Syracuse Area Health – Strasburger Orthopaedics

Staying Fit After An Orthopaedic Surgery or Injury

The best way to stay fit is to eat right and exercise … but what about when you’re sidelined because of an injury or surgery? Learn how to keep boredom eating to a minimum and work out from your couch.

If your mobility has been affected by an injury or surgical procedure, you may not be running two miles every day or making sure you get that protein shake every morning. However, the fastest road to getting back on the track, the green, or the field is making sure you maintain your health throughout your recovery.

Exercises you can do with limited mobility

It may be tempting to Netflix binge your way through the 6-12 weeks it can take to recover from a surgery or injury, but try these exercises while you watch (with your doctor’s approval, of course!)

  • Leg lifts. Sit on a chair or couch with good back support, and lift your leg up until it is parallel to the floor. Hold for a slow count of five, and lower it slowly. If your knee has been operated on, simply repeat reps with the non-affected leg.
  • Arm curls. Small weights can be great for keeping your arms strong. You can sit at a table with the back of your hand touching the table op, and curl up until you knuckles bump your shoulder. If you had shoulder or elbow surgery, you can repeat reps with your strong arm only at first.
  • Core exercises. You can do most bending and rotation exercises associated with Pilates or yoga in a modified from a seated position. Use your stomach muscles as much as possible, and don’t forget to work on your breathing.

Conquering cravings during recovery

When you live an active or athletic lifestyle, your body gets used to a certain caloric content – but if you suddenly stop burning so many calories, you have to cut back. Here are some ways you can keep your appetite under control while you’re house-bound.

  • Purge the house of junk food. If it’s there, it will be a struggle not to eat it. Don’t buy big bags of chips – if you have a Pringles craving, get the small single serving can as a special treat.
  • Stock up on health easy to prep and eat snacks. Now’s a perfect time to learn to love veggie sticks and dip, trail mix, and other healthy between-meals foods.
  • Use a smaller plate. You can naturally get smaller servings if you just use a smaller plate. This is a great way to make it look like your plate is piled but you’re actually eating less. 
  • Slow it down. Eating slowly can let your food have time to hit your stomach and keep you from overdoing it with seconds.

Making sure you adapt our exercise and nutrition plan so you can maintain optimal health is a key part of a rapid recovery. With these tips at hand, you’ll be ready to dive back into your favorite activities without worrying about muscle loss or extra pounds.