People often get surgery for various conditions and surgery thanks to new and expanding technology, it’s often less invasive than in the past. For example, many types of surgery now involve the use of AI and robotic guidance.
Even with these advances, there is still downtime and recovery time associated with surgery, and many people look to steps they can take on their own to reduce how much time they spend recovering.
What you do before surgery can be an important part of your recovery, and the following are some of the things you can do to prepare.
1. Getting In Shape
Fitness and being somewhat fit before you go into surgery is one of the best things you can do to help your recovery move along more quickly.
If you are already-fit and exercise regularly, then you should likely just continue your routine and perhaps increase your intensity or frequency a bit.
You don’t want to exacerbate any injuries or conditions, but if you can exercise more or with more intensity it will prepare your body for the challenge of surgery.
If you don’t currently exercise, start slowly. You might want to begin with something like swimming or yoga in the weeks leading up to your surgery.
There was research done in Boston that looked at the effects of six weeks of pre-surgery workouts on people who had knee and hip replacements.
They did a combination of strength training, aquatic work, and aerobic and flexibility exercises. The participants who worked out had a 73% lower chance of needing in-patient rehabilitation following their surgery.
2. Make Good Food Choices
Around 50% of people who are hospitalized are malnourished, and when you go into the hospital, it can put you at a nutritional disadvantage.
There are different reasons for this, and many of the reasons relate to their overall intake of food.
When you’re malnourished as a hospital patient, you’re more likely to develop infections and lose muscle mass.
It can also lengthen your hospital stay.
It’s a good idea to start thinking about nutrition well before your surgery, particularly since you might not be eating a lot in the days following surgery.
You want a diet that’s nutrient-rich and is low in processed items.
Some of the nutrients that can especially help with healing include vitamins A, C, K, and zinc.
Foods to eat before you have surgery include healthy protein like fish and chicken, grains like brown rice and quinoa, leafy green vegetables, fruits, dairy, and certain fats like avocado and olive oil.
You should also try and drink anywhere from 64 to 80 ounces of water a day.
Try to have protein with every meal because it can help you maintain muscle mass and promote wound healing.
3. Mentally Prepare
Mental stress and anxiety can be incredibly hard on our bodies in a physical sense. Before your surgery, work to prepare yourself mentally and find healthy ways you can deal with stress.
Maybe you do yoga, which will also help you physically, or perhaps you take up meditation or breathing exercises.
4. Cut Unhealthy Habits
If you have any unhealthy habits – such as smoking, try to make your surgery date something you can use to motivate you to quit.
Maybe your unhealthy habit is drinking a few extra glasses of wine, or perhaps being more sedentary than you should be.
Whatever it is, surgery can actually be a good motivator to cut the habit or get on track in other ways.
5. Get to Know the Surgery and Ask Questions
Finally, you might feel worried or apprehensive about the idea of surgery, and that’s normal, but in the weeks leading up to your procedure, get familiar with it and what’s going to happen.
This will help you understand a bit more about how you can physically prepare and plan for post-surgery recovery.
Understanding the surgery is a bit part of the mental battle and cutting out the fear of the unknown can help you feel physically and mentally better.
Also, use this time to ask your doctor any and all questions you may have.
Get their advice as to how you can best prepare, if there are any medications or supplements you should start or stop taking, and any steps they think you can take to help yourself.
It’s easy to feel out of control in medical situations, but the reality is that we are more equipped to make positive changes than we might realize, including before surgery.
About The Author:
Susan Melony is a freelance writer, digital marketer, and entrepreneur based in Kansas City. She often travels while working, and is passionate about the digital nomad lifestyle.