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How To Rebuild Your Strength After Abdominal Surgery

abdominal surgery

After you’ve had abdominal surgery, you might be keen to get back moving again in order to rebuild your strength. It’s important to wait until you’ve had sign-off from your surgeon in order to get moving again before starting any exercise, as not doing so can hugely set back your recovery. 

Recovering from abdominal surgery will consist of rebuilding your stomach muscles, particularly any muscles which may have been involved with the surgery. No matter what surgery you are recovering from, whether it’s a cesarean section, hernia repair or a cosmetic procedure such as a tummy tuck, it’s important to remember that exercise can make a huge difference to your recovery.

A lot of abdominal surgery procedures result in weakened abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, which can lead to pain and digestive issues. However, exercising after abdominal surgery shouldn’t impact your wound or surgical area, so long as you wait until after you are cleared for surgery. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some ways in which you can rebuild your strength following abdominal surgery. 

Moving Following Surgery

Getting up and moving is likely to be the last thing on your mind after abdominal surgery, but you will be encouraged by your surgeon to get up and stalk walking around your hospital room, or to the bathroom and back, once it is safe for you to do so. 

Getting up and walking will help you to strengthen your abdominal muscles, as they will contract in order to help you stay upright. You’ll also increase the blood flow around your body, which in turn increases the volume of oxygen getting to the wound which helps with proper healing. Once you’ve gotten over your initial groggy feeling, look to get up and walk a few times a day – remember, this doesn’t need to be long walks, just a few minutes here and there can make a huge difference to your recovery. 

Consider Some Gentle Strength Exercises 

Once you’ve left the hospital, you’ll likely be feeling a bit better and keen to further progress your recovery. Be sure to leave it a few more days in order for you to get some quality rest whilst in your own home, but then, once you’re feeling a bit stronger, it might to time to start looking into doing some gentle strengthening exercises. Of course, this is only once your doctor signs you off for exercise!

Gentle yoga and pilates moves can do wonders for your abdominal strength and can help promote healthy healing. Here are some gentle exercises that you can use to help improve your abdominal strength. 

Plank Pose

Lying on the floor in a prone position, lift your body off the floor using your arms and toes. Then, stretch from your heels through to your shoulders, making sure to keep your body in a straight line, keeping your stomach contracted. Try to hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. If, on the first attempt, you can’t manage to do 30 seconds, try not to get disheartened. Build your way up to 30 seconds by doing this exercise every 2 days. 

Four-Limp Staff Pose

Starting from the above plank pose position, lower your body an inch or two until it is horizontal to the floor. Keeping your stomach contracted, try to hold the pose for 30 seconds. 

Nonyoga Isometric Pose

Sitting in a sturdy chair with back support, tighten your abdominal muscles – almost as if you’re preparing to be punched. Then, press your fingers into your stomach as you tighten your abdomen, holding for 15 seconds at a time. 

Build Up Resistance

As you start rebuilding your strength, check with your surgeon or doctor as to whether you can start incorporating more strenuous exercises using an exercise ball or resistance bands. Building in resistance exercises after abdominal surgery can further strengthen your muscles, helping with your recovery. 

Some simple exercises include doing crunches in which you are lying on an exercise ball, whilst another is leg lifts, using a resistance band wrapped around the arches of your feet in order to tone and isolate the muscles below your waistline. 

Situps, bicycle leg movements and flutter kicks are exercises which can be done whilst lying flat on the floor, but be sure to keep your lower back flat on the ground. Incorporating these exercises into your day-to-day routine can help speed up your recovery significantly. Remember, only exercise and build up your abdominal muscle strength when you have signoff from your doctor or surgeon in order to avoid causing injury to yourself. 

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