.
So whether it's cosmetic surgery or another operation, here are 4 low impact exercises to try that won’t cause stress to your body.
If the area of the surgery is the abdomen or chest, such as a breast reduction, it’s important to avoid lifting and any other form of stress to the upper body. Light lower leg raises (knee to ankle) can improve blood flow throughout the body if you're not yet mobile or not feeling up to walking. It’s important to remember how certain movements affect other parts of the body, and after is lower stomach surgery you mustn’t stress the area with upper leg movements.
It may not normally feel like exercise, but during the recovery period light walks can play an important part in upper-body surgeries. Mildly increasing the heart rate, promoting blood flow and helping with you energy levels will improve the recovery process.
Depending on your surgeon's recommendation and the procedure, the light walks could be altered to a faster stroll.
If your surgery leaves you in bed and with little exercise options available, ankle pumps are simply moving your ankles up, down and in circular motions while stuck in bed. It may seem pointless, but it’s another way to promote blood flow and keep you comfortable in bed.
A recommended way to do this is to pretend to push down a pedal with your foot, then at its lowest point, raise your toes toward your shins and then lift your foot back up. Repeat this 20 times on alternating feet can help keep your resting body feeling active in bed.
If the surgery is on the lower body or legs, lifting light weights and keeping your upper body active is best. You’ll want to be lifting light weights with a high level of repetitions, this helps to avoid stressing the body too far. Surgeries that keep you off your feet can be difficult, and keeping your energy levels up and encouraging the recovery process needs to come from stretching and lifting your arms.
Your doctor knows best and any recommendations they give you should always be prioritised. But all surgeries have different effects on the body so it's recommended that you avoid all physical activity for at least 48 hours. It may not feel like it sometimes but surgeries can have a bigger impact on the body than you think. It's important to take things slow and start with minimally stressful exercises, to give your body time to heal.
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