Oesophageal Patients Association
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Exercise regime pre and post Ivor Lewis

Would be very grateful for any exercises that any of you can recommend that will aid recovery after Ivor Lewis surgery .

7 Replies

Lots of walking worked for me. Once I was back on my feet I walked everywhere. I set targets. The first time I got to the pub, one mile away, was a big day. Then a half pint. Then a taxi home! Two days later I walked home. But every day doing more and more.

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Pre-op provides you’re up to it is recommend cardio work - you need to get your lungs and realities system as strong as possible and your general cardio fitness up. It will help fend off pneumonia which is a major issue for Ivor Lewis ops.

Post op. Walking. As much as you can as soon as you can.

Take it easy with core exercises post operation - I ended up giving myself an umbilical hernia by not giving enough recovery time.

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Hi there walking short distances ,stairs if you have them. Deep breaths and stretch which your physio in hospital should show you. No heavy lifting or abdominal exercises if you are opened up front as well as back as you may get a hernia.

Remember it is major surgery only do what is comfortable. Later on you may be able to get back to some activities you did before. I had a 1 to 1 with Macmillan trained person and joined some other people in my area for gym. You get 12 sessions free. My local borough also has a group for people who have been through surgery etc back to health referral by dr.

Good Luck


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There are some factsheets that may help you from the OPA website:



My advice would be to consult a physiotherapist. Depending on how long you were in hospital, or recovering at home, you may have some muscle wastage. I saw a physio a few weeks after my op and she recommended a number of simple exercises to rebalance my muscles and prevent any injury once I started exercising again.

One of the things she recommended, once I was up and about, was interval walking, i.e. 5 minutes at a steady pace, followed by 5 minutes at a brisk pace, and so on, for as long as I could manage.


Hi everyone this is all good advice thank you . In fact the operation is scheduled in a months time so its the pre getting into shape I am especially interested in . My husband is walking the dog 3 times a day but as fitness seems to be key I am wondering if there is more he could do at this point ?


Good luck to your husband with the operation. I was put on an exercise programme by St. Mary's Paddington. It consisted of about 30 minutes fast walking and as much walking at a normal pace on a regular basis. I have a dog so that helped, I already considered myself to be reasonably fit.

The other exercises:

15 step ups x 2 I did it on the back step or first stair

15 sit to stand, just sit down on a dining chair and stand up with your arms across your chest

Using a band you can sit on a chair put the band under your feet and row with ends of the band in both hands x 15

Standing with the band behind you and under your arms, holding both ends and pulling your hands towards you.

I had an old exercise bike which was given to me and I did 15 minutes

It was exhausting but my fitness rose from 4 out of 10 to 7 out of ten

I was out of hospital in 8 days, I firmly believe all the exercise I put it was the contributing factor, when they stood me up the next day, I could feel that my legs in particular were strong. It is six months since the removal of my oesophagus and stomach, after the op my fitness was 4 out of 10 and I am now six and a half out of 10, mainly because I believe my motivation was higher before the op.


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