Staying Active While in the Hospital
During your stay in the hospital you are encouraged to stay active. Moving around – whether in or out of bed – helps to strengthen your muscles and keep your body strong and healthy. This can help you in taking care of yourself and keeping up your daily routines once you return home. It can also help you to stay more independent and have a greater sense of control over your life.
Benefits of Being Active
- Reduce your risk of falls and harm
- Improve how well you sleep
- Decrease pain and disability from arthritis
- Prevent pressure sores
- Avoid bone weakness and muscle shrinkage
- Help your heart and lungs to work their best
- Improve blood flow and prevent clots
- Increase energy and endurance
- Improve your mental well being
- Promote independence
Before starting exercise or an activity program, check with your health care team to make sure it is safe and fitting for you.
Your activity level depends on your health and your treatments. There may be a limit as to how much you can do on your own. If you need help, please ask before you move. We care about your safety!
Common Questions about Activity and Exercise
You might have concerns about being out of bed. Here are some common questions that others have asked.
Q: How do I know if I can get up and out of bed?
A: The treatment and health of each person is unique. Check with your health care team to be sure it is all right for you to be up and walking. Being in bed for long periods of time can prolong your hospital stay and slow your recovery. But before getting up, you need to know if it is medically safe for you to be up and moving.
Q: Am I at risk for falling?
A: Though rare, falling while in the hospital can result in serious harm. You are at greater risk if you have:
- History of falling
- Medications that make you drowsy
- Unsteady feet or trouble with balance
- Vision problems
- Memory loss and trouble thinking clearly
While you need to try to prevent falls, getting out of bed and moving is crucial to your recovery.
Q: How can I prevent myself from falling?
A: Most important, ask for help when needed. If someone from your health care team says it is OK for you to get out of bed and you feel unsteady or unsure, call your nurse for help. For further details, refer to Health Fact #5461 –
Q: How important is it to exercise and just get up and move around?
A: Exercise and being out of bed is very important. It can:
- Improve and maintain muscle tone
- Improve balance and coordination
- Get your heart in shape
- Improve appetite
- Help with constipation
A: Your nurses will give you an exercise program that has been approved by your health care team. Let them know of questions or fears you have at any time.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 03/29/2012
Copyright © 03/29/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5625
Print Health Fact For You