Skip to content

Improving your cardiovascular fitness and strength will make your recovery from surgery quicker. You will find it easier to get back on your feet and use any mobility aids you require such as a frame, stick or crutches and to walk independently. Building up the muscles around your joint prior to surgery will help support your new hip or knee after your operation and help in your recovery.

When increasing the amount of exercise you do choose activities most suited to your current level of fitness and your lifestyle and slowly increase this as your fitness improves. If you are new to exercise or feel limited by your medical problems start gently with exercises in the home, swimming or by adding short walks into your daily routine. Ideally the level of exertion should be such that it raises your heart rate and makes your breathing a little faster.  If you can manage to fit this into your routine consistently you will begin to feel that the activity becomes easier over the course of a few weeks as your cardiovascular fitness improves. You will then be able to increase the difficulty to achieve further improvements. Some suggestions for strategies to improve fitness and current government guidelines can be found by opening the link below.

Keeping Active


Increasing your physical fitness in preparation for surgery

The following series of videos are designed and created by NHS Grampian and shared with Glasgow Royal Infirmary with their kind permission. They are designed to help explain the benefits of improving your general health and fitness prior to surgery.  

Pre-operative Exercise Advice

An introduction to the benefits of increasing your physical fitness prior to surgery and some suggestions as to how to do this.

Warm up, home-based exercises and cool down

A member of the physiotherapy department within NHS Grampian takes you through a series of very gentle exercises that you can manage in your own home to begin increasing your strength and fitness prior to surgery.

Walking to Fitness

A patient awaiting abdominal surgery describes her journey to increased fitness through walking in the areas local to her home.

Increasing activity levels and fitness

A patient who is used to regular exercise but is awaiting knee replacement surgery describes the different ways in which he has managed to increase his fitness despite his knee pain.