Q: I'm suffering from a bilateral hernia in my groin which I will be having repaired at the end of March. As I do a heavy manual job my consultant has recommended six weeks off work and maybe getting back on the bike after a month. I'm worried about losing my hard earned fitness, how can I do some safe exercise post op?
A: Rest assured that a month off the bike will not make you into a couch potato or mean your legs forget all the miles you have done thus far. It is vital to get some parameters of exercise intensity from the experts who will be watching your post-op recovery. In most post op scenarios it would be best to start with very flat, in-the-saddle riding, which for many means using an indoor trainer.
Keep intensity low but progress each ride, for example: 15 mins, 25 mins, 30 mins, 45 mins… Bear in mind that your effort (or power) is a key measure of the stress going through your legs, and hence the groin area. If you have an indoor trainer with a power monitor be sure to start at low wattages and progress in small increments of about 10-15%. If you don't have one, use light gears and progress to the big chainring or high torque/low cadence work only when you have the all-clear and have been without any niggles in the groin area for several weeks. Good luck with your recovery!
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