Exercise After Heart Operation: What And How Much?
Immediate postoperative period (after heart operation) is not the time for heavy exercise schedules. The aim is to get back to routine lifestyle and be active. Let your body decide how much you can exercise! In the first two weeks, walking indoors for 10 minutes each 2-3 times a day along with mild stretching and deep breathing exercises as prescribed by your doctor would suffice. By this time intensity of pain and other discomforts would have settled significantly.
After first follow up visit, most patients are advised to walk outdoors and increase the time and speed of walking. By about 4 weeks one should aim to do 1 kilometer gentle walk (in about 30 minutes) daily. Gradually the speed can be increased. By 8 weeks most patients are able to walk 2 kilometers in 30 minutes. Remember, these guidelines differ depending on the pre-operative condition of the heart and the capacity of the heart to exercise. So ask your doctor what is suited for you.
Generally, one can get back to normal activities and do full weight bearing on hands by 10-12 weeks. Continue the stretching and breathing exercises. Shoulder joints should be given special attention, as inactivity can make this joint very stiff. This can lead to painful Shoulder Periarthritis or Frozen Shoulder.