As medical science has advanced, the rate of the elderly population has also increased. The mortality rate is coming down. But as the older adult grow old, their participation in the society goes down; because with the increase of age, their capacity to adapt decreases gradually, mainly before or after they undergo surgery or any such major life events and they get vulnerable to limited functioning and participation in the society. Whereas, older adults should participate in society more or at least as long as possible. Therapeutic exercise before and after surgery will augment their postoperative outcomes as they are going to have improved functional status, reduced complications, and mortality rate.


There is evidence that patients can tolerate preoperative exercise who are going for cardiovascular surgery, and the exercises are effective. Preoperative exercises are also found to be highly effective in other medical conditions, such as abdominal, thoracic and major joint replacement surgeries. As per enhanced or fast-track recovery after surgery plans, postoperative exercise also should be initiated as soon as possible.

Key Points

  • To reduce the number of complications after the surgery in a vulnerable patient and to reduce the length of their hospital stay, preoperative exercise is effective.
  • Postoperative functional recovery after a thorax, abdominal as well as major replacement surgery on a vulnerable patient could be much faster if they did preoperative therapeutic exercise.
  • Exercise and rehabilitation process postoperatively should be started as soon as possible to regain functional mobility.

All these key points are taken after high-quality studies done on elderly patients. The exercises were of low-to-moderate intensity. The medical information about what types of exercise a patient should undergo, both aerobic and functional mobility, depends on the individual patient, their therapist, and the condition for which they are undergoing surgery.


There is high evidence that perioperative exercise in patients who are scheduled for cardiac surgery is very effective and well tolerated. There is also evidence that shows that same for patients who are going for major joint replacement, abdominal or thorax surgery. Therefore, perioperative exercise training intervention is a valuable asset for an elderly friendly healthcare system. This will not only help the elderly population but also for all of the population to do exercise therapy before and after any surgery. It will have you better prepare for your surgery and as well as fast recovery.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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