Surgery allows doctors to repair or replace human tissue to maintain or restore its function. There are many different fields of surgery, including orthopaedic (bone, muscle and tendon surgery), cardiothoracic (heart and lungs) and general surgery (includes many others including abdominal and breast surgery).
Surgery comes with certain risks. Some of these risks are inherent to the surgery itself and some are associated with the anaesthetic and the prolonged hospital stay. The aim of exercise training before a surgery, called pre-habilitation, is to increase a person’s physical fitness and strength to maximise the speed of recovery after the operation and reduce the risk of any complications.
What type of exercise should I be doing before my surgery?
That depends on the type of surgery you are having, as well as your current level of activity and other medical conditions you may have, however there are some general guidelines:
• Aerobic exercise – Improves the fitness of your cardiovascular system and reduces the risks associated with anaesthetic and prolonged hospital stays.
• Resistance training (strength training) – Addresses any strength deficits and improves the health of the muscular system.
• Joint range of motion – Specifically prior to orthopaedic surgery, the focus should be on restoring joint range of motion and normalising movement patterns.