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exercise after a hysterectomy

Exercise After A Hysterectomy | Essential Top Tips

I have to start this blog by saying you should not consider any exercise until you are signed off by a doctor. Anything said in this blog is irrelevant if your doctor has told you otherwise. Anything your doctor says is more important than anything here.

This is because I can not know anything about your surgery from how it was done, the recovery and personal information about you, such as your age and how active you are. 

If you are signed off and have been given the all clear and your doctor has said to your you can start exercising after a hysterectomy then welcome to this blog : )

I’m Rachel and I had my full hysterectomy when I was 30. You can read more about my personal experience of having a hysterectomy here. 

I have written about weight loss after a hysterectomy, but this is different. Exercise after a hysterectomy should not be just for the goal of losing weight, but for your overall health and wellbeing, both physical and mental. 

I am lucky enough to have a Personal Trainer as a sister so she is going to check over what I write and give it the a-okay from a professionals point of view, but this is my personal experience of exercise after a hysterectomy from running to yoga and exercise after a hysterectomy for the sake of your health. 

How Soon After A Hysterectomy Can I Exercise? 

This will be for your doctor to decide and it is different for every person. It depends on whether you had keyhole surgery or open stomach, as the recovery from a laparotomy is much longer (around 8-12 weeks)

To give you an idea of how long you may be waiting to be signed off, generally speaking those in manual jobs that involve heavy lifting have to wait 6-8 weeks before going back to work.

From my personal experience I have always been pretty active. I recovered quickly from my key hole surgery (around 2 weeks) but I didn’t want to push myself too much. So I walked mostly until around 8 weeks after when I ventured back into the gym. 

As I was pretty active before it wasn’t really new to my body to be in the gym and I was able to resume to ‘normal’ workouts pretty quickly. 

Having said that, my workouts after my hysterectomy were much lighter and more gentle than they were before. 

If you are new to the gym and you have had a hysterectomy I think you should consider a personal trainer. 

To be honest, I would give that advice if you have had a hysterectomy or not, I think learning to use the gym properly is really important, but especially so if you have had major surgery. 

The NHS website states the following about exercise after a hysterectomy:

After a hysterectomy, the hospital where you were treated should give you information and advice about suitable forms of exercise while you recover.

Walking is always recommended, and you can swim after your wounds have healed.

Do not try to do too much as you’ll probably feel more tired than usual.

Do not lift any heavy objects during your recovery period.

If you have to lift light objects, make sure your knees are bent and your back is straight

Swimming – Exercise After A Hysterectomy 

You need to wait for your internal wounds to heal before swimming, as otherwise you risk infection. So wait for your doctor to do an internal examination and sign you off for exercise after a hysterectomy.

Let them know you would like to start swimming as I have heard of cases where people haven’t been given an internal examinations but it is important your inside wounds have healed. 

Once you’re signed off and get in the pool try to take it easy, even if you were a pro swimmer before. Be gentle on yourself and just appreciate the fact that you are back swimming, this is no time for PBs or races. 

I love swimming and this is one of my favourite low impact ways to workout. It is accessible to most people and I would consider it a good starting point for exercise after a hysterectomy. 

You really need to consider resistance training now that you are in the menopause (assuming your ovaries have been taken) in order to help with your bone health and avoid long term issues such as osteoporosis. Swimming is a great all over body work out that combines cardio with resistance training. 

Running – Exercise After A Hysterectomy 

Again you need to be signed off by your doctor, once you are then you should be fine to start running again. Start slow and build up to what you used to do. 

If you have never been a runner before then start with jogs of around 10 minutes and slowly increase it. It is surprising how quickly you build up a tolerance to running but take it easy on yourself and remember you have had major surgery. 

Something else you want to consider is the impact of running on your knees. If you have had your ovaries taken then you need to look after your joint health. 

The best way to look after your joint and bone health is consider low impact workouts such as swimming, yoga and walking and engage in regular strength training workouts.

You should also look at adding supplements into your routine such as magnesium and eating lots of dark leafy greens.

exercise after a hysterectomy

Yoga – Exercise After A Hysterectomy 

This is my favourite workout and I especially loved it as exercise after my hysterectomy. I told the yoga teacher what I had been through and she was able to suggest moderations. 

Most yoga classes are very relaxed too and they will never push you. You know your own body and what it needs and yoga feels like a very safe space to get back into exercise after a hysterectomy.  

You can find lots of easy, chilled yoga classes and I think this is a great way to get back into moving your body after a hysterectomy. 

Weight Training – Exercise After A Hysterectomy 

This is going to be an essential part of your exercise regime after a hysterectomy as it is so good for your joint and bone health.

If you have had your ovaries removed then you need to consider the impacts of early menopause on your body, and osteoporosis is one of them. 

If you are totally new to weight training it is a good idea to get a Personal Trainer to help you for a few sessions until you are confident going alone. If that is not possible financially then consider joining a group strength training class, and letting the teacher know that you are exercising after a hysterectomy. 

Personally I really have struggled with getting into weight training but you start to see the impact if has on your body pretty quickly, and it is really motivating. I have learnt to use the machines in the gym and I find this the easiest way to do my weight training. 

I also think it’s a great idea to find a friend to go with, as gyms can sometimes feel quite daunting. 

Ab workouts – Exercise After A Hysterectomy 

This is an area I would really advise you to seek professional help and find someone who is trained in post surgery abdominal workouts. 

There are so many ways you can work your abs, and it isn’t all sit ups and crunches. Personally, I struggle to do them still but I work my abs in others ways, for example when I do upper body it is also working my abs and when I do yoga, I consider that working my abs too. 

I tried pilates for a while and told them about my surgery experience so that they could advise me on whether I was doing the exercise in a way that is safe. 

At the end of the day, your abs are your ‘core’ and they really are at the core of most of your movements. 

Take it really easy for abs workouts after a hysterectomy and seek advice and specialist help if you can.

Exercise for Self-Care After A Hysterectomy 

Working out is not only good for your body, but good for your mind too. After your hysterectomy you are going to go through a lot of emotional changes and some people experience feeling depressed after a hysterectomy and others PTSD after a hysterectomy

Unfortunately both of these things are pretty common, so we need to look after ourselves. 

The best way to combat both of these is to focus on releasing endorphins in your body, which exercise does for you. 

It is also really beneficial to have something to focus on, such as learning a new skill (like weight training!) or joining a class where you can meet new people. 

Even a short, brisk walk is shown to increase mental alertness, energy and positive mood, as show in this article about mental health and exercise. 

So even if you hate exercise and you don’t feel like it is something you want to do after your hysterectomy, just remember that your mental health will thank you. 

Summary – Exercise After A Hysterectomy 

  • Always wait to be signed off by your doctor 
  • Walking is generally considered safe once you feel well enough
  • Take it easy, work your way up to your previous level of fitness
  • Seek advice from experts if you can
  • Consider regular weight training for bone health 
  • Add magnesium into your diet to help with bone and joint health
  • Consider joining classes and always tell the teacher about your surgery 
exercise after a hysterectomy

I hope this has helped you. I am currently writing this from my dining table ant home and it’s made me think about putting on a YouTube yoga video. I love Cat Meffan on there, if you want a tip! 

If you have any questions you can email me [email protected] and I will be able to get my sister to help you out if need be

Rachel xx

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