Building Muscles Safely After Surgery

Building Muscles Safely After Surgery

It is impossible to bounce back from surgery overnight. No matter which type of surgery that you have had, it always takes time to get back into shape – and in some cases, to be able to move around without pain. Although it may hurt to do simple things like stand and sit up, laying around and doing nothing can actually make the recovery process last longer.

One of the best ways to begin the recovery process after being operated on is by building muscles. Slowly working on the areas around your stitches will allow your body to heal, while you build supportive muscles at the same time. This is especially important if you have any kind of abdominal surgery, where the core muscles that keep you upright and allow you to catch yourself if you slip and fall, can become atrophied rather easily.

Weight Machines

Using a weight machine rather than free weights allows you more control over several aspects of the work out. For one, you will be able to lift a lighter amount with a weight machine than you would with free weights. Also, you have more support while you lift. With free weights, your posture is important to keeping you from getting injured. If you are using a weight machine and have to drop the lever, because the weight is too heavy, the odds of accidentally dropping it on yourself are very low.


One of the best low-impact exercises is walking. It allows you to slowly build the muscles in your legs back up, while at the same working out your core muscles (which keep you upright) and those in your shoulders as you swing your arms to match your strides. If you cannot walk a long distance after surgery, it is okay to start off with a series of short walks, complete with breaks in between, as you build your body back up.

Stepper Machines

A stair stepper is similar to an elliptical machine, only is does not work out your arms. With a stair stepper, you can adjust the resistance depending on the level of your recovery that you are in. If you are new to the muscle building process, then you obviously need the machine to be on a lower setting, and after that setting seems to get easier, you can set it to be tougher. The best part of a stair stepper machine is that it works out your legs and at the same time your back and abdominal muscles as you go through the motions.

Water Walking

Water walking is an excellent exercise for people who are trying to build muscles after surgery. The resistance provided by the water will work out your core muscles, as well as the ones in your legs. If you need to start out slowly, stick with shallower water (2 to 3 foot depths) and work your way up to the deeper water (the 4 foot depth.) This gives you more control over the exercise. On top of this, water walking is easier on the body than both swimming and water aerobics, making it a perfect exercise for those who are in post-surgical recovery mode.

There are many ways to safely build muscles after surgery without having to worry about re-injuring yourself. All of these will help you bounce back from surgery slightly quicker, as long as you follow your doctor’s orders. No matter what, your doctor and your surgeon know what it is best, and trying to work out too soon after surgery may lead to additional damage.

This post was composed by Terry Wood, a health insurance specialist with US Insurance.