Increasing Physical Activity Before an Operation Improves a Patient’s Chances

Ian Ritchie
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s President, Ian Ritchie, addresses the subject of physical activity for patients and surgeons in his September update in Surgeons’ News.

Ian Ritchie comments: “There is no question that we have to increase awareness among our patients of the need for physical activity. To encourage our patients, and the population at large, to engage in 30 minutes exercise, five times per week, would have a similar effect to the smoking ban in terms of improving the nation’s health. In this context, it is relevant for surgeons to include in our assessment of patients some questions about physical activity because there is evidence to suggest that increasing physical activity before an operation improves a patient’s chances of surviving the procedure.

“Of course, it is also relevant to point out that a surgeon’s advice on exercise is more likely to be taken if the surgeon is practising what she (or he) preaches. When considering how best to deliver patient care, it can be easy to overlook the simple fact that we can look after our patients better when we also look after ourselves. Surgeons are sometimes guilty of pushing themselves too hard professionally at the expense of other areas of their lives. But our overall wellbeing as individuals comes to bear on our performance as surgeons. The shape of the surgical workforce is going to change over the next few decades and with that the way in which it trains and delivers service will also change. We should take this opportunity to both work and live better.”


Ian Ritchie


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