Stepping into surgery: How preoperative walking reduces postoperative complications
(NaturalHealth365) Surgery is not something anyone wants to embark upon, but it is often necessary throughout our lives. We can do a lot of things to improve our odds of going into surgery, including quitting smoking and drinking and maintaining a healthy weight.
Researchers at the University of Milwaukee decided to see if walking could have a positive effect on postoperative healing. Their research focused on surgical patients who walked 7,500 steps or more per day and evaluated their healing time and their occurrence of postoperative complications. While we all know the benefits of walking are tremendous, the question is: Does the research indicate an even greater benefit for people undergoing surgery? Let’s look at how the study was conducted, what the results say, and how it may impact you for any future surgeries you might have.
The remarkable benefits of walking reach beyond what we know
Walking, a seemingly mundane activity holds a treasure trove of benefits that extend far beyond what we commonly acknowledge. Among these hidden advantages lies the remarkable endurance of the muscles at the back of your legs, which are actively engaged during walking. Their ability to resist fatigue is close to astounding, making it a sustainable activity, provided you have an adequate supply of energy in the form of food and water. Barring any discomfort originating from your feet, it becomes an endeavor with nearly limitless potential.
What sets walking apart is its unique ability to tap into the body’s stored fat reserves, transforming them into the energy required to power your strides. Since walking doesn’t place an exceptionally high demand on your energy stores, it becomes a sustainable and highly effective method for those seeking to shed excess pounds. This attribute makes it an excellent choice for weight loss, enhancing its reputation as a valuable and often underestimated fitness activity.
Reduce your risk of postoperative complications by up to 51%
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee gathered a cohort of 475 patients who were to undergo surgery for various reasons. The average age of the participants was 57, and each participant was equipped with a Fitbit personal exercise tracker.
The data was gathered by observing the incidents of postoperative complications, which equated to about 12%. That means that roughly 12% of the 475 people experienced some form of complications after surgery, with the majority of them having complications after leaving the hospital.
When the researchers acknowledged comorbidities such as diseases, weight, age, sex, and other variables, the participants who walked 7,500 steps or more per day were 51% less likely to experience postoperative complications.
Walking can save your life
This study, although not specifying the life-threatening nature of postoperative complications, highlights a critical point: walking 7,500 steps per day could significantly reduce the risk of encountering challenges after surgery. The prospect of avoiding surgery-related issues is appealing to anyone, as no one wishes to undergo such complications.
Walking can hold the key to post-surgical recovery, especially for individuals like cardiac patients. For them, walking after open-heart surgery is a crucial practice that can prevent the formation of blood clots, which, if left unchecked, can be life-threatening. Surgery inherently elevates the risk of blood clots, making consistent movement and walking indispensable in keeping blood flowing smoothly and averting clot formation.
While the precise underlying mechanisms are not explicitly detailed in the study, a substantial correlation underscores the importance of walking in mitigating post-surgery complications. However, its benefits do not stop here.
Walking, in general, is an activity that bestows numerous advantages on your health. It can be a reliable ally for individuals with lower back issues, contributing to pain relief and overall well-being. Walking can regulate blood sugar levels by reducing the post-meal spike and blunting insulin release.
Remarkably, brisk walking as part of your daily routine can reduce your overall mortality rate by up to 24%, further emphasizing its value in enhancing longevity.
Whether you are preparing for surgery, striving for weight loss, or simply yearning to bask in the great outdoors, walking stands as a versatile and accessible choice that can considerably elevate your health and vitality.
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