1. Whether you've had surgery or not, one of the best exercises is use of a stationary bike. It's a great way to strengthen your lower extremities, especially the quadriceps muscle, while avoiding pounding your joints. If you're having lower back pain, the recumbent bike is a good alternative to an upright bike. The intensity of the exercise can be varied by changing the resistance on the bike, which promotes strength and conditioning. An elliptical trainer is also recommended for my hip and knee patients.
2. Swimming promotes both flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. Swimming will provide some degree of strengthening and helps to maintain range of motion of the joints.
3. Weight training is important for all patients. Improved muscle strength around joints helps to stabilize the joint and alleviate pain. This is important in osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Strength training also helps to reduce the incidence of falls and subsequent fractures. Straight leg raises and isometric quad sets are helpful.
4. Warm up properly before exercise. This may include some stretching and light activities. Consider using moist heat on a sore extremity before exercise and ice immediately after the exercise. The ice helps to reduce acute pain and inflammation.
5. Reduce weight. Combine diet and exercise to achieve optimum goals. The force across your hips and knees is about two to three times one's body weight.
Generally, stay active and don't slow down. Finally, if there are specific questions regarding a particular activity or exercise after a total joint replacement, it's best to check with an orthopedic surgeon.