Ensuring A Strong Recovery
One of the most influential steps you can take to recover strong after hip replacement surgery is participating in strength exercises pre operation. Engaging in specific hip replacement exercises prior to surgery will help you rehabilitate quicker and have greater strength post replacement. There are non weight bearing exercises you will be able to do that will help to build your hip strength even though you may have pain and limited range of motion. You will be able to work around this pain by doing non weight bearing exercises and working with your pain free range of motion. There are numerous benefits to why it is absolutely crucial you do some exercise prior to your hip replacement surgery.
The Importance Of Exercise
Osteoarthritis of the hip can become very painful and leave you with a stiff feeling hip joint where you lose range of motion. This discomfort naturally makes you feel like not doing much of anything and limits your activity. Ironically, light intensity movement that works your joint through a pain free range of motion will lubricate your hip joint and ease some of the pain and stiffness you are experiencing, at least temporarily. Your hip will most likely prefer non weight bearing activity and range of motion exercises where it guides the hip through a small, non painful range. Stationary cycling and swimming are excellent options to engage in pre operation. Be careful of the breast stroke or movements that take your hip through a larger range of motion that may cause pain afterwards.
Not only will participating in gentle range of motion exercises provide some relief for you pre operation, it will also help prevent loss of more range of motion, and help you maintain some cardiovascular conditioning.
Avoiding Muscle Atrophy
Another reason it is important to exercise pre hip replacement surgery, is that the pain you feel causes a decrease in weight bearing and use of the leg with osteoarthritis. This produces a substantial loss of overall muscle strength in your leg sometimes to the point of atrophy which is drastic muscle tone loss. When this happens, if you were to not exercise at all pre operation, it would take much longer to build back strength in the muscles post surgery. This is why it is crucial you do muscular endurance strength exercises pre operation so that you can speed up your recovery time. Again, there are a lot of non weight bearing strength exercises you can do pre operation that will not aggravate your joint and that will help you prevent further strength loss. You will want to focus your strength exercises on the gluteal muscles and your quadriceps muscles.
Maintaining Aerobic Capacity
We have touched on how pre operation exercise can help range of motion and strength, but there is one more fitness component that deteriorates as you wait for your operation and that is your cardiovascular conditioning. As the pain increases in your hip joint and you begin to feel stiffening, all activity including walking decreases; this overall reduction in movement reduces your aerobic capacity. Not only will engaging in light, non weight bearing cardiovascular exercise pre operation make your joint and body feel better, but it will also help to prevent loss of aerobic capacity. In addition, it will help you to manage stress, boost your mood, relax your body, and makes you feel better overall.
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The pool is a great place to do your cardiovascular workout by engaging in either an arthrocize class or swimming laps. You can even get a water belt which allows you to walk or do aqua jogging floating in the deep end; this can be a great workout. Stationary cycling on an upright bike is another fabulous aerobic option for you to keep up your cardiovascular fitness pre operation. One new machine that some gyms will have that has also been suggested as an option is the Nustep. As you can see participating in aerobic exercise prior to your hip replacement surgery will give you great benefits both before and after surgery.
To summarize, what you are most inclined to do pre operation is to decrease activity and move less; however, as you can see here there are numerous benefits of doing cardiovascular conditioning pre operation that make it an essential element to a successful recovery. We have just begun to touch on a few of the safe, effective hip replacement exercises available to you pre operation. Use pain as your guide and always work within your pain free range of motion. You will feel so much better when you engage in exercise to prepare for your hip replacement surgery and it will definitely foster a stronger, quicker recovery post operation.