Physical Activity as Cardiac Surgery Rehabilitation

Posted by Heart Hugger on Sep 8, 2015 9:41:00 AM

physical activity after heart surgery

For most of our lives, physical activity has been like a cloudy sky. For some of us, the clouds are fresh and bright, and for others, the clouds are gray and stormy. Regardless of whether we live for the treadmill or constantly invent excuses to avoid the gym, exercise is a thought that always hangs over us, and its importance throughout our lives is undeniable. However, there are some points in life when physical activity becomes less a cloudy sky, to be looked up at and contemplated on, and more a hurdle that must be crossed as part of rehabilitation. After heart surgery, this is especially true.

Cardiac Surgery Rehabilitation

Like a jigsaw puzzle, cardiac surgery rehabilitation has several pieces that must be put together in just the right way or the result will be an uncompleted picture. Physical activity is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is rehabilitation. While it is necessary for healthy healing, there are specific guidelines on exercise after surgery--especially cardiac surgery. Because of the location of the incisions required for heart surgery, as well as the effects of the surgery itself, physical activity must be taken in specific "doses."

Physical Activity

So, what are the "doses" of physical activity after heart surgery? What are the specific guidelines? Here's a quick look.

  • Lifting and reaching. Although lifting and reaching are not generally regarded as exercises in themselves, they are a big- and often unnoticed- part of everyday life. Depending on the specific surgery you've undergone, you'll want to do only light housework for awhile, and only when you feel up to it. You'll also want to avoid lifting over five pounds until your doctor says otherwise.
  • Climbing stairs. Although most of us climb stairs on a daily basis, even a few steep steps becomes almost an exercise after cardiac surgery. While your balance will likely be off, and you may feel out of breath or tired, you can climb stairs. Just be sure to avoid them whenever possible in order to save your energy.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise is an important part of cardiac surgery rehabilitation, but it must be done in specific ways. Make exercise a daily routine. Focus on time, not on intensity, and be sure not to overdo it. Finally, be sure to check with your doctor for your unique requirements and guidelines.

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Heart Hugger

Written by Heart Hugger

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