If you are due to have surgery or have recently undergone an operation, you might start wondering how soon you can jump back into your workout routine. After all, you don’t want to lose all those hard-won fitness gains. But exercising again too soon can cause setbacks in your recovery and might even have serious health consequences. So how soon can you start exercising again after an operation?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer
The number one rule of working out after surgery is that there are no hard and fast rules. Operations can range from minor to extremely invasive, and all bodies respond differently to anaesthesia, the procedure itself, and the recovery process.
Depending on the nature and complexity of your operation, you might need to wait anywhere from 2 weeks up to 3 months or even longer before exercising hard again. We recommend consulting with a physical therapist who can help guide you through the process.
How fit were you before your surgery?
Fitter and healthier bodies tend to bounce back more quickly. This means that if you were very active before your operation, you might be able to safely start exercising again earlier than a someone who exercised more infrequently. Be realistic about your fitness levels and how quickly you usually recover from injury or illness, and plan accordingly.
Don't be disappointed though, rehab after surgery is a great way to start introducing a regular work out routine into your schedule, whatever that looks like for you.
Choose your type of exercise wisely
You might need to modify your fitness routine after an operation, but this does not mean you can’t exercise at all. For example, imagine you’ve had surgery on your knee. You might need to avoid high impact exercise that involves running and jumping for some time, but it might be safe to go swimming much sooner.
You can also use this opportunity to try out new sports or activities. Things like cycling, yoga, Pilates and rowing are all low impact exercises than can make a big difference on your fitness levels.
Don’t expect to jump back into exercising at the same intensity as you did before your surgery. You’ll need to walk before you can run, as the saying goes.
Even if you were regularly running several miles before your operation, start out with a light jog or even a brisk walk. This will keep your muscles healthy and prevent your overall fitness from dropping too much, without compromising your recovery process.
Always follow medical advice
If you’re in doubt about what you can safely do and when, the best person to advise you is your surgeon or doctor. Ask about the recovery process before your operation so that you can plan accordingly, but be prepared for your body to respond differently than expected.
The most important thing to do is to follow medical advice at every stage. Not doing so is a recipe for harming yourself and setting back your recovery even further.
After surgery, you will likely experience some pain and inflammation in the injured area of your body. Wearing an Incrediwear Sleeve can help reduce your pain, boost blood flow, and harness your body's natural recovery process. We recommend wearing your sleeve as much as is comfortable, including at rest or sleep when your body is working over time to repair any damage.