Bounce Back Stronger: The Secret to Speedier Recoveries(1)

Whether from a planned surgery or an unplanned sickness, recovering after a hospital visit can feel like it takes longer to feel like ourselves, especially when we’re older. The good news is new research sheds light on the best ways to bounce back stronger.

Here are science-backed answers to four common questions that will help you do just that.(1)

1. Why is water critical for recovery?
Water helps keep your blood flowing, carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, and protects your joints. As your body recovers from an illness or injury, it sends water and nutrients to that location. If you’re not replenishing those fluids, the wound healing and cell repair processes take much longer and ultimately hinder your recovery.

Dehydration is more common in the warmer months and it’s something that you should definitely think about when you’re off your feet or recovering. In addition to drinking water to stay hydrated, food choices can account for approximately 20 percent of your daily fluid intake. Abbott’s dieticians say that foods like melons, tomatoes and strawberries are naturally rich in water and electrolytes, both of which are critical to healthy nerve and muscle function as you recover.(1,2)


2. What should I eat if I’m trying to get back on my feet?
If you invest in good nutrition now, you can give your body a “nutritional reserve” if you have a health setback, while also helping it maintain and rebuild muscle mass. Another Abbott dietician recommends nourishing your body on a consistent basis by eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Specifically, make sure you’re consuming:

  • Vitamin C: This nutrient helps repair tendons, ligaments and surgical wounds. Look for strawberries, kiwi fruit, baked potatoes, broccoli and bell peppers.
  • Vitamin D and Calcium: Consuming low-fat dairy foods will help with repairing and strengthening damaged bones.
  • Fibre: If you take pain medication following a procedure, offset stressful side effects like constipation, with fibre that’s found in foods like dark green leafy vegtables, fruits, whole grain cereals.
  • Protein: Part of every tissue in your body, protein plays a major role in building, repairing and maintaining muscle, and transporting nutrients.(1)

3. What about exercise?
Light activities like resistance training, daily walks, stretching or yoga can be hugely beneficial, especially if you’re feeling fatigued after a procedure or sickness. Be sure to work with your physician to determine what’s best for you. Keeping your whole body strong and healthy year-round means you can maintain your independence at any age, even if you’re recovering from an illness, injury or surgery.(1,4)

Remember, it’s never too late to live a great life – no matter what happens.