Safe Exercise After Heart Surgery

October 15, 2020 10:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

One growing field of physical therapy is post-cardiac surgery physical therapy in Napa County, CA. People who undergo heart surgeries will eventually want to increase their activity levels and get some exercise, but it’s important to do so in a safe, supervised manner.

Recovery time after heart valve surgery or cardiac bypass can be anywhere from six to eight weeks, but every case is different, and so too is the type of activity you can expect to enjoy during and immediately after that recovery. You should always be sure to follow the specific guidelines provided by your cardiologist or surgeon.

During the recovery phase, you’ll be limited to low levels of activity. Before you can get back into your usual exercise regimen, you’ll need to get comfortable with some everyday activities.

Here are some tips for safe activity after you’ve gone through heart surgery:

  • Steps and stairs: You are allowed to climb stairs after heart surgery, but you will need to take it easy, limiting yourself to a single flight at first and being sure to stop and rest if you get tired. You can gradually increase the number of stairs you climb and reduce breaks as you recover and regain your strength.
  • Lifting items around the house: You will experience sternum soreness for a couple months after your surgery, and your doctor will recommend you avoid lifting anything more than five to 10 pounds during your recovery until they tell you otherwise. This will allow you to perform most of your basic household chores, such as washing dishes, doing the laundry or performing light cleaning, but you should avoid straining yourself with heavier objects. Get help when you need it. Whenever possible, avoid lifting items over your head.
  • Aerobic exercise: You should always create a plan with your cardiologist for returning to aerobic exercise before you begin. Low-level walking will likely be the first step to get you back into aerobic exercise. You will need to go through a structured rehabilitation program before you’re able to advance to higher-intensity aerobics. Once you get there, you’ll focus on aerobic activities that work your lower body. The best ones are rhythmic exercises that can be performed over an extended period of time—walking on a treadmill or cycling on an exercise bike are both great options.
  • Back to the gym: You should not go back to the gym until you have received clearance to do so from your cardiologist and any therapists you’re working with. Any self-guided exercise programs you participate in after you complete your early therapy are best performed under the supervision of trainers who have experience in working with people with heart problems. Make sure any gym you go with has all the necessary emergency protocols in place so you can feel safe should a worst-case scenario arise.

To learn more about everything you need to know regarding returning to exercise and getting PT after heart surgery in Napa County, CA, contact the team at Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy.

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