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PREHABILITATION - THE VALUE OF GETTING STRONGER BEFORE SURGERY

Do you have hip or knee surgery approaching? If so, there is often discomfort from moving about and trying to get all of your daily activities completed. Just getting through the day can be hard work, never mind the idea doing additional exercise. Unfortunately, because of this having major surgery can be associated with a significant decline in functional capacity for some people (i.e. an inability to do the tasks or activities people find necessary or desirable in life).


Enter 'prehab'.


“Prehabilitation (or prehab) is the practice of enhancing a patient's functional capacity before surgery, with the aim of improving postoperative outcomes”. (1)

Often in the lead up to surgery, movement of the joints through gentle exercise and improving strength is highly recommended and considered preferable when compared to being sedentary before surgery and focusing only on exercise in the recovery phase post-op.


The stronger the muscles are prior to an operation, the stronger they will be after the operation. Stronger muscles, in conjunction with a good range of motion will improve joint function. Therefore, if you can execute a regular prehab-based exercise program, you can gain a big head-start for your recovery. A physiotherapist and experienced physical therapist should be involved to choose the right exercises depending on you and your injury.


Doing prehab-exercise with the appropriate professional guidance may leave you feeling much stronger physically and more resilient mentally and emotionally to tackle what lies ahead. Also, somewhat rather counter-intuitively doing this type of exercise can lead to less pain before surgery.


Of course, the detail of the exercise program depends on the person, and the type of operation and should be undertaken with the guidance of a suitably qualified professional. In many cases, exercise adaptions can be made to suit individual circumstances.


Some positive postoperative outcomes can be things like preventing falls, cycling or walking pain free, doing the gardening, playing with grandchildren, being able to be an active part of our communities and so on. Very importantly, often it can mean retaining independence. Here at AgeFIT, we think a positive postoperative outcome means being able to do those activities and tasks that give our lives meaning.


I have worked with a number of people recently who have performed a specifically designed exercise programme regularly (3-4x per week) in the lead up to a knee replacement. The joints have been moved with good technique, and the muscles around the joints have been strengthened without excessive load . Due to feeling better and suffering less pain, in conjunction with their specialist, surgery has been delayed and options are being reconsidered. If they decide to go ahead with the operation, they feel much more positive about having the operation and their recovery.


Regardless if you are pre or post operative, or suffer from joint pain, movement and strength is a great place to start.


If you want to talk about the content of this article, please contact me at scott@agefit.nz.


Scott Falconer

Here at AgeFIT Home, we provide video routines and live-stream classes of strength and balance exercises specifically for seniors. Scott Falconer has a Bachelor of Health Sciences from Massey University and is a certified functional aging specialist. He has been providing functional aging classes for seniors for 7+ years. Our exercises are designed especially to be the building blocks you need So You Can do the things that give your life meaning, because you feel stronger, more mobile, more balanced and have more confidence.


We offer a try before you join our membership option, so you can participate in our exercise routines and experience the benefits of them before you join. To learn more about this access - click HERE. For more information or if you have questions, please contact us at info@agefit.nz.

The content of this article is the personal view of the author, and is not intended as medical advice. The author is not a licensed medical professional, and this article is not specific medical advice. We recommend that if you have a pre-existing condition, which may be affected by low impact exercise, we recommend you seek the advice of your doctor or specialist before commencing any of our exercise routines.


Sources:

(1) Oxford Academic - Prehabilitation - Pele Banugo- https://academic.oup.com/bjaed/article/17/12/401/4083340



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