Here’s Why You Need to Walk After Heart Surgery

Posted by Heart Hugger on May 11, 2022 12:14:10 PM

senior couple walking outside

During the heart surgery recovery process, you might not be in the mood to want to stand up and walk around. However, walking can actually help you recover faster by improving your strength. This means you can get back to feeling like your usual self a lot sooner. Here’s why you won’t want to skip the walks that your doctor recommends.

Benefits of Walking After Heart Surgery

Heart surgery recovery can put a lot of stress on our bodies, which is why we need to get up and move around to help our health improve. Lounging around for long periods can stiffen up our muscles, dragging out the recovery process. Of all the types of exercise, walking is still the best kind of exercise we can do as it forces us to move many different muscles.

In fact, studies show that people who walk at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week, become much healthier after recovery.

Here are the benefits of walking after heart surgery:

  • Increases energy
  • Improves strength
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Speeds up your ability to return to normal activities

Why Choose Walking Over Other Workouts?

It’s not uncommon for patients to find themselves needing to relearn a lot of seemingly simple tasks, including walking. Walking can feel like no big deal under normal conditions when we’ve been walking since our toddler years. However, walking is a very complex motion that takes a lot of strength, which is why you want to keep those muscles moving.

Walking is recommended because it’s a great, low-intensity workout to help you get back in the flow of things before moving up to higher intensity exercises.

How to Get Back to Walking

Your doctor may provide you with an exact timetable for when you should begin exercising, but generally, you can get back to walking as soon as you feel ready. However, don’t put off walking for weeks after surgery. The sooner you start, the faster you can get your strength back. Even short moments of walking around the house will significantly improve your strength as you work your way up to longer distances.

There’s no need for you to start walking in a marathon any time soon, so the best way to stay motivated is by pacing yourself with slower walks. Set smaller milestones and steadily increase your distance as you’re able to. This way, you’ll feel the improvements with each walk and feel inspired to increase your walking distances.

For instance, you can start out by slow walking for 15 minutes and progress toward 40-minute walks, increasing your speed as you can. Your doctor can provide a walking program that can set you up for success.

Can I Do Anything About the Pain?

Patients can feel some pain when they begin physically exerting themselves. Where does that pain stem from? It comes from any movement that pulls and tugs on the incision. This pain typically discourages patients from wanting to move around more. If you anticipate this being a problem for you, a sternum support vest can help ease the pain by providing additional support as you sit, stand, and walk.

You’ll feel more in control of your recovery process and pain management by wearing a support vest. With a support vest, you can hold the clamps that keep your chest together, helping to protect the incision from separating and causing more pain. You’ll also feel more excited about taking those walks around the block when you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to stand up without agitating your incision.

Not only that, these clamps can even ease the pain during involuntary movements such as coughing and sneezing. A support vest helps prevent pain so that your heart surgery recovery comes with ease.


As much as we might not feel like it, it’s necessary to walk during heart surgery recovery. And the more you do, the better you’ll feel. An increase in muscle strength and energy are just a couple of benefits you’ll experience as you move toward a healthier version of yourself.

And if you’re looking for a way to ease the pain as you walk around, talk to Heart Hugger to hear more about how our support vests can make the recovery process less painful.

Heart Hugger

Written by Heart Hugger

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