In the world of fitness, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been a buzzword for quite some time. Known for its efficiency and effectiveness, HIIT has been the go-to workout for many fitness enthusiasts. But did you know that this form of exercise can also be a game-changer in the medical field, particularly for pre-operative patients?
The Power of HIIT Pre-Surgery
A recent study conducted by the University of Otago has shed light on the significant benefits of HIIT for patients about to undergo major surgery. The study, published in the journal Surgery, analyzed 12 studies involving 832 patients who had undertaken preoperative high-intensity interval training. The training involved repeated aerobic high-intensity intervals at about 80% of the maximum heart rate followed by active recovery.
The study included all types of major surgeries, including liver, lung, colorectal, urologic, and mixed major abdominal surgeries. The average age of participants in the intervention group was 66 and 67 in the control group.
HIIT: A Pre-operative Solution
The results of the study were nothing short of impressive. It was found that HIIT is not only safe but also highly effective for surgical patients. A HIIT program can significantly improve a patient’s fitness within four to six weeks, reducing postoperative complications and length of hospital stay.
The most significant result was the change in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), a measure of how well the body takes in oxygen and delivers it to the muscles and organs during prolonged periods of exercise. The study found that HIIT increases cardiorespiratory fitness by 2.39 ml/min/kg, a level of increase associated with a lower risk of adverse postoperative outcomes.
The Impact of HIIT on Post-Surgery Complications
Postoperative complications occur in about 30% of patients, or up to 50% for frail patients. However, those who undertook high-intensity interval training prior to surgery showed a consistent reduction in post-surgery complications, such as cardiac complications, pneumonia, and postoperative bowel issues.
The study’s pooled results showed that HIIT reduces the risk of having a complication by 56%, which is substantial. On average, patients who undertook HIIT stayed for three fewer days in the hospital.
The Bottom Line
These findings suggest that even a brief period of pre-surgery high-intensity interval training may substantially improve patient outcomes and bring with it robust benefits across patient populations. The next step is to find out how to implement such programs effectively and cost-efficiently.
In conclusion, it’s never too late to improve fitness, and this can really make a difference to health outcomes in the surgical context. So, whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or a pre-operative patient, the power of HIIT can be a game-changer for your health and recovery.