Two weeks have passed since I had surgery to fix a small umbilical hernia. I am well on the road to recovery, I even managed to go to a trampoline park yesterday with my son for a play date (I had intended on missing out thinking it would be too hard work but the other parents were a big help and lifted Charlie in and out of the car for me). I was aching afterwards but I am glad that I didn’t miss out.
I have put together a plan for the next 3-4 weeks to gradually increase my physical activity and get some strength back in my core.
The Last 2 Weeks
I am really missing my workouts, and although it is very tempting to rush back in to it, I am starting off slow and gradually progressing. I am able to do most normal tasks now – I can drive, I have been for gentle walks over the last few days, and I am able to lift heavier items such as the kettle and the washing basket which I was unable to do a week ago. As you can see from my steps counter on my iPhone I have gradually increased my activity level.
Getting back on my feet quickly has really helped to reduce the water retention and has seen my weight go back down to what it was pre-surgery. My diet hasn’t been great I must confess. The first week I had other people preparing food for me, I had presents of chocolates and biscuits, and more chocolates on Mothers Day. I have still been tracking my food intake on MyFitnessPal and overall I have been eating at maintenance or slightly above. I generally find it easier to eat “healthier” when I am on point with my training – when I am spending less time being physically active I find that I crave more “naughty” foods.
However the last 2 weeks have gone by really quickly, I have been happy with how quickly I have got back to doing normal everyday tasks, the swelling is going down (some still remains above and around my belly button) but I am feeling fit and healthy again with minimal pain. Whenever I have done something that hurts, I have stopped immediately.
My Plan For The Next 3 to 4 Weeks
This week I have begun very gentle core exercises and stretches. It is amazing how many movements and tasks involve your core muscles. My core muscles have ached a lot this week simply because I have been doing more and more physical tasks which have involved using the muscles that I have been resting.
Here are the 3 exercises I am doing this week:
- Sit upright on a secure chair with legs together, facing forward. Turn upper body and face to the right, placing left hand on right knee, and right hand on the back of the chair for support. Hold the position for 30 seconds whilst breathing evenly and deeply. Repeat the movement facing the opposite way. I do this 5 or 6 times on each side.
- Sit on the floor, stretch one leg out straight in front and bend the other leg at the knee. Shift the position until comfortable. Reach for outstretched foot with both hands. Bend gently at the waist, keeping the back straight. Once I feel a stretch in my hamstrings I hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite leg, I perform this stretch 5 to 6 times on each leg.
- Lie on the floor looking up at the ceiling, bend knees and keep feet flat on the floor. Breathing steadily I then exhale and try to touch the floor with my lower back whilst gently lifting my hips up and back towards the chest (a pelvic tilt). I remain in that position for 5 seconds, then rest. I repeat this 10 times.
I will continue to do these exercises 4 to 5 days per week for the next 2 weeks. Next week I am also going to have a gentle swim. The weather has been lovely recently and I have managed to get out for a walk most days, I will continue with that as well.
In 2 weeks time it will have been 4 weeks since my surgery, this is when I will start to perform exercises that I was doing pre-surgery. I will be using extremely light weight and perform a high number of repetitions. I will be aiming to re-acclimatise my muscles to performing the exercises, and then gradually increase the weights that I use until I am back to full strength.
I haven’t directly trained abs/core for a long time because I was afraid of making the hernia worse. Now that I have had it fixed, I intend to train abs twice a week. I will be putting together a plan for this too and will blog about my progress.