Exercise and Activity While in the Hospital
Staying active while in the hospital is important to your health and well being. To
know what activities are best for you at this time, talk with your doctors, nurses,
and physical therapists. Find out what exercises are best suited to your current
condition and treatments. Learn about any restrictions that you may need to
Exercise and being up and out of bed can help to maintain your muscle tone and
improve your sense of balance and coordination. It can help keep your heart in
shape, improve appetite and relieve constipation.
When you exercise - whether in or out of bed - you should feel no pain, breathe
normally, and wear socks to protect your heels. While exercising, STOP at once
and let your nurse know if you:
· feel short of breath
· feel dizzy
· have an upset stomach
· have excess sweating
· have pain
Exercising While in Bed
Point your toes and foot downward. Bring your foot back up in a pumping motion.
This is the same motion you use when pumping the brakes of your car. Repeat up
to 10 times on each ankle. Repeat another set, up to 10, on each ankle. Do less if
you tire easily, or if you and your team decide on less. While exercising,
EXHALE during the exertional part of the movement.
Place a pillow or rolled up towel cross-wise beneath your knees. Your heels
should touch the bed. Next, straighten one knee and then relax it. Do the same for
the other knee. Breathe out as you straighten your leg; breathe in as you relax it.
Be sure your knee is resting on the pillow at all times. You do not need to lift it off
Slide one of your legs away from the other leg,
keeping the other one still. Then slide it back in
place. Do the same with the other leg.
Slide your heel up towards your bottom and
then slide your heel back down until your leg
is straight. Repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your bottom and lift it off of the
bed. If you are unable to lift your bottom off of the bed, simply tighten the
Exercising While Sitting in a Chair
Start by sitting straight up in the chair with head and shoulders back and your feet
planted squarely on the floor. One by one, lift your foot off the floor in a marching
fashion – right, left, right, left. Put your foot down rather than letting it drop to the
Place a pillow between your knees and squeeze your thighs together. Hold for 5
seconds and relax. This strengthens your inner thighs. To work on the outer
thighs, remove the pillow and place your hands on the outside of each thigh. Push
against them. Again, hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Start with your feet flat on the ground. Lift your heels up until you go up on your
toes. Slowly bring your feet back down to the ground. This helps to strengthen
your calf muscles in your lower legs.
This time lift your toes off the floor and point them to the ceiling. Relax and lower
them to the floor.
Sitting upright in a chair, raise your lower leg until it is straight (horizontal).
Slowly lower the leg all the way to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.
Exercising While Standing
Using a table or chair for support, march in place. March for 30 seconds and then
take a standing rest or sit if needed. Then, march in place for another 30 seconds.
Walk around your room or in the hallways if you wish.
Now that you know the exercises, let’s start with a plan. As you begin, you may
wish to change your plan. That’s OK, but remember to keep moving. Doing
whatever you can to keep active is important to your recovery.
My Exercise Plan While in the Hospital
My Exercises S M T W T F S S M T W T F S
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©10/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5627.