We all know that exercise helps keep us slim, healthy and strong, but did you know it can also help you recover better after surgery, too? A recent study conducted by the University of Texas suggests that short bursts of intense exercise before surgery can lead to better healing after.
The study involved patients, who were an average age of 60, undergoing major surgery. The patients were required to perform moderate exercise such as bicycling for 10 minutes or more each day, at least one week before surgery. Short intense episodes of exercise was found to stimulate a physiologic stress response that increases the production and release of EP cells (endothelial progenitor cells), which are produced and stored in our bone marrow. These cells are vital because they are responsible for the healing process after surgery or injury.
EP cells are involved in the repair of tissue in all major organs or cavities. The study found that patients who exercised before surgery had increased EP cells and had fewer post-operative complications. Only 30 per cent developed post-op complications, compared to more than 54 per cent for those patients who didn’t exercise before surgery.
EP cells repair epithelium tissue after surgery. Epithelium tissue is a thin tissue forming the outer layer of the body’s surface. The number of EP cells produced and the ability to release them into your body allows for proper healing with little or no complications. Patients who had a poor physiologic stress response or poor production and release of EP cells after surgery were shown in the study to have a higher incidence of post-operative complications, as well as a lower survival rate after critical illness.
Major surgery can not always be avoided, but this study shows that exercising regularly for as little as 10 minutes a day can help get you back on your feet faster.
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