Exercise

Why is getting moving again important?

After being in hospital for a period of time, your muscles will be much weaker than normal and you will certainly be less fit than you were.

It is important to get back to your previous level of activity or possibly aim to be more active!

How will I know if I am less fit than I was?

  • You will find doing everyday jobs that you used to do easily, tiring.
  • Walking up and down the stairs may make your legs ache and you may be quite short of breath.
  • Going for even a short walk, is exhausting.

Why is doing some exercise important?

  • By being active and starting some exercise you become stronger and fitter. You may notice your tiredness increase and some breathlessness at first but these should improve the stronger you get; this is a normal response to doing more exercise for all of us.
  • You will feel better in yourself and can do more of the things that are important to you.
  • Regular activity will help to minimise pain and stiffness in joints and will help you regain muscle strength.
  • Being active during the day may help you sleep better.
  • Over time regular exercise will help you manage chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • The more time spent being physically active, the greater the health benefits.

What can I do after discharge from hospital?

  • It is important that you start being active as soon as possible after discharge from hospital. This will help improve both your mental and physical health
  • It is likely you will only be able to manage small amounts of exercise and activity at the beginning of your recovery.
  • Regular physical activity along with eating well can help you recover, build your muscle strength and become independent again.

How do I start being active again?

  • Start slowly and build up your level of activity over time.
  • Try to do little and often, allow rest between activities and don’t overdo it.
  • Reduce sitting time. Try standing up every hour and marching on spot.
  • Set yourself small goals that you can do in the day. You can start with small tasks such as making a drink or something to eat.
  • Aim for a daily walk. Do walk with someone until you are confident to go out on your own.
  • Try making a walk part of your daily routine to give your day structure.
  • Don’t worry if you need to stop and rest, that’s a normal part of recovering and getting strong again.

What should I be aiming for with my walking?

  • You should aim to build up to 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week, but this is not going to happen at the beginning of your recovery.
  • Take your time and build up as you feel you can and aim to do a little more each day.
  • Choose a good time of day (when you are not too tired) to go for a walk.
  • You might want to think about times when routes are a little quieter (early morning or evenings).
  • Wait an hour after eating a meal before you exercise and take a drink with you.
  • Walk with someone until you feel confident to be out on your own.
  • You might want to walk with a friend but you must maintain distance between both of you.
  • Start with just walking for five minutes without stopping (or less if you feel breathless and tired).
  • Gradually build this up, by one or two minutes.
  • Once you can do 10 minutes without stopping aim to do two 10 minute walks a day.
  • Once you can achieve three 10 minute walks aim for two 15 minute walks.
  • Gradually progress to a 30 minute walk.
  • Once you can walk for 30 minutes without stopping, you can begin to build up your speed.