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Mojo's Mom
08-27-2010, 09:14 PM
I've been told that I need to get into the best possible aerobic condition before surgery, and I'm curious what others have done.

I'm currently doing 45 minutes on an elliptical trainer 3 times a week, and 30 minutes of swimming 3 times a week. I can't walk any distance without pain due to a pinched nerve at L5 that sends intolerable pain down my left leg.

How fit do I need to be? Am I doing enough?

Surgery is, I hope, more than a year out.

JenM
08-27-2010, 10:15 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum. I booked my surgery in November 2009 and just had my surgery this past June. I decided in Sept 2009 I was going to have the surgery and I wanted to get in the best possible shape. I had my second child in 2007 and never lost the baby weight. From Sept '09 to June 2010 I lost around 40 pounds. Then after surgery I lost another 20 (due to meds, I lost my appetite). Anyway, I think it's good that you get in the best possible shape that you can. All I did is walk on the treadmill 5 days a week, for 35-40 minutes and ate pretty good. I cut out all the sodas and fruit drinks, basically just drank milk, water and OJ. Also ate smaller portions. Was shocked the 40 lbs came off so fast. I also had pain limiting me on how much I could exercise. For the past 3 years, I have had throbbing foot pain (which I believe is coming from the S-I joint in the back) which really flares up when I walk, but due to the fact I was having an upcoming surgery, I fought through it and put up with the pain.

So good luck with your workouts. I would definately try to lose some weight as I believe it would be harder to take off the weight once you have the hardware in your back. You'll feel much better. Exercise will also help to alleviate some of your anxiety about the operation, at least it did for me.

Good luck!!

JenM

debbei
08-28-2010, 03:16 AM
I walked 5-6 times per week prior to surgery, about 45 min to one hour each. I think I was in good aerobic condition at the time.

Editing to add, if you're looking to lose weight now, remember you'll probably lose some post-surgery. I think I lost 15 (due to pain meds and low appetite) over the first few months, but then once I started eating regularly :) it came back.

debbei
08-28-2010, 03:21 AM
Hi and welcome to the forum. I booked my surgery in November 2009 and just had my surgery this past June. I decided in Sept 2009 I was going to have the surgery and I wanted to get in the best possible shape. I had my second child in 2007 and never lost the baby weight. From Sept '09 to June 2010 I lost around 40 pounds. Then after surgery I lost another 20 (due to meds, I lost my appetite). Anyway, I think it's good that you get in the best possible shape that you can. All I did is walk on the treadmill 5 days a week, for 35-40 minutes and ate pretty good. I cut out all the sodas and fruit drinks, basically just drank milk, water and OJ. Also ate smaller portions. Was shocked the 40 lbs came off so fast. I also had pain limiting me on how much I could exercise. For the past 3 years, I have had throbbing foot pain (which I believe is coming from the S-I joint in the back) which really flares up when I walk, but due to the fact I was having an upcoming surgery, I fought through it and put up with the pain.

So good luck with your workouts. I would definately try to lose some weight as I believe it would be harder to take off the weight once you have the hardware in your back. You'll feel much better. Exercise will also help to alleviate some of your anxiety about the operation, at least it did for me.

Good luck!!

JenM

Jen,
did your foot pain go away? I know that initially you said it did, but then thought you felt it again during your early recovery? Here's hoping it's gone for good.

FYI, it's not harder to take weight off with hardware in the back. At this point for me, it's easier because I feel so good. My surgeon thinks it is very important to exercise regularly post-surgery as well. Since my spine has totally fused, I can do normal exercises with absolutely no problems or pain whatsoever. I've been exercising regularly since this past January and lost about 15 lbs. I'm happy with how I look AND how I feel now.

Yesterday at my zumba class, one of the men said, 'oh Debbe your back must be feeling REALLY good; look how you're jumping!' :) That made me feel really good. I feel normal now.

Mojo's Mom
08-29-2010, 09:40 AM
I am 5'10" and 125 pounds, so I don't think I had better lose any weight!

I was more concerned about getting into shape in terms of aerobic fitness and overall strength.

KathK
08-29-2010, 10:54 AM
Hi,
I had also walked about 4-5 times a week for 3-4 miles each time. I was never "a runner" :-).

In addition, about 7 months prior to my surgery, I started to use weight machines at the YMCA about 3 times a week. I really focused on increasing the strength in my arms, legs, and abdomen. I had no back pain prior to surgery, so this was not hard for me to do.

