Walking in the weeks before surgery can help a patient get back on their feet sooner after the operation, Englesbe said.
“It uses core muscles, which are the ones you use to get out of bed after surgery,” he said.
Patients should buy a pedometer and try to gradually increase their steps as their surgery date approaches, Englesbe said. This will strengthen patients’ legs and respiratory system, particularly their lungs and diaphragm.
If it’s cold out, patients can walk around inside their house or at a fitness center to avoid falls.
“If they have any balance problems whatsoever they should avoid unsteady ground or any ice and snow,” he said.
For older patients particularly worried about their balance, Dr. Clifford Ko, principal investigator of the Coalition for Quality In Geriatric Surgery, recommends building strength by sitting up and down in a chair.
“If they can do it pretty easily four or fives times a day, that’s terrific,” he said.