Post Surgery Exercises

A little while after the operation as I noticed that my general wellbeing was improving and I was feeling stronger, I remembered how good it felt to be physically active. I felt energised by my rehabilitation programme and continued to do this at home more and more. I was also riding my bike so I could feel how movement was bringing life back into the muscles in my legs.

I decided I wanted to pursue exercise further than the normal stretching and minimal exertion that rehab prescribed. I wanted to embrace this feel good vibe I had and carry it with me.

I cannot remember the exact date when I started to exercise but it is very important to know that I only did it when it felt right. I was in tune with my body and how it communicated with me.

I worked out a simple routine based from my boxing training, to build up strength and body tone just using my own body weight.  I would do a few repetitions and gradually increase it from there, getting to a point where I felt happy with my body image and also strong enough to not shy away from relatively normal exertion. i.e. helping a friend move a sofa for example.

I decided the local park was a good place to start as there are bars everywhere and I enjoyed being outside. I am not a fan of most gym environments and wanted to build my own confidence, physically and mentally, without feeling self conscious surrounded by mirrors in an enclosed environment, so the parks were the perfect solution.

The main differences from previous workouts prior to the operation was the ‘pace rate’ at which I did each exercise, as well as the quantity.  Each set was done in a smooth controlled manner and I didn’t push myself further – avoiding the mentality of ‘just one more rep’ for example. The purpose was to not continually increase but rather to get to a comfortable level and maintain it, which is what I still do today.

Instead of training twice a week I discovered that every five days, or thereabouts, was enough time to rest whilst not losing the momentum from the previous workout.  I realized that by maintaining a regular smooth breathing rhythm and controlling each exercise slowly, it would not only make me stronger but aid quicker muscle recovery whilst putting less strain on my body and ultimately my heart.

What I love about this routine is you can do it anywhere, no gym required, just a bar or anything to support yourself (whilst away on holiday I used a tree branch for example). The below routine is what I worked out to build strength and definition.  I welcome you to make any changes you see fit to suit your own requirements.  I would encourage the basis is in using your own body weight and remember to always feel comfortable with what you’re doing.

I do the following routine:

Start with various stretches to warm and loosen up the body

First set:

Stomach crunches focusing on the core by lifting the hips and legs upwards with a flat back.

Between each set of exercises, pause and breathe, remaining in control of your breath. Feel yourself breathing, and acknowledge how the heart is pumping and your body is tingling. When the moment comes, do the next exercise, do not rush into it, and feel the muscles as you do it. It’s important to also notice if there is tension elsewhere in the body and release it. For instance, when I do crunches I have to remind myself to relax my neck and shoulders and release the tension.

30 press ups with arms wide

10 pull ups (it’s nice to hang onto the bars for a moment after the 10th as a form of stretch)

9 tricep repetitions using two stumps to hold body weight

6 bicep curls hanging from the bar

Second set:

20 stomach crunches bringing head and legs up together

50 body twists whilst holding legs up to maintain balance (25 each side)

20 stomach crunches bringing head and legs up together

20 press ups with arms in close

5 press ups with arms wide

10 pull ups

9 tricep repetitions using two stumps to hold weight

6 bicep curls from a bar

That’s it!