Recovering from an extended period of being bedridden due to surgery, illness, or a condition like long haul COVID-19 can be challenging. The process of returning to full functional fitness requires patience, determination, and the right approach. In this guide, we’ll discuss the best way to regain fitness and strength, highlight potential setbacks, and provide important warnings to ensure a safe and efficient recovery. Remember that the journey to fitness is not linear and may involve plateaus, but with time and effort, your body will adapt and improve.
- Consult your healthcare professional
Before you begin any exercise program, consult your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional. They can provide personalized advice based on your medical history, the type of surgery or illness you experienced, and your current health status. Your doctor may also recommend a physical therapist or exercise physiologist to help you design an appropriate program for your specific needs.
- Start with gentle mobility exercises
The first step to regaining functional fitness is to work on your flexibility and mobility. Start with gentle stretching exercises for your major muscle groups, and perform simple range-of-motion exercises for your joints. This will help you regain some basic movement patterns and prevent stiffness or muscle atrophy.
- Incorporate low-impact cardiovascular exercise
Once you have improved your mobility, it’s time to incorporate low-impact cardiovascular exercise into your routine. Start with activities like walking, cycling, or swimming, as they put less stress on your joints and are less likely to cause injury. Begin with short sessions of 5-10 minutes and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time, as tolerated by your body.
- Gradually introduce strength training
As you regain cardiovascular fitness, you can begin incorporating strength training exercises into your routine. Start with bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges. Once you have mastered these movements and feel comfortable, you can add resistance by using light dumbbells, resistance bands, or machines. Progress slowly, focusing on proper form and technique, and avoid lifting heavy weights until you have built a solid foundation of strength.
- Include balance and stability exercises
To improve your functional fitness and reduce the risk of falls or injuries, incorporate balance and stability exercises into your program. These exercises can include single-leg stands, heel-to-toe walking, and using a balance board or stability ball. Practicing these movements will help improve your proprioception, which is essential for overall balance and coordination.
- Listen to your body and adjust your program accordingly
As you progress through your recovery, it’s crucial to listen to your body and adjust your program as needed. If you experience pain, discomfort, or excessive fatigue, scale back your workouts or take additional rest days. Remember that the recovery process isn’t linear, and there will be setbacks and plateaus along the way. Be patient and allow your body to adapt at its own pace.
- Warnings and things to avoid
- Avoid high-impact activities like running or jumping until your healthcare professional gives you the green light.
- Don’t rush into intense workouts or lifting heavy weights, as this may cause injury or impede your recovery.
- Steer clear of any exercises or movements that cause pain or discomfort, and consult your healthcare professional if you have concerns.
- Stay hydrated and ensure you’re eating a balanced diet to support your body during recovery.
- Stay positive and maintain perspective
Finally, it’s important to stay positive and maintain perspective throughout your recovery process. Understand that progress may be slow, and setbacks are normal. Keep your expectations realistic and remember that your body has an incredible ability to adapt and improve over time. Stay patient, stay focused, and trust the process.
In conclusion, regaining fitness and strength after being bedridden requires a patient, methodical approach. By following these guidelines and working closely with your healthcare professionals, you can safely and effectively transition from being bedridden to achieving full functional fitness. Keep in mind that setbacks and plateaus are a normal part of the journey, and staying positive and patient will help you stay on track. As you progress, celebrate your achievements and trust that with time, dedication, and proper guidance, you will reach your fitness goals and regain your strength and health.