Are you unsure how much walking is safe after a hysterectomy?
Walking after a hysterectomy is usually one of the best forms of exercise for promoting recovery and avoiding side effects.
This Physiotherapy video and information teach you:
- Benefits of walking after a hysterectomy
- Physiotherapy week by week walking guide after a hysterectomy (Weeks 1-7)
- Safety tips for safe walking after hysterectomy
Hysterectomy Recovery Exercises e-Book
Reduce the risk of common hysterectomy side effects and promote the speed of your recovery.
- Early hysterectomy recovery (abdominal or vaginal hysterectomy)
- Preparing for a hysterectomy
- Reducing the risk of common side effects e.g. back pain, constipation and gas
- Preparing your body for return to work and regular activity.
Benefits of Walking After a Hysterectomy
Benefits of walking after a hysterectomy include:
- Minimizing physical decline in fitness1
- Reduced the risk of blood clots in the deep leg veins (DVT)1
- Decreased length of hospital stay1
- Improved bowel function2 reduced gas pain and bloating
- Greater physical comfort2
- Feelings of well-being
- Increased energy
- Improved standing posture
- Relieving lower back pain and joint stiffness.
Week by Week Physio Hysterectomy Walking Guide
The scientific research is clear that prolonged bed rest should be avoided after gynaecological surgery2,3. Most women are encouraged to mobilise out of bed within 24 hours of surgery4.
Women are individual in terms of how much walking they can manage and how they progress walking exercise after a hysterectomy.
Your walking program depends upon many factors including preoperative fitness, type of hysterectomy, general health and post-operative complications.
Weeks 1-2 After Discharge from Hospital
This week-by-week information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always follow your surgeon’s instructions for walking during your hysterectomy recovery.
- Most women comfortably continue their in-hospital walking routine at home after being discharged from hospital.
- Aim for short regular walks throughout the day of approximately five minutes duration resting in between either lying down or sitting out of bed.
- Walk on flat surfaces where possible rather than on an incline or stairs and wear full support briefs when you walk to improve your personal comfort.
- By the end of the second week aim to do ten minutes of continuous walking if this feels comfortable for you.
Weeks 2-4 After Hysterectomy
- Most women can comfortably increase their continuous walking by approximately five minutes per week after their hysterectomy surgery.
- By the end of week four you may be able to walk continuously for twenty minutes.
- Monitor your symptoms and progress the time you spend walking when you feel comfortable.
- Discomfort during or after walking can be an indication that you have overdone things a little and that you need to ease off on your speed and your walking duration.
Weeks 4-6 After Hysterectomy
- By six weeks after a hysterectomy many women can walk continuously for up to thirty minutes.
- If you’re unable to manage one long walk or 30 minutes duration, you may find that walking is more comfortable when broken down into a few shorter duration walks during the day.
Week 7 Onwards
Most women have usually had a postoperative check up with their surgeon by week 7.
- You may like to gradually start to increase the speed of your walking and the distance you walk when your surgeon has given you permission to return to general exercise.
- Complete internal healing usually takes around three months on average so it’s important that you continue to progress your walking program gradually, especially during this time.
Physiotherapy Tips for Safe Walking After Hysterectomy
These tips are designed to help you improve your post-operative comfort and safety:
- During early recovery time walking with your pain medication
- Cease any exercise that causes you discomfort during or after the activity
- Walk on flat surfaces and avoid hills
- Wear fitted and well cushioned footwear
- Avoid repetitive treadmill walking in favor of walking outdoors
- Wear quality support briefs or support pants
- Short regular walks are just as beneficial as long walks especially within the first 6 weeks after surgery
- Monitor your symptoms and rest if you’re tired or experiencing discomfort
- If you experience discomfort with walking you may have done too much in which case stop, rest and do less walking next time
- Walk at your own pace and avoid comparing how quickly you progress walking after your surgery with other women
- Gradually increase your walking duration as your body heals and according to your level of physical comfort
- Alternate walking with rest during your recovery
- Contact your surgeon if you have any particular concerns when exercising after hysterectomy.
with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Learn Physical Therapy exercises and techniques help you move well.
Know how to exercise safely and avoid major complications and common side effects of hysterectomy.
Includes exercises for constipation, gas pain, lower back pain, moving in and out of bed and safe return to activity after hysterectomy.
1 Kalogera E, Dowdy S. (2016) Enhanced recovery pathway in gynecologic surgery: improving outcomes through evidence-based medicine. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am, 43:551–73.
2. Buckwalter J (1995) Activity vs rest in the treatment of bone, soft tissue and joint injuries. Iowa Orthop J.,15:29–42.
3. Terzioglu F et. al. (2013) Multimodal interventions (chewing gum, early oral hydration and early mobilisation) on the intestinal motility following abdominal gynaecologic surgery. J Clin Nurs. Jul;22(13-14):1917-25.
4. Nelson G. et.al. (2016) Guidelines for postoperative care in gynecologic/oncology surgery: Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS®) Society recommendations–part II. Gynecol Oncol. 2016; 140: 323-332