Activities such as walking and even changing positions in bed help promote circulation. Good blood flow discourages the formation of blood clots and enhances healing.
Standing up, walking and doing your post-operative exercises may help speed up your recovery and minimise complications.
Repeat the following exercises at least once every hour after surgery. It’s a good idea to practice them before surgery as well, to increase lung function and agility.
The first night after surgery, with the help of your nurse or physical therapist, sit up and dangle your feet and stand at your bedside. This may hurt, but will get easier each time. Each day you will notice your strength returning and less pain.
You will be asked to get out of bed and walk the first day after surgery. After that, you will need to walk at least three times per day and perform your leg and breathing exercises hourly. You may not feel well enough to go for a walk, but it is very important to try your best and do as much as possible.
Your nurse will teach you how to cough and breathe deeply, and you will be shown how to use an “incentive spirometer” to help you expand your lungs. Coughing and deep breathing helps loosen any secretions that may be in your throat or lungs and helps prevent pneumonia. Deep breathing also increases circulation and helps to eliminate anaesthesia.
Inhale as deeply as you can and hold your breath for two seconds and then exhale completely. Repeat three times.
Hold a pillow on your abdomen for support. Inhale deeply then cough. The cough should come from your abdomen and not from your throat. Repeat three times.
Push your toes towards the end of the bed and then pull them up, then relax. Circle each ankle to the right, then to the left. Repeat three times