Prehab: Preparing Your Body for What’s Ahead

Prehabilitation, also known as prehab is a really effective proactive approach to healthcare that involves using exercise and lifestyle changes to get your body ready for any future medical events. You can think of it as like adding some extra cushioning for illness or aging. It’s kind of like training for a marathon, but instead of the race, you’re getting ready for surgery, treatment, or just handling the challenges of getting older.

Prehab for Specific Diagnoses

Prehab can really make a difference for people dealing with different health issues.

Cancer: Prehab programs have been proven to make a big difference for cancer patients preparing for surgery, chemo or radio therapies. By getting stronger and fitter, recovery can be faster, with fewer complications and a better ability to handle treatment side effects.

Orthopaedic Surgery: Prehab before joint replacement surgery can help you get stronger and more flexible, which can lead to easier surgery, quicker recovery, and better long-term function.

Cardiac Conditions: For people with heart disease, a prehab program can focus on improving heart health, lowering risk factors, and getting ready for procedures like angioplasty or bypass surgery (non-emergency obviously).

Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis: Rehab and prehab work hand in hand here. The nature of the disease means that you might have flare-ups. After a tough flare-up and recovery, prehab can help you get ready for the next one.

There are even more examples, and prehab can be adapted to all kinds of health conditions.

Prehab as Prevention

Prehab isn’t just about preparing for a specific event. It’s also about taking a proactive approach to overall health and preventing future issues. Here’s how:

Maintaining Strength and Balance: As we age, muscle mass naturally declines, increasing the risk of falls and injuries. Prehab programs can focus on strength and balance exercises to help maintain mobility and independence.

Managing Chronic Conditions: Prehab can be used to manage chronic conditions like diabetes or arthritis. Exercise programs can help with blood sugar control, pain management, and joint health.

Improving Overall Fitness: Regularly engaging in a well-rounded exercise program is a form of prehab for the general wear and tear of daily life. It strengthens your body, improves cardiovascular health, and boosts your immune system, making you more resilient to potential health challenges.

Muscle health and size: Certain medical conditions can lead to muscle loss due to various factors such as cachexia, inflammation, hormonal imbalances, or inactivity during the active phase of the disease. In other words, the more muscle mass you have, the better equipped you are to handle any potential loss. If you have lower muscle mass, any loss can significantly impact your overall health, including joint health, metabolism, and the potential for chronic fatigue.

Are We All Prehabing by Exercising?

It’s good to keep in mind that anyone can face health issues at any time. So, by staying active and hitting the gym regularly, you’re actually preparing yourself for any potential health challenges in the future. However, it’s important to know that while regular exercise has many benefits, true “prehab” requires a specific goal in mind.

Here’s the breakdown:

General Exercise includes activities like walking daily or working out at the gym. It’s great for your overall health and well-being, but it’s not targeted prehab.

Prehab exercise approach is slightly different. Let’s say you’re getting ready for knee replacement surgery. Your physio or exercise referral instructor will create a prehab program that focuses on strengthening the muscles around your knee and improving your range of motion. This targeted approach is considered prehab.

The good news is that by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, you’re laying a solid foundation for any potential prehab needs in the future.


Prehab is a powerful tool for optimizing health outcomes. Whether preparing for a specific medical event or simply for the demands of life, prehab empowers individuals to take control of their well-being. By incorporating targeted exercises and lifestyle modifications, prehab can lead to faster recovery, improved function, and a better quality of life. So, while not every workout session is prehab in the strictest sense, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise definitely positions you for a better response to whatever health challenges may arise.


Do you have any questions about prehab exercises? I’m a friendly guy and always willing to help or at least point you in the right direction.


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Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. My name is Vic and I have a strong passion for fitness and health. I have been working in this field for many years, assisting people in achieving their goals, including weight loss or muscle gain, and supporting patients with medical conditions in their rehabilitation journeys.