The year prior to my surgery, I had lost about 20 pounds.

Went I had my pre-opt with Dr. Lenke, his focus was solely on aerobic exercise. I believe that the surgeons want your heart and lungs to be strong for the surgery.

I'm surprised now that though I still weight the same 123 lbs I did prior to surgery, but weight seems to have moved from my legs (muscle tone is way down) to my abdomen (swelling). Oh well, this will hopefully resolve itself over time.

I still believe that it is good to have strong arms to lift yourself up and out of chairs (triceps important).

Mojo's Mom
08-29-2010, 03:21 PM
Kathy, my spine specialist said the same thing about stressing aerobic exercise, and I assumed the same reason you say, they want your circulatory system strong for the surgery. I've just been wondering how much is enough and what other people have done. Probably the more, the better.

And strength makes sense, too.

Pooka1
08-29-2010, 04:23 PM
If I was getting in shape for surgery, I would NOT eat this...

http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com/?p=461189619

or this...

http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com/?p=239234457

:)

debbei
08-29-2010, 06:07 PM
If I was getting in shape for surgery, I would NOT eat this...

http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com/?p=461189619

or this...

http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com/?p=239234457

:)

Sharon,
I think I"m going to be sick...especially after looking at #1!!

Pooka1
08-29-2010, 06:17 PM
Sharon,
I think I"m going to be sick...especially after looking at #1!!

Me too, especially because I've been a vegetarian since April 1981. :)

Susie*Bee
08-29-2010, 06:20 PM
Mojo's Mom-- my surgeon explained to me that since this is a stressful surgery that can last several hours, it is very taxing on the patient. He said it is important to go into it with your heart in fairly good condition. You don't have to workout like a super jock, but he told me to at least do some stationary bike or treadmill exercising for those last few months that would work my heart. So I worked diligently to do that. Any aerobic workouts are great. Some of us can't do strenuous stuff, but we can still get our hearts pumping while sitting on a bike (recumbants are pretty good for bad backs) or walking faster on a treadmill. As far as dieting, for overweight people-- it's good to lose a little weight, but not at the cost of good nutrition. You need to be in good condition that way, also, when you head in for surgery. So those of you who want to diet, do it in a wise way. I lost about 20 lbs. prior to my surgery, but following Weight Watchers, with my surgeon's ok. BTW, I did not lose any with my surgery and in fact gained back some. Best wishes to all of you with surgeries coming up. You'll get through it all fine.

JenniferG
08-30-2010, 04:05 AM
Leading up to surgery we kayaked on weekends and I walked about 4 x week. In the fortnight before surgery, we went on holidays and we kayaked or power walked every day for about 4 hours. I haven't regained that level of fitness though I still walk and we kayak occasionally. The fitness had me feeling as though I could tackle anything and the fear of surgery was greatly diminished.

Confusedmom
08-30-2010, 08:39 PM
One surgeon also suggested I do pilates and yoga to work on flexibility before surgery.

So, I think cardio is most important, followed by strength and flexibility training. In the ideal world we'd all be working out multiple hours a day, but personally I'm going for about five sessions a week, 45 min to 1 hr each, always including cardio and trying to incorporate other elements as well.

Evelyn

Back-out
09-01-2010, 07:10 PM
This is a GREAT thread!
Thank you.
(Now I feel so "holy" from reading it, I don't have to actually DO anything today...:rolleyes:)

jrnyc
09-01-2010, 08:51 PM
oh my gosh, JenG...if i could kayak, i swear i'd forget the surgery! :rolleyes:

i used to go to the gym 3-4 times a week, even when i worked 2 jobs!! (i was devoted!)
then when the pain got so much worse, i could barely go at all, even when i wasnt working!!
i can no longer do the recumbent bike, the one that i worked my way up on for a total of 60 minutes at a time....and the weight machines...especially the lower body ones...long gone...

congratulations that you could ever kayak...
(from a city girl who hardly knew what it was til i looked it up! ) :)

jess

osumike
09-02-2010, 05:05 AM
Although I've kind of been slacking off on it, I've been doing P90X for the last couple months. Its pretty intense and it has alot of core exercises. Its actually a really good all-around workout. I think I paid about $60 for it on ebay, and about $25 for the resistance bands. Its definately worth checking out if you want to strengthen your core or arms or whatever before surgery.

