Not only is a joint replacement a physical challenge, it can be mentally exhausting as well. It's like trying to starting over; going from walking to crawling, and then working your way up to walking again. By practicing good exercise habits, including strength training, it will be one less thing you have to worry about when going through rehabilitation. The exercises are foreign to many people who go through rehab after joint replacement. Doing them in advance makes it much easier to handle mentally. Sure, you may be a little disappointed at first when you realize that the exercises feel harder, but because that "muscle memory" is there, it won't be like starting from scratch.
Throughout life, there are both physical and mental challenges. A joint replacement represents both of these. Most challenges can be made easier by preparing for them. Joint replacements are no different. If your doctor supports exercise before the procedure, I suggest investing the time and money into doing so. You will be glad you did.
Ted Santaniello, CSCS, is a certified personal trainer and the fitness manager at the Wellness Center at PARC, located at 295 New York Road (next to ARC) in Plattsburgh. For more information, call him at 324-2024.