Walking after Double bypass - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Walking after Double bypass

VujaDe profile image

Hi guys

Some advice needed, 12 days after double bypass walked briskly for 5km today felt tired but really good, is it safe to do, is safe for my incisions. I am just one to try and push myself but the feeling is great to walk can someone shed some light pls

15 Replies

Whoa slow down. Where you given a rehab program. 5k walk is probably about eight weeks in. Go onto BHF rehab site


Both the NHS and the BHF strongly encourages recovering bypass patients to walk regularly following discharge from hospital. But 5km after just 12 days really is pushing it! I think (but would advise checking) that the target they advocate is 30 minutes brisk walking after six weeks.

I think the real objective is for PROGRESSIVE walking to steadily rebuild your lung capacity. It would be counter productive to push yourself too hard, too early, if you then suffer a relapse and are not to be able to maintain the momentum. The fact is that after 12 days your sternum has barely even begun the serious work of knitting itself back together. So, even though I salute your determination I'd be inclined to aim a little lower initially.

Good luck!

VujaDe profile image
VujaDe in reply to Chappychap

Given no programme I’m in Spain, but that’s why I asked and yes will slow it down thanks

SUSANGREG profile image
SUSANGREG in reply to VujaDe

I am sure you will hear from Cardio at your hospital after around 7 weeks. my partner Ian is 7 weeks out of hospital in UK. 3 XCABG. Please SLOW DOWN! join the Zipper Club its great to read how others are coping and what to expect. Good luck in your recovery. ❤

The BHF guidance is fine, but it really does depend on how fit you were before surgery. I checked my records and at 12 days I was walking 3.2km with a short rest half way. I regard myself as having been moderately fit before the operation. It was a month before I managed 5km non stop which was well ahead of the BHF schedule. I was told your body will let you know if you've overdone it and that seems to be what you are finding.

The repair process is slow and it is early days for you. If you are like me it will take patience, but you will get back to full fitness in time. I was back into some light hill walking after 3 months (when I could carry a light backpack) and onto Scottish hills in 6 months. I can honestly say that I am considerably fitter now than I was before surgery and I have lots more energy. The whole experience has been very positive.

VujaDe profile image
VujaDe in reply to GWP1952

Me too I am in pain with sternum but walking 5km yesterday I was a little tired that’s all but today I’ve rested tomrroow another walk

You are doing great BUT maybe just a bit too much .

I had an AVR and double by-pass and 12 days after my op I was doing about 3 k .

Did this for 2 wks before doing 5k

I was advised to do this as my body needed energy to help repair itself and I was Distracting the energy by doing too much aeortic exercise!.

Maybe it was as AVR thing !.

Can you not ask your physio for advice ?

Maybe different if in England as in Scotland we have physio and we'll bring ntgs once a week with a supervised circuit sessiob for 12 wks

So worth asking

Sounds as though you are doing well

One last thought

How good was your excercise before the bypass op?

All the best


Yep did 7km before I was told had to do double bypass but now doing the km is with no pressure on my chest or bad feeling I am barely raising sweat as before I was literally gasping and struggling

But thanks I will back off a little and spread out my walking

Other advise is that you should not exercise alone in the beginning. You have to remember it is not only your sternum but all the chest muscles in that area. Being a little breathless is a sure sign of over doing things. When walking you should be able to hold a normal conversation hence have someone walk with you.

Ok thanks mate this platform has helped me so much thanks to good people like you

I think everyone who has had a HA experiences a desire to get back to the way it was - and part of that is pushing yourself to the limits to somehow "prove" that nothing happened. At least that was what I have seen in my husband.

The Body and Mind need to heal after such a traumatic physical and mental event. My husband would push himself beyond physical limits that he would never have done pre-heart attack/by pass surgery. Then two days later he would be three steps back in his recovery. Our bodies are amazing but somewhere in our gray matter we try to convince ourselves we can rebound faster and that more is better.

Exercise is great for recovering from a HA but you need to slow down and let your body heal. Every organ in your body has been stressed during a by-pass surgery. Please take it easy.

VujaDe profile image
VujaDe in reply to not2worry

Thanks so much and yes I will

Hi VujaDe

I am nearly 8 months on from a double bypass which followed an MI. I have followed a defined diet and exercise regime which has included longs walks, cycling and weights. I was doing really well and early this week I had a FaceTime exercise session and really pushed myself as I felt I could. Sadly I have had a rotten few days since feeling shaky, fragile and with a lot of discomfort in the chest. I realise that my body needs more time to heal than I had appreciated. We have been through a big procedure and your body will soon tell you when it’s not ready. So please take your time. By all means exercise but build it up without pushing too hard. A setback is so frustrating and really messes with your head. You start to have negative thoughts of what can happen. So lots of good luck with it all but I suggest you slow down ...

I’m not a medical person though have always kept extremely fit. I had an AVR in December for a congenital bicuspid valve. As an observer I would say you are doing a little too much too soon. From my own experience the walking is the ideal way of getting back to health and fitness, but I would suggest easing it quite a lot for those first couple of months. The body is still recovering from major trauma and surgery. I inadvertently overdid it one day when just walking home from the shops. I felt fine but my HR rocketed to over 150BPM when simply briskly walking up a gentle slope. I took that as a sign to back it off. I would stick to very gentle walks and not try anything energetic at all until the cardiac rehab classes recommence. I found those classes excellent for giving me the confidence to realise what I could and could not do. The additional benefit is that your HR and BP are monitored before and after the exercise. Good luck.

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