golfnut
09-02-2010, 02:53 PM
This is a good thread. I have 4 months to go and probably should kick it up a notch. I go the the Y for Turbo Kick,Bodyworks,machines, etc. and have no problems keeping up, but I know I couldn't run a mile without stopping and walking part of the distance. I know this could be a goal for me, but then I am wondering if that would be hard on my knees! I also ride my bike almost daily. To be in good enough physical condition, should I be able to jog at least a mile? I'm not overweight, so that isn't an issue.
Also, I enjoy a glass of wine (or 2) several nights a week with my husband/and or friends. I know that I will not have any alcoholic beverages after surgery when I'm on pain meds, but would like to continue to have a cocktail if we go out to dinner or a glass of wine at home now. Was anyone told not to drink (alcohol) in the months before surgery?

JenniferG
09-02-2010, 03:38 PM
Hi Jess. If I hadn't had the surgery, it's very likely my kayaking and lots more would have been gone from my life fairly soon. My pain was increasing, as was my curve. I didn't want it to get any worse...too much to do!

Kayaking is easy - but it's good for core muscles as well as back/shoulder/arm. It's actually harder for me now, because sitting with my legs straight out in front of me, I tend to tilt to the left. But it's Spring here now and we'll be going more often, so I'm hoping my core muscles will regain their strength and fix that problem.

jrnyc
09-02-2010, 06:57 PM
hi JenG
that is SO amazing to me.... i dont think i could have gone kayaking in my twenties! and my back never bothered me back then!! no, i KNOW i couldnt have!!
native New Yorker that i am, i'd be thrilled at this point to take a walk thru Central Park...where we preserve the trees in Manhattan :)

hope you get better and better and able to do more and more!

jess

Mojo's Mom
09-02-2010, 08:01 PM
I know I couldn't run a mile without stopping and walking part of the distance. I know this could be a goal for me, but then I am wondering if that would be hard on my knees!

I wouldn't run, if I were you. The impact is not a good idea. I ran for 25 years, until my spine specialist pointed out that the condition of my discs could make the difference between fusing to the sacrum or not, and strongly recommended that I quit running. I did, and I miss it every day...but at this point I have too much pain to even think about running. The elliptical trainer works very well for me, as does swimming. I just hope I'm doing enough. I would like to work up to an hour on the elliptical machine, and 45 minutes of swimming, each three times per week.


Also, I enjoy a glass of wine (or 2) several nights a week with my husband/and or friends. I know that I will not have any alcoholic beverages after surgery when I'm on pain meds, but would like to continue to have a cocktail if we go out to dinner or a glass of wine at home now. Was anyone told not to drink (alcohol) in the months before surgery?
I don't know, but I can't imagine that alcohol would be a problem prior to surgery, and if I can't have a glass of wine with dinner after surgery I'm going to be pretty upset. Everyone I know who takes narcotics for chronic pain also drinks a little, so I hope I can do it. I don't expect to tolerate the narcotics well, though, and I pray I can get off them soon and before they become addictive. My husband uses narcotics for chronic pain, and I've seen what a toll they take on him.

golfnut
09-02-2010, 08:13 PM
Stephanie,
I ran 3/4 a mile on a track today that is somewhat cushioned. I was thinking that I may not be doing enough at my classes at the Y. Our indoor track at the Y is also cushioned, but it would probably be smarter and safer to use the elliptical at the Y for cardio instead, like you mentioned. I liked your comment about a glass of wine. I'm giving up golf for over a year which is going to be really tough since I play almost every day, so I at least want to have a social life with my friends and hubby-not that I have to drink to have fun . . .

jrnyc
09-02-2010, 08:21 PM
not trying to be a killjoy, here...but drinking with pain meds is a very bad idea!!! (no matter who or how many do it) it is then very easy to forget what/when one took a pill, or two...it also has an effect on one's breathing, etc...
i was a drug/alcohol counselor as my social work specialty...i am not anti drinking or anything...i like to party once in a while too...
just a warning about how fast it can impact the body...and brain!

jess

golfnut
09-02-2010, 08:43 PM
I definitely will not have a drink while on pain meds. I'm smarter than that. Recoverying and being as healthy as possible will be my main goal post-surgery.

Jacque's Mom
09-03-2010, 08:38 AM
Kayaking is the one thing I can do without any problems. Day to day activities generally my muscles will flare up, buy never when I kayak. I can't do any exercise except walking, which I do all the time working in the city. Everyone's body reacts in a different way.