Post Operation Diet & Exercises
Your Exercise Program at Home
When you leave the hospital, keep doing the exercise program that your physical therapist taught you. Walking and doing your exercises will help:
Your digestive, respiratory (breathing), and circulatory (blood vessel) systems recover from surgery
- Reduce your risk of having complications such as pneumonia, swelling, and blood clots
- Increase the amount of oxygen that your heart receives, which will help it heal
- Improve your strength, balance, and energy
- Improve your mood and help you sleep better at night
Your goal is to be walking 30 to 40 minutes every day by 6 weeks after your surgery. To get the best results from your walking program:
- Warm up before you walk and cool down afterward. Stretch or do gentle exercises for 5 minutes before and after you walk. This will allow your heart and breathing rates to increase slowly before you walk and decrease slowly afterward. Begin walking often for short amounts of time, and slowly increase your time. When you first get home after surgery, walk 3 times a day for about 5 minutes each time. Every week, increase the time you walk by about 3 minutes.
- Exercise at a low to moderate level for 6 weeks. It is important to pace yourself when you resume activity. Slow down or rest if you are working too hard. You can monitor how hard your body is working. Some of these ways are:
- Taking your pulse. Your pulse will tell you how hard your heart is working. It is important that your heart rate does not increase to more than 20 to 30 beats per minute above your resting heart rate.
- Monitoring your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) on a scale of 0 to 10. When you are exercising, think about how hard you are working, or how much effort it is taking for you to continue the activity you are doing. Rate your effort on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being lowest exertion and 10 being highest exertion. If you are working between levels 3 and 5, you are exercising at a low to moderate level.
- Talking to someone. You can use your breathing to guide how hard you should exercise. You should not be so out of breath that you cannot carry on a conversation while you are exercising.
What to Eat?
What to Eat?
You may notice that you have a poor appetite and find that food has lost its flavour. Your sense of smell may change and you may also experience a strange metallic taste in your mouth. This can be caused by the operation or your medication and can take 2 months to fully recover. Try to eat small amounts of food often. A healthy diet provides your body with plenty of heart-protective nutrients – like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre. Ideally, your diet should include:
- Meat – and/or meat alternatives such as eggs, paneer, tofu, legumes and nuts
- Fish– 2 serves of sauté fish per week will help you get plenty of heart healthy omega-3 fats
- Whole-grains– Good wholegrain choices include whole meal or wholegrain bread or crackers, brown rice, whole meal pasta, quinoa, barley, rye, oats, polenta and couscous
- Dairy– preferably low fat
- Healthy fats– A small amount of healthy fats and oils from nuts, seeds, avocado
- Water – Avoid sugary soft drinks and restrict water intake to around 1.5 litres a day
Aim to consume 2 serves of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables and 4 or more serves of whole grains – depending on your energy needs. Some other tips to help you eat well include:
Reduce your salt intake – Use as little salt as possible when cooking as this will help to lower your blood pressure and help prevent fluid retention
Avoid sugary foods– These are often eaten in place of healthy foods and can contribute to weight gain