5 Lifestyle Changes to Promote Health After Surgery

5 Lifestyle Changes to Promote Health After Surgery

If you’re facing the possibility of surgery, especially a major surgery, you may be wondering what steps you might be able to take to aid in recovering from surgery. Performing your assigned physical therapy and listening to your doctor are, of course, essential steps, but there are other lifestyle changes that you can make in order to have long-term surgical success in recovery. These lifestyle changes won’t just help you get back to your previous health after major surgery, they will also help your overall health in the long run and can help decrease the chances of you needing more surgery in the future. Here are five lifestyle changes to promote health after surgery.

1: Check Your Posture

Bad posture is so common that it’s become a perennial joke across the internet, but did you know that bad posture can impede physical therapy and reduce the effectiveness of some kinds of surgeries? Back and leg surgeries are especially prone to healing in odd ways if you don’t have proper posture. Checking your posture and ensuring that you don’t slouch or hunch while sitting or standing is a simple but powerful lifestyle change that can greatly improve your back health and quality of life after surgery.

2: Keep Moving

In the immediate aftermath of surgery, you will probably be physically incapable of keeping up with your previous exercise routine. Physical therapy will give you a kind of structure in the early stages of your recovery, but it’s important to not slack off when it comes to movement even when your physical therapy ends. Staying seated all day encourages stiffness, which can become even worse in the aftermath of surgery on tendons or muscles. Stiffness and tight muscles contribute to back and muscle pain, creating a cycle where, if you don’t make sure to maintain some movement, you will be less likely to get back on track with your exercise routine in the future. Stretching and finding an exercise routine that works with your body in the aftermath of surgery are essential in recovery and overall quality of life.

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3: Maintain Your Diet

In the aftermath of a major surgery, you may find yourself depending on quick, easy meals, which tend to be frozen, processed, and otherwise less than healthy. Putting on excess weight can put a strain on still-healing surgical sites and muscles, increasing the chances of complications and slowing recovery. In addition, not maintaining a balanced diet means that your body won’t have the vitamins, minerals, and protein that it needs to recover. Research simple but healthy meals before you go into surgery so that you will be able to maintain a healthy diet even while recovering from a surgery.

4: Hydration is Key

Dehydration is another common lifestyle problem that can have major consequences in the aftermath of a major surgery. Dehydration affects every aspect of our bodies and therefore of our lives, from our quality of sleep to mental sharpness, but the key aspect that affects you post-surgery is how dehydration hurts your muscle tissues. In short, when you’re dehydrated your muscles and other tissues create and store lactic acid, which leads to sore, stiff muscles. This can then affect your physical therapy and other exercise routines, impeding recovery. In order to combat dehydration, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol and keep a bottle of water with you to remind you to drink regularly and before you actually feel thirsty.

5: Get Enough Sleep

Your body does an immense amount of work to maintain and repair itself while you’re asleep, and this need is only greater after major surgery. In addition, pain from your surgery and even some medication can negatively affect your nightly sleep cycle, leading to lethargy and napping during the day. In order to promote continuous sleep, avoid caffeine in the afternoons, turn off screens for two hours before you plan on going to bed, and establish a regular sleep routine. Your post-surgery body and your overall well-being will thank you.

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