The stages of your perioperative pathway

Published: 08/11/2019

Preparing your body

Lifestyle changes

There are many changes you can make to reduce the risks of surgery. Even small changes can make a big difference.


Your heart and lungs have to work harder after an operation to help the body to heal. If you are already active, they will be used to this. While you are waiting for your operation, try and increase your activity levels.

Brisk walking, swimming, cycling, gardening or playing with your children are all helpful. Try to do any activity which makes you feel out of breath at least three times per week, but always check with your doctor first what type of exercise is most appropriate for you. Activities that improve your strength and balance will also be useful for your recovery.

Who can help me?

  • Your GP surgery may be able to refer you to an exercise scheme at your local gym. Some people find a personal trainer helpful.
  • Depending on where you live you may have access to NHS ‘healthtrainers’ who can help motivate you and offer advice. There are also a number of mobile apps to help you set goals and track your progress, such as ‘Active 10 walking tracker’ and ‘Couch to 5K’.
  • Try joining a free council or community walking group or environmental volunteering scheme in your local area such as ‘Walks on Prescription’. As well as giving you encouragement and support to start walking and exercising, they are enjoyable and will boost your mood. Ask your GP surgery what is available in your area.
  • If you have back or joint pain you will often see a physiotherapist before seeing a consultant. You may be more limited than others, but ask your physiotherapist for exercises that you can do.

These are only some ideas and there will be many health and fitness programmes that you can
explore in your local area.


Your body needs to repair itself after surgery – eating a healthy diet before and after your surgery
can really help.