Week 4 - Getting Active

Why movement is important before surgery

Keeping active while you are waiting for a joint replacement is a great way to prepare yourself for a successful recovery from surgery. Regular movement will help strengthen the muscles that support the joint and it keep the joint itself more flexible. Flexible joints and strong muscles are better able to accept the new joint. Research shows us that people who are active leading up to surgery have shorter hospital stays and have a quicker and less painful recovery following surgery. This means the outcome from surgery is better and you’re more likely to get back to doing the things you like sooner.

Keeping active is a great way to maintain good health. Any activity that gets you breathing more quickly, and your heart beating faster helps to improve the way your heart and lungs work. It is important that your health does not decline while waiting for surgery, so you are better able to handle the physical demands of the procedure and the recovery period.

Keeping active can also help you maintain a healthy weight. This helps to ease the load going through the joint which can reduce joint pain and improve mobility. Keeping active is also a great way to relieve stress, improve mood, and boost energy levels and confidence, which can be important while you’re waiting for surgery.

Getting started

It is difficult to be active when you have joint pain, but inactivity can lead to the joint becoming more stiff and painful which makes it harder to be active. Many people spend 7 hours or more inactive, so it is important to break up any long periods of time sitting with movement. We know it can be hard to take the first step but if your symptoms allow you to move your joint it is worth giving it ago even if you are having to limit the range of motion of the joint.

It is recommended that you aim to do 150 minutes of activity that makes you slightly short of breath each week. You can break up the activity throughout the week, so it is more manageable. This may seem daunting at first, so start slowly and gradually build up over time.

Many things you do in daily life will probably count towards activity you do each week. Like, walking to the local shops or doing housework and gardening. However, you may choose to do more structured activities like going for a walk or following an exercise session you can do at home. Whatever you choose to do to be active, ensure they are activities you enjoy and are right for you to help you keep on track.

Staying motivated

Keeping active will be difficult. It is better to do a little bit each day than overdo it one day and need to completely rest the next. If you can’t do the activity you intended, come back to it when you feel ready and do as much as you feel you can and what your symptoms will allow. Keep an eye on how your body feels. If pain lingers from an activity, make it easier next time.

You may not be able to do everything you did in the past. Explore new activities until you find what you like. If an activity feels like a chore, it will be much harder to keep doing it, but if it’s something you enjoy, you may look forward to it instead. If you are struggling to be active, there may be times you could be active while doing other things, like watching television. Including activities in your everyday life can distract from the pain from movement and help it feel less like a chore.

Involving family and friends can be really beneficial. There will be times when you really feel like you do not want to move. Inviting a family or friends can help motivate you to go out when it is difficult. Also, doing activities with company is more enjoyable and you’ll be more likely to continue doing it. They will be happy to support you knowing how beneficial it is to you and how hard it can be.

Try to make some activities apart of your daily routine to help develop a habit of movement. You might find it useful using the Active Wait Activity Tracker to record and schedule your activities.

Dealing with Difficult Days

Try not to be hard on yourself on difficult days. Some days will not be as good as others, and it is okay if something isn’t as it should be. Your condition can be changeable, so don’t let this make you feel defeated or disappointed. Even doing a small amount of movement on bad days can make such a difference and is something to be proud of. It is important not to lose motivation. Try not to worry about when difficult days happen and just think tomorrows a new day to try again. It’s a difficult thing to do. Every little bit helps so give yourself credit for even the smallest victories.

Your weekly exercises

Click the links below to see this week's exercises. You will need to do just one level. Start on the foundation level, and if you find it easy click on the intermediate and advanced exercises for a more difficult version.