At the beginning of 2021, a lot of us set goals to achieve in the days ahead. But, did you know
that one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions can actually benefit your surgical

While getting in shape can seems like a tough plan to stick with, putting in the work
preoperatively is definitely worth it when it comes to your well-being during surgery and
recovery. Being in good physical condition can decrease the risk of complications during and
after surgery. Your body has to work hard to withstand surgery and to heal afterwards, so
increasing your fitness level helps this take place safely and effectively.

In her writing about DIEP reconstruction, our patient Shirley explained how beneficial it was for
her to be in good shape before surgery. This turned out to be really helpful in the days following
her surgery because of the extra strength she realized she needed to do normal activities.
“Statistics aside, I cannot stress how much being in shape helped…,” she wrote. “Just getting
out of the hospital bed requires A LOT of leg strength.”

Along with these practical benefits, continuing her fitness plan before surgery also helped her
stay on track afterwards to sustain and appreciate her new body! To read more about Shirley’s
reconstructive journey, click here.

While we do know that exercise can often feel more like a burden than a benefit, you can
change your outlook on working out by doing what makes you feel good! Everyone enjoys
different activities, and finding the kind of exercise you enjoy is the best way to start and stick
with a fitness routine. Our team at the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction has some great
ways that they get in shape and have fun doing it!

Our research assistant Emily loves Zumba, which combines international dance styles with fun
music to create an experience that feels more like a party than a workout! After taking classes,
she became an instructor because she wanted to share the happiness and excitement of
Zumba, while giving others an exciting way to get in shape. Zumba isn’t just a fun dance class; it
also provides essential health benefits for surgery and recovery, such as promoting heart
health, toning and strengthening muscles, and aiding with weight loss.

While some places have started offering outdoor fitness classes or classes with increased
safety measures like social distancing, face covering requirements, and reduced class sizes,
your decision to join these programs during this time should depend on your health and
personal risk of exposure.

If you want an alternative to normal classes, Zumba and other fitness programs offer virtual
classes. Leah and Audrey, our physician assistants, use Peloton to work out in a class setting
from home. With Peloton, they are able to join virtual classes together and have a convenient
and motivating way to exercise safely. They have even been able to start doing these cycling
classes with our patient Joan, providing them with a full body workout, including important areas
used after surgery like the core, back, and legs.

Heading outside can also be a great way to change up a normal exercise routine. Running with
her favorite playlist is our medical receptionist Nikki’s favorite workout, providing a fitness
routine that strengthens leg muscles and joints. She is also able to continue participating in
running competitions and fun runs in a different style, even though many in-person events have
been cancelled. The trend of virtual races this year allows runners like Nikki to continue training
and achieving their fitness goals by competing independently.

With the physical impact of surgery, the experience can be also mentally taxing. Exercise
releases feel-good endorphins to boost your mood and works as a way to relieve stress and
worries. Kayla, our aesthetics patient coordinator, especially incorporates this aspect of selfcare
into her workouts with her at-home yoga sessions. Her yoga routines promote both mind
and body work, increasing her overall strength, flexibility, and heart health, while also
brightening her mood and easing stress.

Fitness is always essential for your overall well-being, and it is especially vital when you are
getting ready for surgery. When beginning a fitness plan, it is important to choose a routine that
is safe, beneficial, and enjoyable for you. Starting slowly and building up gradually with a
workout that is correct for your fitness level helps you achieve your goals and prevent injury.
Remember to not get discouraged, celebrate your little victories, and always be proud of your
hard work!