Developing a hernia while working out is not uncommon. As an athlete, your goal is to get back to working out as soon as possible. The good news is that working out combined with proper nutrition can also aide your recovery; exercise helps develop core strength, improve blood flow and prevent your muscles from atrophy.

This doesn’t mean immediately returning to your old exercise routine; slow and consistent movement is needed to build core muscles. It’s also important to know your limits and schedule more rest days in between workouts. Consult your doctor as to when to exactly begin exercising and what modifications may be needed.

Week #1:
Get your muscles moving even if you still are experiencing mild pain or discomfort. A 30-minute walk each day combined with stretching is recommended to start the recovery process.

Week #2:
Increase your cardio with biking or using the elliptical machine. Swimming and water related exercises are also helpful because you can exercise without harming your weakened abdominal muscles. It is also recommended to continue stretching.

Week #3:
Adding light weights to your workout routine is generally okay. Start with strengthening your upper body and oblique’s, since they haven’t been had much movement. You also should start increasing your core strength because that can help prevent future injuries. Exercises like planks and push-ups are ideal.

Week #4:
Continue with light weights combined with cardio and stretching. You should also talk with your doctor about your progress and which exercises are advised moving forward.  You can also resume playing golf, badminton or other games you enjoyed prior to surgery.

Week #5:
Continue lifting weights, but also increase your cardio. A great workout to try is jumping rope.

Week #6:
You can begin to slowly increase the intensity of your weightlifting if cleared by your doctor. You still should avoid squats, cleans, jerks and snatches because it could reinjure your hernia repair.