Having a major surgery can be a life-altering event, especially if you’re someone who loves to exercise.

A major surgery can also impact the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself. Of course, this does depend on what kind of surgery you had. However, even missing two weeks of your fitness routine can make it seem like you have never worked out before.

Here’s how to get back into your fitness routine after having a major operation.

Design a Fitness Strategy

Prior to your surgery, you need to speak with your doctor and create a fitness strategy. Major operations can impede on your level of endurance, so you need to know when you can resume working out. You also need to know which exercises are permitted.

Having a fitness strategy makes resuming regular exercise easier. It can help to reduce injury. After all, you’ll most likely still be recovering, so pushing yourself is not advised.

Eat a Healthy and Well-Balanced Diet

When it comes to resuming exercise, your diet also needs to be adjusted. While sedentary, you should focus on eating smaller portions of healthy food. Avoid eating the same caloric content you did prior to surgery.

Lack of physical exercise combined with a high-calorie diet can lead to unwanted weight gain. But once you are cleared to resume exercising, your diet should also be changed. Increase healthy fats and protein to meet the caloric needs.

Be sure to consume various fruits, vegetables and grains. While the occasional splurge is okay, you want to stay away from junk food, like soda, fried food and high-calorie desserts. You also need to consume the right balance of carbohydrates and Omega-3.

Always Listen to Your Doctor

Regardless of the operation you had, your doctor will give you post-operative instructions on how to manage your recovery. Unfortunately, some patients don’t take their doctor’s orders. As a result, they end up in the hospital with recurrent injuries or post-surgical complications.

Listen to your doctor and follow the instructions, even if you are feeling better. If you have any questions regarding what you can do while recovering, be sure to give your doctor a call.

Take Things Slow

Even minor surgery causes trauma to your body, so you need to give yourself time to heal. Trying to exercise too soon can lead to major setbacks, which means even more downtime. If you’re feeling better, reach out to your doctor and nurse and let them know. They may change your post-operative instructions, depending on the time frame and your physical exam.

Recovering from a major surgery takes time. And even when you feel like you are back to your old self, you still need to follow your doctor’s orders.