Why HIIT training can enhance recovery after prostate surgery

Getting ready for surgery, particularly prostate surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience. To prevent any unexpected or undesirable issues, it’s essential to prepare beforehand. It’s similar to training for a marathon – when you schedule and plan in advance, you can improve your physical condition and recover smoothly.

Research has consistently demonstrated that recovery can be difficult after invasive medical treatments like surgery. Depending on the procedure, it could take multiple weeks or months to recover post-operation. To prevent this, patients must collaborate closely with their medical team to prepare for a seamless recovery after the surgery.

A new study published in JAMA Network recommends that patients getting ready for major surgeries, like prostate cancer surgery, should try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) before their operation. Doing so can help improve their cardiorespiratory fitness and lower the risk of complications after surgery. The study analyzed 12 previous studies involving 832 patients who participated in prehabilitation programs before their surgeries.

It is a fact that having good cardiorespiratory fitness can enhance both physical and cognitive abilities. Additionally, it is linked to a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also reduces complications after surgery and boosts overall health-related quality of life.

Research has revealed that a patient’s cardiorespiratory fitness improves before surgery, which can lead to better outcomes after the procedure. By engaging in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) prior to surgery, patients have experienced a 50% increase in postoperative oxygen consumption, which aids in inflammation response and promotes tissue healing. Patients with conditions like diabetes, which limit their ability to meet increased oxygen demands, face a higher risk for complications. In fact, up to 50% of frail patients and approximately 30% of all patients will experience postsurgical complications.

What is HIIT training?

If you’re unfamiliar with HIIT (high-intensity interval training), you’re missing out on an amazing workout to help you get in great shape. HIIT is a popular training technique that provides proven and practical benefits. It involves alternating between high-intensity intervals – during which your heart rate reaches at least 80% of its maximum capacity for one to five minutes – and periods of less intense exercise. For example, a beginner’s HIIT workout might involve running as fast as possible for one minute, followed by walking briskly for two minutes. Repeat this three-minute interval five times for a 15-minute workout.

A major advantage of HIIT is its ability to rapidly improve cardiorespiratory fitness. Patients undergoing surgical procedures who have used HIIT training before the procedure, have a vastly improved surgical recovery and outcome. The JAMA Network study also found that there was a 53% reduction in postoperative complications following HIIT training. 

Take home message

If you are a man waiting for prostate surgery or have any upcoming scheduled surgery, incorporating HIIT training into your surgical preparation may lead to better outcomes.

It’s important to talk with your surgeon before your surgery to discuss preparations and receive their professional advice.  Being informed and prepared increases your chances of a successful procedure.


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 

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