Staying Fit and Healthy After Surgery

There are a number of reasons people may get surgery. Some surgeries are for pain relief, such as surgery on your spine or back, and other surgeries might be life-saving. There are also elective surgeries that might improve your quality of life in one way or another. 

Regardless of your reasons for surgery, you may be worried about staying fit and healthy and maintaining your weight when you go through recovery. In fact, this worry might be one of the main deterrents people have in their mind as far as whether or not to do a needed surgery.

There are steps you can take to stay fit and healthy during surgical recovery, including the following.

Follow Your Doctor’s Recovery and Healing Advice

First and foremost, before you do anything else, make sure your clear on what your doctor is instructing you to do during your recovery. Make sure you have written instructions at discharge, and don’t stray from them, even if you think you’re doing better. It’s important above even staying fit after surgery that you remain healthy.

Some of your discharge instructions might seem silly, but they’re included for good reason. 

Keep up with all of your follow-up appointments, even if you think you’re healed up, and you’re feeling great. 

Take the necessary steps to prevent infection such as washing your hands before and after touching your incision, and check it out a few takes a day to make sure you don’t see any warning flags of an issue.

Staying infection-free will go a long way to ensuring that you recover as quickly as possible. 

Focus On Your Diet

After surgery, you may want to avoid weight gain and that can be tougher if you’re on bed rest or can’t do much exercise.

Focus quite a bit on your diet.

You should choose whole, unprocessed foods because these will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but heal faster and feel better. 

A diet rich in fiber is always important, but even more so as you recover from surgery. Constipation is a frequent complication after surgery, and fiber can help you avoid this. 

Many foods that are calorie-laden and too high in unhealthy things are also foods that can trigger constipation, which is another reason to follow a diet made up of primarily whole foods. For example, foods that can cause constipation include cheese and other dairy products, sugary foods and red meat. 

Make sure you have enough water as you heal from any operation too. This can promote faster healing and can also reduce the likelihood you’ll gain weight. Getting enough water is also essential for the digestion of fiber and protein. 

Stay Active Within Reason

It may be possible for you to do some exercises even when you recover from surgery. It depends on what your doctor says and the type of surgery but speak with your doctor about what they do or don’t recommend. 

If your surgery was less intense or less invasive, you might be able to just cut back on the intensity of your exercise while you recover. This might mean for example, that you exercise at 70% once or twice a week.

Even if you can’t do that, you can ask when you’ll be ready to take short walks, or perhaps do some stretches. 

Anything that you’re able to do is better than nothing, as long as it’s approved by your doctor. 

If you have one joint or body part that’s immobilized, then you can also think about doing some cross-training. 

Back and neck injuries can be difficult to recover from, so you should talk to your doctor about limitations, but at some point you may be able to do something like swimming or cycling so that you can keep up with some of your cardiovascular strength. 

Finally, when you’re recovering from surgery, make sure you’re taking care of your mental health. It can be extremely discouraging to be in recovery mode, especially if you’re used to being very active.

Surgery can mean some parts of your life might never return to the exact same they once were, and this can all take a toll on your mental health.

Make sure you have someone you can trust to talk to about your feelings, and you might also consider seeing a professional therapist if you feel like your recovery is especially challenging for you mentally. 

Give yourself time and focus on self-care above everything else as you recover.