Even more than the general population, orthopaedic patients suffer from multiple consequences of immobility. Fortunately, most of these patients are physically able to participate in some degree of moderately intense exercise. Helping the orthopaedic patient initiate and adhere to a moderately intense exercise routine is a nursing challenge. This challenge is even more difficult because as nurses, we are often expecting our patients to make a lifestyle change that we have been unable or unwilling to make ourselves. Understanding the health-related benefits that can be derived from participation in moderately intense exercise routines and the recommended guidelines for exercise frequency and intensity is a first step toward initiating a fitness routine. Using information acquired from research, nurses can assess for specific facilitators and barriers to exercise participation. This assessment data can then be used to individualize plans for exercise that meet the fitness needs of our patients and ourselves.
Donna B. Konradi, DNS, RN, is Graduate Director and Assistant Professor at Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.
Linda T. Anglin, DA, RNC, is Associate Professor Emeritus at Bradley University, Department of Nursing, in Peoria, Illinois.