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How to recover fitness levels after hernia surgery

Although hernia surgery is a fairly straightforward and common surgical procedure, it does tend to come with a surprisingly long recovery time. This can understandably be frustrating for patients who lead a more active lifestyle. However, taking the necessary time to recover is crucial if you want to get back to peak fitness.

Here, you’ll discover how to recover your fitness levels after hernia surgery and the importance of getting back into it gradually.


When can you return to exercise after hernia surgery?

This will largely depend upon the patient, but most are advised to hold off attempting any exercise until at least week four after the surgery. After four weeks you can begin doing light exercise provided your assessment with the surgeon has gone well. Some people do start to return to running or weight lifting at this time, but it’s generally better to stick to really light exercise for another two weeks.

Core strengthening exercises such as planks, can be done within six to twelve weeks after the surgery. However, there are some types of exercises you’ll want to avoid for up to three to six months after hernia surgery. These include intensive running, impact exercises and jumping up and down.

This is just a rough guideline of when you can expect to return to exercise. The most important thing to remember is to not attempt to get back into physical activity until you are cleared to do so by your bowel surgeon.


Why is it important to wait?

As the recovery time for hernia repair can be long, it’s tempting for patients to try and get back to their normal workout routine sooner than recommended. However, attempting to work out within two weeks of the surgery can significantly disrupt the healing process.

There’s a small chance that the hernia could reoccur, or that it could cause bleeding. Therefore, patients are advised to stick to walking at a gradual pace for the first couple of weeks following the procedure.


Build up flexibility within the hips

No matter where your hernia was located, the surgery will have left a lot of scar tissue within the hip area. This means your range of motion is going to be impacted. Therefore, you may want to start working on building up flexibility within the hips while you are recovering.

You can do this with gentle rolling and stretching exercises. Focus on your glutes, IT band and quads. Remember, take it slowly and gently in order to avoid disrupting the healing process.


Always follow the advice of your bowel surgeon

While the advice above is a great general guideline to follow, your individual recovery process will be mapped out by your bowel surgeon. It’s crucial you follow your bowel surgeon’s advice as this is specifically provided for you and your situation. As long as you follow their post-operative advice, you should find you recover as quickly as possible.

Overall, hernia surgery does, unfortunately, have a long recovery time. While it can be frustrating if you’re used to being active, it’s crucial you rest up and follow the guidelines provided to you by your bowel surgeon.

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