Exercise is key for good physical and mental wellbeing.

Your body has to work hard to recover from surgery. In fact, having surgery has the same effect on your body as exercising; it increases your heart rate and your blood flow. This is your body’s repair process. It needs more oxygen to recover in the early days after surgery. People with higher physical fitness are able to meet this demand more easily. This means their bodies cope better with the stress of surgery.

An introduction to exercise before surgery

You can ‘train’ your body for surgery like an athlete trains for a sporting event.

Improving your fitness, even a little, lowers your risk of complications and can lead to a smoother recovery. Big improvements in your fitness can be made within as little as 2-4 weeks.

  • Drink fluids to keep hydrated during exercise
  • Focus on the correct technique for each exercise
  • Set yourself reasonable targets
  • Aim to exercise for (or build up to) 150 minutes of moderate activity a week
  • Find someone to exercise with – it’s more fun!
  • Push yourself, but not too much!
  • Be active every day. Take the stairs rather than the lift, get off the bus a stop early, or add an extra walk into your day.
  • Build your activity up step by step. Any exercise is better than none. Start slow and build-up over time.
  • Set a goal of working towards doing 150 minutes or more of moderate intensity exercise (e.g. a brisk walk, dancing, gentle swim) a week, or 75 minutes of high intensity activity (e.g. jogging, swimming, cycling) a week – or a blend of the two.
  • Do strengthening activity two days a week (e.g. light weights, resistance body, or using your own body as resistance).
  • Reduce the time you spend sitting or lying down.

Remember to be realistic about your goals, and exercise safely

There are lots of places you can get help with exercise. Whether that’s getting started, keeping up the momentum, or making sure you’re doing things safely.

We also have a library of exercise videos on this website that you can use to help you.

Your GP may be able refer you to exercise schemes at your local gym, or your local council may offer free services to encourage activity. Be sure to check the local council’s website, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Additionally, there are many smartphone applications that can help you improve your activity levels.

Exercise videos.

Welcome to the exercise video library. It is split into two sections.

The first series of videos explains the programme and the types of exercise included. Please watch these videos before starting the exercise programme.

The second series of videos shows how to do the exercises safely. If you have any questions about these exercises, please contact the Waiting Well team for advice.

Introduction to exercise

These three videos explain how the exercise programme works. They tell you about the types of exercises included in the programme. They also show how to perform these exercises safely.  Watch these before starting your exercise programme.