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Rest is an important part of the early recovery period after surgery for a sports or inguinal hernia. But if you are used to being active or you are s competitive athlete, it’s safe to assume you’ll get the itch to get back in the game as quickly as possible post-surgery. Here’s what you can do to safely achieve this personal goal.

Start with Gentle Forms of Exercise

For the first few weeks after surgery, stick to gentle forms of exercise like walking. During this early post-surgery period, you should also be able to do gentle hamstring stretches by reaching to your outstretched toes while on the floor or on a mat. Maintain good posture as you stretch by keeping your spine straight as you gently bend or reach forward without forcing the stretch so you’re not putting excess pressure on your abdominal area.

Step Up Your Routine as You Heal

After the first few weeks, you should be able to walk at a brisker pace and perform other floor-based stretches in a controlled way. If given the okay, also put more engaging forms of exercise back into your routine, such as stationary or outdoor bike riding. Once you are comfortably doing forms of exercise like this for about 30 minutes or so each day, ease into exercises that target abdominal-supporting muscle groups. Certain non-strenuous yoga poses can also be safe to do 2-3 weeks after hernia surgery.

Another option is pelvic tilts. Get on the floor on your back and bend your knees. Gently lift your hips and hold the position for about 10 seconds. Perform as many reps as you feel comfortable doing. Once your incision has healed, water-based exercises like swimming are often permissible and safe to do.

Steadily Get Back to What’s Normal for You

About a month or so after surgery, you should be able to get back into your normal workouts and pre-game conditioning. This is also when you should be able to progress to more strenuous activities like jogging and running. But still keep up with your gentle stretches and warm-up exercise until your rehabilitation period is officially over.

As you step up your activity level and get back in the game post-surgery, take some added precautions to avoid the risk of re-injury. If you play contact sports, for example, avoid direct pressure within your abdominal or groin area. A high-fiber diet can also reduce the risk of developing constipation as your soft tissues and muscles heal.