While hernia surgeries have become fairly common, any surgery, no matter how routine, needs to be taken seriously. After undergoing hernia surgery, a common question people ask is, “When can I get back to the gym?” After an operation, many patients can immediately tell a difference in how much better they feel. Although you might experience significant pain relief, don’t mistake this for your body telling you it’s ready to get back to exercise. Hernia recovery takes time. If you start doing too much physical activity too quickly, there is a higher likelihood that problems will occur, and you may even undo the repair.
We don’t expect you to quit your normal routine altogether, but adjustments and modifications will need to be made to ensure complete healing. When your body is strong enough, here are a few ways you can ease back into physical activity.
One to two weeks after your hernia surgery, try walking at a gentle pace for 15 minutes once a day. Try to avoid stairs or hills as you exercise. Once you reach the two-week or more mark from your surgery, walk for up to 30 minutes each day at a reasonable pace. If you’re feeling strong enough, you can choose to get on an exercise bike and ride it at a low setting. As you increase your physical activity level, steer clear of any movements that might put a strain on your abdomen.
Stretching during hernia recovery is a good way to keep your muscles relaxed and slowly regain your full range of motion. After taking a short walk, take some time to stretch your body. Sit upright in a secure chair and keep your legs together as you turn your upper body and face to the right. Place your left hand on your right knee for stability. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat the movement on the other side. Next, sit on the floor while stretching one leg straight out and bending the other leg at the knee. Reach forward and grab the outstretched foot with both of your hands. As you reach forward, make sure you are bending gently at the waist and keeping your back straight. You should feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
When your incision site has healed for a few weeks post-surgery, try going for a swim. Swimming is a low-impact activity that prevents heavy strain and discomfort from harming your abdomen. Start off slow by completing a few laps in a pool and work your way up to longer and more intense swims. Hold onto a kickboard for stability, or try treading water to get your heart rate up. A month or more after surgery, you can progress to more strenuous activities, such as jogging.
If you feel any pain or discomfort while working out, immediately stop what you are doing. It’s necessary to get approval from your doctor before you step up your exercise routine when dealing with a hernia recovery.
If you need help making a workout plan while recovering from a hernia injury, contact one of our Campbell Clinic locations today.