Bouncing back..

There are some circumstances when your doctor will tell you to rest and
recuperate before getting back to your normal activities. There are others, including
after major surgery such as a hip replacement, where you’ll be advised to get up and
about as soon as possible. How quickly you bounce back from sickness, surgery or a
major life event is matter of timing.


Within a few days of the attack.

Mobilisation starts before you leave hospital. A cardiac rehabilitation program is the
best way to resume exercise after a heart attack. You’re aiming for a five- or 10-minute
walk twice a day, progressing over six weeks or so to 30 minuts twice a day. While the
idea of exerting yourself may seem scary at first, it’s possible within a month to be just
as active, if not more, than your were before a heart attack.



HOW SOON? At least a month.
WHY? Stroke happens when blood supply to the brain is disrupted due to a
blocked or bleeding artery. It can leave you with disability. The degree of physical disability is
key: hemiplegia (weakness on one side), loss of vision or impaired cognitive function are all
factors. Even people who feel capable of driving should wait a month to identify any side
effects of medication. We also advise a driving assessment and, in some, a neuropsychological
test for cognitive function.

HOW SOON? A month.
WHY? The procedure used will determine how soom you can do any heavy
lifting. If you have had an abdominal hysterectomy, you’ll have stitches and a stomach wound.
If you’ve had a vaginal procedure you’ll have internal stitches only and with a laparoscopic
(keyhole) procedure, you will have four small wounds in your stomach. Stitches that anchor
your vagina to the ligaments that supported your uterus are present after all hysterectomies
and take about three weeks to heal.

Recovery time after abdominal surgery is longer and you’d be advised not to do any lifting for
four weeks. After a vaginal or laparoscopic procedure in would be two weeks before you start
picking up children, etc.


HOW SOON? Within days for low-impact activities.
WHY? Experts are now saying you should start exercising without delay,
even after reconstructive surgery. Early post-surgery exercise is vital for strength and stability.

The most important muscle for pretecting the knee is the quadriceps. It controls the impact
stress on the joint and is also important in biofeedback (the mechanism controlling communication
between the brain and the knee). How quickly you regain muscle strength dictates how quickly
you can return to normal activity. After surgery, a physiotherapist can help with an exercise
program. Low-impact activities such as freestyle swimming (not breaststroke) or cycling with
the seat adjusted high at the lowest tension are much better.


HOW? About a year.
WHY? Lap band surgery allows massive weight loss by placing an adjustable
band around the top part of the stomach to create a pouch that becomes full with only a small
amount of food. Everyone needs a tummy tuck or removal of extra skin from arms or legs after
gastric banding.

For people who do need surgery, it is best to wait as long as you can, between 12 and 14 months.
For someone who has lost, for example, 60kg in six months – and this is possible to do – we would
not discourage surgery but it’s best to wait because you may well lose even more weight. The
most important thing about obesity surgery is the multidisciplinary approach. During regular follow-ups,
you can discuss the option for plastic surgery and be referred to a specialist when the time is right.


HOW SOON? Six weeks, but a matter of preferences.
WHY? Women who have an easy vaginal birth and some women who have had
caesareans where there has been no vaginal stretching or trauma may find their libido returning
a little sooner than those who have had a more complicated vaginal delivery. Lack of sleep and
breastfeeding can also affect recovery time as both can be taxing.

Hormone changes after birth often leave the skin of the vagina thin and easily traumatised, which
can affect sexual desire. Half of all new mums have resumed sex by the six week postnatal check-
up but not having done so is not abnormal.

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