Health and Fitness Surgery

Getting into Shape After Hip Replacement Surgery

Running, skiing, and martial arts have kept me physically fit for most of my life. However, when my new desk job took a hectic turn I had little time for exercise. Daily workouts became weekly workouts. As my work hours lengthened, my workouts ceased altogether.

Then, during a visit to my orthopedic surgeon for hip and joint pain I was informed that due to degenerative bone disease I needed to have hip replacement surgery as soon as possible. When asked what “as soon as possible” meant, my doctor said at the earliest available opening…two weeks later. During our subsequent conversation, the doctor commented that my years of athletics had helped prevent my having hip replacement surgery years earlier.

I left his office mulling over my upcoming surgery. I kept thinking, ” Why did I stop working out…because that was when I began feeling pain? Well, what can I do to prepare for this surgery in two weeks?”

I felt extremely foolish that I had stopped exercising because that was what kept going and I did not experience pain for a long time despite sweating it out, which was the main motive for me to work out each day without fail but now with surgery looming around, I looked up hip flexors info online to get a feel of what lay in store. 

I shared my concerns with a friend who had undergone hip replacement surgery. He suggested that I use my treadmill and walk slowly to avoid hip pain. I followed his advice and took it a step further. I purchased an Ab Lounger Ultra and began using that slowly each morning.

Two weeks later I underwent a total hip replacement. The day after my surgery I slowly walked the hospital halls with the aid of a walker. The next day the doctor released me with post-surgery instructions and directions for physical therapy, which began the following week. My doctor also urged me to continue walking inside my home while using the walker until I felt strong enough to use a cane. (The walker lasted two days because I kept bumping into the furniture when maneuvering about the house.)

I religiously followed my doctor’s orders, and those of my physical therapist, who showed me which exercises I could do. Interestingly, some of the exercises were the same ones I performed when coaching track and teaching martial arts. (Please see the exercises listed at the end of this article.)

The therapist started me slowly on exercises that could be completed while lying on the bed and standing on a step. (We used the bottom stair so I could hold onto the banister for support.) After the first week, my daily therapy sessions included walking short distances outdoors with my cane. Happy with the progress I was making the therapist released me two weeks later. She encouraged me to continue my exercises and my walking, but cautioned me about walking outside alone until the doctor felt I was strong enough to pick myself up if I happened to fall.

Complying with doctor and therapist’s requests, I walked faithfully, until I went back to work and fell into the same hectic pace I endured prior to my surgery. I was unaware of my weight inching upward until one day three months later when I tried on my swimsuit. It didn’t fit!

Determined to get the weight off, I sat down and developed a workout plan that fit in with my chaotic schedule. I also decided to document everything that I ate and drank. Then, I checked with my doctor to ensure that my plan would not negatively impact my recent surgery. With his approval I began my goal of losing the weight.

I started with the simple stretching exercises performed in physical therapy. Then, I slowly began (1.5 -2.0 mph, no incline) walking ¼ a mile a day, on my treadmill. After the first week I moved to ½ mile a day, and increased ¼ mile each week thereafter. During this time I also slowly increased my walking speed to no more than 2.4 mph. I found that walking faster than 2.4 mph negatively altered my gait and placed pressure on my hip.

I incorporated the Ab Lounger Ultra and simple weights into my routine. Careful not to damage my hip, I began the beginner’s exercises on the Ab Lounger Ultra. Curls, and other exercises using 2-pound weights followed my Ab Lounger Ultra exercises. Every two weeks I added another Ab Lounger Ultra exercise, and increased my weights by one pound.

It has been a slow process, but several months later I have altered my eating habits, increased my walking to several miles a day, and shed my post surgery weight. I feel much healthier than I did prior to my hip replacement surgery. Although I have an artificial hip, and am no longer able to run or perform high martial arts kicks, I have found that walking and using the Ab Lounger Ultra have increased my energy level and helped me shed unwanted pounds.

I am more determined than ever to maintain the healthy lifestyle that I had prior to my hip surgery. Now, if only my artificial hip didn’t set metal detectors off when I go through the airport!

Ankle Flexors:

  • Sitting in a chair or lying in bed.
  • Bend ankle up toward body as far as possible.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Point toe away from your body.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Do 15 repetitions and switch to other leg.
  • Do 2-3 times per day.

Heel Slides:

  • Lie on your back in bed.
  • Bend your knee and slide heel up toward your body toward knee. Keep heel touching bed as you slide it.
  • Hold for 0 seconds and slowly relax.
  • Repeat 15 times and then switch to other leg.
  • Do 2-3 times per day.

Hip Abductors:

  • Lie on your back in bed.
  • Spread one leg out as far as you can.
  • Hold it for 0 seconds and slowly relax.
  • Repeat 15 times and then switch to other leg.
  • Do 2-3 times per day.

Hamstring Curls:

  • Face table and hold onto it for support.
  • Stand with legs straight.
  • Slowly bend your knee.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and slowly lower leg.
  • Repeat 15 times and then switch to other leg.
  • Do 2-3 times per day.

Standing Heel Lifts:

  • Face table and hold onto it for support.
  • Stand with legs straight.
  • Rise up slowly on your toes, so heels are off the ground.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 15 times, 2-3 times a day.
Nicole Hennig
Nicole Hennig
Nicole Hennig is a freelance writer, content writer, blogger, and also a photographer. She graduated from the University of Caloocan in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015.

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