Staying fit after undergoing a hip replacement is particularly important since excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to more pain and make it difficult for you to regain and retain your range of motion after surgery. While you may not be able to engage in all of the activities you did before your hip replacement, as soon as your doctor allows there are many ways to safely improve your fitness level.
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Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and helps you stay fit by burning calories and engaging your muscles. After a hip replacement, certain aerobic activities, such as high-impact aerobics, running, or sports that require a lot of jumping, put too much stress on the joint leading to pain and injury. Low-impact exercise, such as walking, riding a bicycle and swimming helps you get the cardiovascular workouts your body needs to stay fit and healthy without putting excessive pressure on your hip.
Strengthening exercises help build muscle tissue to help you stay fit and lean. Exercises that strengthen your hips, thighs and core muscles are particularly important following hip replacement surgery. Using resistance bands while moving your leg to the side and forward and back helps strengthen your hip flexors. Working out with weights, machines, bands or performing other strengthening exercises for the other muscles in your body contributes to a fit body by increasing muscle mass, which burns calories to help trim excess fat.
Gentle stretching improves your flexibility and range of motion. While stretching all of your body's major muscle groups is important, it is particularly vital to pay attention to your hip muscles after a hip replacement. Many people who undergo hip replacement surgery suffer from hip bursitis, a condition that causes swelling and pain from the fluid sacs around your hip joint. Stretching after your warm up and cool down when engaging in aerobic exercise prevents your muscles from tightening after exercise, which can lead to hip pain.
Talk to your doctor before exercising after having hip replacement surgery. Most patients start light strengthening and range of motion exercises while still in the hospital, but doing too much too fast can lead to severe injury. Be mindful of your condition when exercising. While it's important to maintain a healthy weight after surgery, you shouldn't exercise to the point of pain. Always wear cushioned shoes that support your arches when walking or engaging in other low-impact exercise to absorb the shock and take the pressure off your hip.