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Waiting for an appointment, treatment or surgery? Take steps to improve your health while you wait

One of the best things you can do to improve your peace of mind and be sure that your medical treatment and recovery goes smoothly, is to make sure that your health is as good as possible beforehand.

You wouldn't run a marathon without training first and preparing for a medical procedure is no different. Surgery especially can take a huge toll on your body but the fitter you are before you go in, the quicker you will recover.

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Move more

The healthier your heart and lungs are before a medical procedure, the safer it will be and the quicker you'll recover.

For ideas to help you take the next step, visit the NHS Better Health Get Active web page here

Programmes to help you get fitter and feel well

You can search online to find local classes and activities, including:

Your condition

You may have other long-term health problems that you have been managing, like issues with blood pressure, heart or lung problems, diabetes or anaemia.

In the run up to medical treatment it is important that these are appropriately controlled. Talk to your GP or nurse if you feel that you could benefit from any extra help in managing the condition.

For advice about steps you can take yourself, visit the: 

Maintain a healthy weight

Eating a healthy diet will help you get fit and recover quicker after any kind of medical treatment. Being a healthy weight also reduces your risk of blood clots and wound infections afterwards.

The more overweight you are, the more stress there is on your heart and lungs during the process.

Visit our weight management page for details of local support available.

Take care of your mind

It's natural to feel anxious in the run up to a medical procedure and sometimes the burden of being unwell can lead to low mood, depression and anxiety disorders.

Being prepared mentally is as important as being prepared physically.

For ideas to look after your mental health visit the NHS Every Mind Matters webpage

If you feel you may need help with your mental health, there are online resources available, for example:

Drink less

Alcohol is extremely high in calories, so drinking a lot will make it much harder to reach or maintain a healthy weight. In addition, alcohol can reduce the liver's ability to produce the building blocks necessary for healing, which will slow your recovery.

Visit the Drinkaware website for help and advice.

Quit smoking

Cutting down or reducing the amount you smoke before medical treatment has been shown to speed up the healing process, including reducing the amount of time you need to stay in hospital after an operation.

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