6 Abdominal Recovery Exercises After a Hysterectomy

Exercises after a hysterectomy
Looking to get back in shape with safe abdominal exercises after a hysterectomy?

This Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist information helps you with:

  • Safe abdominal exercises to choose after a hysterectomy
  • When to start your exercise routine
  • How many exercises to perform

6 Abdominal Recovery Exercises After a Hysterectomy

The following deep abdominal exercises can usually commence with your surgeon’s approval to recommence general exercise after hysterectomy.

These abdominal exercises are ideal to practice and prepare your body before hysterectomy surgery and train:

  • Abdominal strength and tone
  • Support for the lower back, lower abdomen and pelvis
  • Good posture for after surgery

Abdominal Exercise 1

Deep abdominal muscle activation exercise (i.e. switching it on)

Learning the correct deep abdominal muscle activation technique is the key step for safe and effective abdominal exercise after hysterectomy surgery.

Starting Position

  • Sitting, standing or lying down
  • Align your spine so that your lower back has a normal or slight inwards curve
  • Place both hands over your lower abdomen so that your fingers rest just inside your pelvic bones

Action

  • Gently draw your lower abdomen inwards away from your fingers so that you are aware of a gentle tension developing in the lower abdominal muscles
  • Your upper abdominal muscles stay relaxed throughout this exercise
  • Maintain your abdominal contraction for up to 10 seconds before relaxing completely
  • Keep breathing normally throughout his exercise

Exercise Variations

Practice deep abdominal activation in various positions; lying down flat, on your side, sitting (chair or exercise ball) or standing upright

If you’re still unsure how to correctly activate your abdominal muscles, watch this video below

Abdominal Exercise 2

Heel Slides

Starting Position

Commence lying on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the supporting surface

Heel Slides

Action

  • Activate your abdominal muscles (Exercise 1)
  • Extend your right leg slowly straightening your right knee to slide your heel along the supporting surface
  • Maintain your deep abdominal contraction throughout and breathe normally
  • Return your right leg to starting position
  • Relax your abdominal muscles
  • Repeat this exercise with your left leg

Abdominal Exercise 3

Bent Knee Fall Outs

Starting Position

Commence lying on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the supporting surface

Bent Knee Fall Outs

Action

  • Imagine that you have a glass of water balanced on your left knee
  • Activate your lower deep abdominal muscles (Exercise 1)
  • Maintain your deep abdominal contraction throughout and breathe normally throughout
  • Slowly lower your bent right knee down to the right side of your body keeping your pelvis stable
  • When you sense your pelvis starting to roll to the right return your right knee back to your starting position
  • Repeat this exercise moving your left leg out to the side

Abdominal Exercise 4

Seated Heel Dig

Starting Position

  • Sit on an exercise ball or a chair
  • Lengthen your arms by your sides with your palms in contact with the ball
  • Position your knees and feet approximately hip width apart
  • Start with both feet flat on the ground
  • Lengthen your spine and lift the crown of your head towards the ceiling

Heel Dig ExerciseAction

  • Activate your deep abdominal muscles (Exercise 1)
  • Keep your abdominal muscles activated as you extend your right leg to touch your right heel softly to the ground in front of the ball
  • Return your right leg to starting position
  • Try to keep the ball from moving and your hips stable throughout the action
  • Repeat moving your left leg out in front of your body

Abdominal Exercise 5

Seated Knee Lift

Starting Position 

  • Sit on an exercise ball or a chair
  • Lengthen your arms by your sides with your palms in contact with the ball
  • Position your knees and feet approximately hip width apart
  • Start with both feet flat on the ground
  • Lengthen your spine and lift the crown of your head towards the ceiling

Knee LiftAction

  • Activate your deep abdominal muscles (Exercise 1)
  • Keep your abdominal muscles activated as you lift your right knee towards the ceiling so that your right foot lifts off the ground
  • Try to keep the ball from moving and your hips stable throughout the action
  • Repeat moving your left foot off the ground

Abdominal Exercise 6

Standing & walking with abdominal control

It’s important to practice using your deep abdominal muscles as you stand and walk. Your deep abdominal muscles provide support for your internal wound and your owe back. Using these muscles can help to decrease abdominal discomfort when you are moving.

Starting Position

  • Stand tall lifting the crown of your head towards the ceiling and lengthening your spine.
  • When starting out you may like to place the pads of your fingers inside of your pelvic bones to feel your lower abdominal wall

Action Standing

  • Use the same deep abdominal activation technique already described in Exercise 1
  • In standing practice activating your abdominal muscles standing and counting to 10
  • Breathe normally as you throughout this exercise and then release your abdominal muscles gently

Action Walking

  • When you are confident that you can maintain your deep abdominal muscle exercises standing, practice walking slowly with them activated.
  • Practice short walking intervals throughout the day keeping your deep abdominal muscles gently activated.

When Can I Start Abdominal Exercises After a Hysterectomy?

Abdominal exercises after a hysterectomy start when you’ve been given medical approval to recommence general exercise. This can vary from one woman to the next depending upon general health, individual recovery,  the surgical procedure used and the surgeon’s preferences.

Some women are permitted to start gentle deep abdominal muscle activation during their early recovery to help minimize hysterectomy side effects.

Other women are advised to wait until their 6 week post operative review or even longer.

When abdominal exercises are commenced they always start gently and progress gradually over time.

Always be mindful of the need to avoid unsafe abdominal exercise after hysterectomy.

How Many Abdominal Exercises Should I do?

Commence with 1 or 2 repetitions when you first start out and see how your abdomen feels during and after your exercises.

Gradually progress the number of repetitions over time towards 10 abdominal exercises in a row.

Exercises after a hysterectomy should always be free of discomfort. If you notice any discomfort associated with any abdominal exercises after hysterectomy, stop them immediately and wait until recovered before recommencing.

If in the unlikely event you continue to experience discomfort with exercises after a hysterectomy seek health professional advice.


INSIDE OUT – PELVIC FLOOR SAFE EXERCISES

Inside Out Book & DVD

with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Michelle Kenway

Learn how to exercise and avoid exercises that overload the pelvic floor after a hysterectomy.

Inside Out book and DVD is a complete exercise solution for women seeking to exercise safely after pelvic surgery.

READ MORE NOW

 


Comments

  1. So glad I found this website! I am 2 weeks post op from a vaginal hysterectomy and had only been told what I CAN’T do! The only info I was given was at my pre-op assessment, and that was on the premise that I was having repair work done for vaginal and rectal prolapse aswell as the hysterectomy. Turns out I only needed the hysterectomy, but upon re-reading my discharge notes just yesterday, I found out I still have a slight vaginal prolapse. I was told nothing on my discharge, only that my surgeon would see me in 8 weeks! I have no check -ups before then, so finding your website has been invaluable. My only question is when can I start the safe abdominal exercises? I have been basically doing my everyday activities from 4 days post op ( joys of single parenthood!!) as I have been feeling absolutely fine! I even played tennis with my 10 year old ten days post op with no side effects. I am very bad at sitting still and have even got back on my exercise bike today for 20 minutes. I know everyone heals at a different rate (I was back to doing most things a week after a caesarean), but is it safe for me to start these ab exercises 2 weeks post op?

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says:

      Hi Elena

      Thanks for your comment. Most women are advised to avoid general exercises for around 6 weeks post op. but this can vary from one doctor to the next so make sure you have your doctor
      s approval to exercise. The important thing is to make sure you use the right technique and avoid intense core abdominal exercises long-term where possible. This is especially important with prolapse and the history of hysterectomy surgery to avoid overloading the pelvic floor.

      All the best for you recovery!