Lobectomy : Hi everyone. I had an upper... - The Roy Castle Lu...

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

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Martinet profile image

Hi everyone. I had an upper left lobectomy a week ago today and am wondering what sort of level of exercise I should be doing. I know I should be walking but for how long and how far. Any help would be greatly appreciated

12 Replies

Dear Martinet

Hope you are recovering fairly well from your operation.

This link will take you to our information on the after care of lung surgery; from page 30 in this booklet it provides exercises and milestones that can be achieved when you are at home recovering:


Everyone is different in their capacity to exercise and walk after surgery, listen to your body and pace yourself. If you are tired you need to rest and recover. It can be a slow recovery, but each day you may notice a small improvement. As you will be shielding at present, limit any walk to your garden if you have one.

We are offering a new service of support for those in isolation called 'Keep in touch', where one of our dedicated team members with email or telephone you to provide support or advise you on where to access this if needed. If you are interested in registering for this you can do it through this link:


If there is anything you wish to discuss further you can either email us at lungcancerhelp@roycastle.org or call our freephone nurse led helpline number on 0800 358 7200

All the very best

Ask the Nurse

The Roy Castle Support Team

My surgeon told me that my recovery from ULL was up to me and the more active I could be, the better it would be for me in the long run. I was given some exercises by the physio in the hospital and some basic drawings and an incentivisation spirometer to practice breathing and also told to walk. I'd been a regular swimmer for years but didn't return until a few months post surgery as the wound had opened up simply by showering each day (hadn't been told not to) so didn't like the thought of chlorine in it and waited for permission at my follow up. The booklet on Roy Castle website and patient online forum didn't exist back in Dec 2010 when my surgery was done. Some years later I was asked to comment on a CD/DVD and booklet that my local surgical centre had done and were now working with Roy Castle to incorporate into the booklet they have today. I used to 'know' if I'd overdone it as I'd be more tired the next day but generally tried to 'push myself' by doing a little more each day - whether walking the same distance in a quicker time or longer distance. I have read in online posts of those (prior to lockdown) who had no outdoor space and used their stairs to increase their stamina post surgery. There are also some really useful exercises on British Lung foundation designed for doing during lockdown so these may help as well. good luck with your recovery.


Martinet profile image
Martinet in reply to JanetteR57

Thank you janette for your reply. Will get those steps in!

Hi Martinet,

I hope that you are recovering well. I found that my body told me when enough was enough, and that point changed really quickly; Initially just steps, stretching, and breathing exercises, (initially small sets multiple times a day) then walking (including stairs), running etc. The pamphlets etc helped but it’s mainly common sense.

Additionally the more exercise I did and the further I pushed myself, the better I felt mentally, in that I was helping myself recover if that makes sense.

Good luck with your recovery, we are all thinking of you.

Martinet profile image
Martinet in reply to Mak216

Hi Mak

Thank you for replying and the tips Very great fully received. I am walking as much I can multiple times a day. So I guess just carry on pushing a little bit further every day. I’m just not sure what I should be doing 1 week after op. Thanks again. Take care

It sounds as though you are doing remarkably well for one week post surgery. As everyone before me has said, let your body tell you what is enough. You will have good days and not so good days. Just go with it. Take care and stay safe during these scary times. Jean

Martinet profile image
Martinet in reply to JeanE41

Hi jean. Thanks for the reply. All of you that reply on here are so helpful. It eases the thoughts of what we should be doing etc especially during these strange times and not seeing anyone. Thanks again. Keep safe and well

Whwn i had my lobectomy , at first i could only walk a few steps down the street, but regardless (with my Daughter supervising!) I did it every day and tried to go a bit further each time. The first time I attempted a slope I had to sit on someone's garden wall for 10 minutes and I found exhaust fumes a real problem. Within a few weeks it started to have a noticeable improvement, but I would emphasise, start slowly and don't over do it, even 10 steps is better than none to begin with. Listen to your body and if it's saying that's enough ,stop and try again the next day. I wish you well in your recovery and for the future.

Hi Rammie

Thank you foryour reply. It is so nice to hear of other people’s experiences. It helps me to know what to expect. I feel i am doing ok. You are right to say to listen to your body. Hope you are keeping well

Hi Martinet, I've also had this done, have you tubes in still? This depends on keyhole surgery or cut and stapled down your side, I would just go as far as you can, I got told marching on the spot is good aswell, your only a week out of surgery, so pleased for you, ring the hospital up they can tell you What excersise to do.

JanetteR57 profile image
JanetteR57 in reply to Dollybow

My surgical cut was around the shoulder almost to under the arm - not visible under bra/swimsuit and was glued not stapled - scar was worse where the drain tubes were.

Hi Dollybow

Thanks for your reply. I am now 4 weeks post vats surgery. Am doing ok. Managing to walk up to 4 miles a day. How long ago was your op? Hope you are well

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