MV/FIT Movement Fitness

Fast track your recovery from major surgery

Have you recently had surgery or do you know someone that has had or is about to have surgery? Then continue to read this blog to find out ways in which you can fast track your recovery so that you can get back to what you love to do.  

Recovery from surgery is a multi-dimensional process. By that I mean, before and after surgery, you need to best manage all of the areas which can contribute towards optimal healing.  

Commonly, when we think about healing after surgery we think about doing the bare minimum of what the physiotherapist and surgeon tells us.  

In other words, you can easily resign yourself to the sofa, do almost zero movement and eat all the foods which aren't necessarily the best of choices.  

Now this can be good advice if you don't have the knowledge or support network around you.  

However, if you want to learn more about the ways in which you can speed up your recovery, then keep reading below.  


If you are just about to have surgery, I cannot recommend strongly enough about doing prehab exercises to get you as strong as possible around the general area.  

Of course there will be a lot of exercises that you both cannot and should not do. But have you identified the exercises that you can do pain-free to get the area as strong as possible?  

Let's say you are about to have knee surgery. You could focus on working the muscles around the knee joint such as the hamstrings and glutes without further damaging your knee. You could also work the muscles directly but in a safer, more controlled range of motion.   


Follow your rehab plan from the physiotherapist to the tee. Did you know that they have done large controlled studies and in some cases, 40-91% of the patients did not complete the rehab or physiotherapy programme! Essentially doing nothing to help their recovery from surgery.  

So if you can, be ninja-like in your approach and consistency towards following your physiotherapy programme, it will pay massive dividends in your recovery.  

Bonus tip: be proactive and have this ready before you go for your surgery so that you know exactly what to do once you have had it done.   


After a major injury or surgery, this is one of the most imperative times to clean up your nutrition and eat for the purpose of healing well and providing your body with all the nutrients it needs.  

Prioritise eating lots of high quality protein with every meal 3-4 times per day with lots of fresh or frozen vegetables with each meal too. Add healthy fats, good sourced carbohydrates and fibre and you will be onto a winner.  

Breakfast example - swap that bowl of cereal to poached eggs on toast, with some tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach, served with some slices of smoked salmon.  

Also, reduce or eliminate your consumption of processed / junk food, as this can cause further inflammation and slow down the healing process.   


Whilst I won't go into detail about all the possible supplements you could take to improve healing. I will say that by adding some supplements to your diet after surgery, can massively speed up your healing and recovery. Here's two that I used in my recovery:  

1) Fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and provide your body with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in healing.  

2) Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce inflammation and help in the growth, repair and formation of new connective tissue.   

Sauna therapy

Sauna therapy is an outstanding way to re-vitalise and relax the whole body and increase blood flow. The benefits of saunas are wide-ranging including: they train the cardiovascular system, they can relax tight muscles, they can reduce inflammation and improve mental wellness to name just a few.   

Cold water immersion

Cold showers, cold baths or cryotherapy has also been shown to have positive effects on reducing inflammation and re-vitalising the body. Your blood vessels shrink in size in response to the cold known as 'vaso-constriction' and once you get warm again they dilate and open up flushing fresh oxygenated blood into the tissues.  

In summary, as you can see there are a lot of possible ways in which you can fast-track your recovery from major surgery or injury.  

Use these as pillars to enhance your recovery and reap the benefits to getting back to what you love to do as fast as possible.  

P.S. I have been advising clients around what to do before or after surgery for almost 10 years now and I myself have recently had a major hip surgery - so I have both formal education and first-hand experience of the following recommendations which have been the cornerstone of my recovery up to now.  


*Important note - none of the above constitutes as medical advice. Please seek the advice of your doctor / surgeon / physiotherapist.

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