Exercises that Can Benefit Aging Adults Recovering from Surgery

By 9  am On


Post-surgery exercises help seniors regain strength and stamina once they’re discharged from the hospital. Most post-surgery exercises begin with a small number of repetitions and build from there as recovery progresses. Regular physical activity after surgery can also increase energy, promote relaxation, and prevent blood clots. Read on for exercise suggestions that can promote a more efficient post-surgery recovery process, and always be sure to speak with your senior loved one’s physician before beginning a new exercise program. 


Deep Breathing 

After surgery, deep breathing exercises are important to keep the lungs healthy. You can guide your loved one through these exercises. Since getting into a seated position without assistance after surgery could be difficult, help your loved one sit upright and let his or her feet hang over the side of the bed. Your loved one should start by taking normal breaths and then work up to taking longer and deeper breaths. Every time your parent takes a deep breath, have him or her hold it for two to five seconds and then exhale as if blowing out a candle. Repeat this 10 to 15 times before moving on to the next exercise. 


Caring for a senior who is recovering from surgery can be challenging. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Potomac, MD, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care Potomac. Our caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.


Ankle Pumps & Circles 

If your loved one had knee surgery or has spent a fair amount of time on bed rest, ankle pumps can reduce swelling, increase circulation, and prevent blood clots. Have your loved one start by rotating the foot clockwise and then counterclockwise while keeping the toes pointed upward. Next, have your parent practice pointing and flexing the foot at the ankle. Make sure the foot fully extends and the toes alternate between pointing toward the body and away from it. These exercises can all be done while in a reclined position on a bed. 



Walking is a great exercise after hip replacement surgery. This type of exercise understandably begins indoors with short distances and the assistance of a walker. When your loved one is able and has a physician’s approval, he or she can begin walking unassisted, although you may still want a caregiver present to help with mobility support if necessary. 

Homecare experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.


Arm Lifts 

The American Cancer Society recommends doing arm lift exercises to reduce swelling and restore arm motion. This is especially important for women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. Your loved one should raise the arm on the side where the surgery occurred above heart level for a total of 45 minutes two or three times per day. This can be done while reclined on a bed, and pillows may be used to hold the affected arm at this height and position. 


Shoulder Shrugs & Head Turns 

If your loved one has had heart surgery, bending the head forward and backward and then side to side is tremendously beneficial. Have your loved one aim for five times each, twice per day, and this type of head movement should restore flexibility and give a boost to posture. 

Older adults who need help maintaining their health while recuperating from surgery should consider professional in-home care. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Potomac families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. Call Assisting Hands Home Care at (301) 960-7892 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.