6 Fitness tricks to follow post Bypass Surgery

Recovery period for this procedure is about 6 to 8 weeks and can vary from case to case. Bed rest is an important aspect of recovery; however, some low grade exercise is equally vital for faster recovery. Walking at a slow pace is needed to counteract the effects of surgery and bed rest, such as muscle breakdown and joint stiffness. Physical therapy after surgery is the standard protocol followed in every cardiac hospital. The therapist helps you to walk slowly for short periods and helps you do other cardiac exercises for faster healing. Discharge from hospital is within 4 to 6 days.

You will not be able to resume all activities post-surgery and you may feel tired; however, remember to relax as this is only a phase which will pass soon. You can start with simple light exercises known as activities of daily living before you return back to your heavy exercises.

  • Simple activities can be performed at home that include lifting your arms above your shoulders such as brushing your hair and putting dishes in the cupboard. Light household activities can be performed such as laundry, shopping, cooking, or light gardening.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects, and do not keep your arms above your shoulders for a long time.
  • Try and work within your pain-free range of motion.
  • Do not perform any physical activity that produces pain or pulling across the chest.
  • Plan your day, and do most important activities first. Do not do everything at once.
  • Pay attention to pushing and pulling activities that can put pressure on your chest or sternum.
  • Ensure that you have enough rest between activities.

As a general rule, you can engage in aerobic exercises that involve the larger muscles such as the lower limbs. Exercises are rhythmic in nature and be done for a maximum of 15 to 20 minutes. Start with short duration exercise sessions about 6 to 8 of 3-5 minutes each. Then gradually increase them and aim to progress to 40-60 minutes session.

    • Leg strengthening– to strengthen thigh muscles
      • Sit on a firm and steady chair with feet flat on the floor. Lift your foot slowly until your leg is straight. Hold and gently lower your foot. Repeat.
    • Foot tapping sitting– to increase motion and improve circulation in your ankles.
      • Sit on a chair and place both feet flat on the ground. Leave your feet on the floor and tap your foot up and down. Each time raise your feet as high as possible. Repeat.
    • Knees raises, sitting exercise– to strengthen hip muscles.
      • Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Raise one knee toward your chest as high as possible. Slowly, lower it and repeat with other knee.
    • Shoulder exercise– to strengthen your shoulder muscles and the range of motion
      • Stand with your arms at your side. Raise your arm straight above your head. Lower it and raise the other arm. Repeat.
    • Walking– walking is the best form of exercise. Doing it 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week keeps you healthier with fewer problems.
      • Walk on a leveled ground in a rhythmic and even pace allowing your arms to swing on the sides. Wear comfortable shoes.

As you start exercising, always be aware of how you are feeling. Do not over exert and be alert for any kind of signs or symptoms that might signal complications. Maintain a healthy lifestyle that involves a balance of healthy eating and regular exercise to prevent coronary heart disease.

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