If you’ve fallen off the workout wagon, getting started again can be scary, but it’s even worse if you’re starting to workout again after surgery. The type of surgery you had also makes a difference. The first thing you must do is make sure you have your health care professionals okay to begin working out. Even if you feel good, there are many factors to consider. Your doctor is your best source of information for when to begin your program of exercise.
You’ve got the okay, now what?
Muscles atrophy from lack of use. Smaller muscle groups may take as little as 72 hours to start the process. Larger ones take longer. You’ll probably have at least a little atrophy and the older you are, the more you can expect. When you do go back to the gym, it’s time to take it slowly. You might want to rush right back where you left off before the surgery, but your body probably won’t be ready.
Realize that you may need to make some adjustments in form.
Depending on the location or type of surgery, you may have to modify the form you use for each exercise. If there’s injury to one side of the body, such as a torn ligament in one arm or leg, cross education may help build that side while it heals. There is research showing that exercising the uninjured side can actually help build up the side that’s injured or at least slow atrophy.
Work with a personal trainer or physical therapist.
Physical therapists may be the first place to start, particularly if you’ve been in a cast or had surgery that impedes the workout a great deal. However, once they give the okay, the next step to getting back to prime is to work with a personal trainer. The trainer will work closely with our health care professional and create a program that will get you back on path, but at a pace that’s right for you.
– See if you can take walks to help stay in shape while you’re on the mend. It helps slow the muscle atrophy, but is a gentle exercise.
– Don’t ignore pain. Pain is our body’s way of messaging us that something is wrong. More than ever, after surgery you need to listen to the message.
– Make sure you eat healthy. You’ll need all the nutrients you can get to help put you on the road to recover, but don’t want to gain excess weight that will take a time to
lose once you’re back on your feet.
– Stay hydrated. Flushing the toxins out of your system and keeping your body hydrated is important. Make sure you drink plenty of water.