Like every athlete that prepares thoroughly for the rigors of an upcoming season, people need to prepare for an upcoming surgery. When we are talking about pre-surgery preparation, we are not only talking about logistics. We are talking about priming your strength and mobility to increase your physical readiness. This readiness allows you to deal with the rigors of rehabilitation and the compensatory motor patterns associated with the post-surgery phase itself. Imagine if an athlete shows up for practice on the first day of the season without completing any pre-season training program. It is very likely that, at best, their first few weeks of practicing will be miserable. And at worst, they injure themselves and negatively impact their ability to play, all because they disrespected the physical demands of their chosen sport or activity. Preparing for surgery is going to be a similar process to an athlete preparing for a season. Your body needs to be ready for the physical demands that will be placed on it in physical therapy and recovery after the surgery. Do not disrespect the physical side of this process, lest you may end up miserable. Worse yet, you may never recover to your full potential and have limitations for the rest of your life.
There will be both physical therapy demands and the demands from having altered movement patterns that will need to be corrected. For example, you had knee surgery, so now your other leg has to do more work to move the whole body, and your arms need to be strong enough to help you get up and down out of chairs. Make no mistake that the better conditioned and strengthened you are, the faster you will recover. The “surgical effect” or hopeful intended outcome, will be better for you. Put more simply, whatever the surgery was supposed to fix will improve even better if you are more fit. To have a better recovery, go forward, not backward. Do not be like the athlete who shows up out of shape on day one of practice. Do not disrespect the physical demands that you will need for full recovery. The surgery will not fix anything without your being able to, physically, help it along. Or even worse yet, you could injure something else because it was weak and not ready to face the physical demands placed on it during your surgical recovery stage.
Questions about personal training and program design services to enhance your strength and movement before surgery? Click here.
Every orthopedic surgery recovery phase relies heavily on the soundness of your shoulders, hips, knees, etc. Suppose you are someone who struggles each time you have to get in or out of a chair. If you then underwent hip replacement surgery, would you not need extra strength and mobility in the non-operative leg as well as the arms to help you get up (when it was already hard before the surgery)? And that is not only going to be the case on the surgical front, which involves trying to recover from the procedure, but also on the non-surgical side because you will have been making compensations in normal movement patterns as a workaround to the limitation prior to the surgery. Maybe now you are getting the idea of how crucial pre-surgical preparation is for your safety and success while undergoing your recovery.
The extra strength needed will come from pre-surgery exercises, workouts, and therapy. If, instead, you go into surgery with a weak upper body or weak legs, can you guess the repercussions? You would increase your risks of injury during the post-surgery phase. If your legs are weak and you have a lower body surgery, you will probably have to overuse your hands to get up and down from chairs and bed. This could then resultantly damage your shoulders.
Therefore, the healthier you are before you go into surgery, the quicker and more successful your recovery will be. However, you must note that I am not emphasizing an overzealous fitness routine here. What I recommend is following the simple guidelines below:
Would you like to talk with a personal trainer with a master’s degree in Exercise Science and focus on injury prevention? Click here.