Maintaining a healthy heart is essential so that we can live a full and happy life – but how do you get back to your routine after heart surgery? No matter what type of surgery you’re going through, it can put your body under strain, so resting and recovering properly is key. Read on to find out all you need to know about activities you can and cannot do post-heart surgery.
Types of heart surgery
Having open heart surgery may seem scary – it is a serious operation that will take a bit of time to recover from, but with the best heart surgeon London, you can have peace of mind that you are in safe hands. Open-heart surgery can refer to many different procedures that must be performed by opening the chest. The type of heart surgery that you have depends on the condition that you need to fix, here are some of the most common types of open-heart surgery:
- Coronary artery bypass: This is a surgery that allows blood to flow through blocked arteries as a way of preventing a heart attack. This can also be carried out if you have suffered a heart attack.
- Heart valve surgery: This takes place when a valve needs to be replaced or repaired, it can be a solution to help those with aortic disease.
- Surgery to repair blockages: Sometimes open-heart surgery is needed if blockages are too severe or widespread to be alleviated with stenting.
Once your procedure has taken place, your doctor will let you know what you should expect when it comes to recovery. If you are having a bypass or valve surgery, you might find that recovery takes anywhere from six to eight weeks – but everyone is different! To ensure that you are doing what is right for you and your recovery, you should be sure to follow the guidelines set out by your doctor. This way, you can give yourself the best chance of healing, and you will be back on your feet in no time. So, what is recovery going to look like? Read on as we take a look at what you can and can’t do after your heart surgery.
Activity after heart surgery
Immediately after your procedure, it goes without saying that rest is crucial – but even within the first week, there are a few things that you can do to help your body get rid of the negative effects of surgery, like stiffness and muscle aches. A slow walk on flat ground can ease you in slowly and help with your overall recovery period, so you can regain your confidence.
Because open heart surgery includes an incision to the chest, minimizing any kind of heavy lifting that puts strain on your body is essential. You want to make sure that you give your body time to heal and build your strength back up over time. If, for example, you have to lift something into the cupboard, given it is light, this should be manageable – you should not lift anything heavy above your head, or hold your arms up for a long time. Listen to your body and minimize movements that cause pain.
Recovery is not easy, and even something as simple as climbing the stairs can leave you tired and frustrated, but this is to be expected. Heart surgery is a major procedure, and your body will take a while to regain its strength. When it comes to tackling the stairs, take it a little at a time. Try and walk up just a single flight, to begin with, to get a feel for how your body is coping. Take time to rest if you need to. Remember that each time you manage to go further is a step in the right direction!
This is a great way to work on getting your strength back after your operation and can have many benefits, like rebuilding muscle, endurance and clearing your mind. Walking is accessible for most people, and so it is often suggested to people recovering from heart surgery. Make sure you are comfortable, have a good pair of shoes, and try not to overdo it – a little is better than nothing at all, and you can build up over time.
Cycling & Swimming
These exercises are perfect if you are worried about putting pressure on your joints as they are both classed as low-impact. Swimming is a good cardiovascular workout that gets the blood flowing but can also feel soothing and comfortable – you can go at your own pace and know that you are doing your bit to help maintain a healthy heart. Cycling is becoming more accessible with the popularity of stationary bikes and upright exercise bike which means you can work out from the comfort of your own home. You can start at a lower intensity and increase the speed or resistance as you begin to feel stronger – you can tailor a workout on your bike to suit your needs, whilst building muscle and burning fat.