Prehab: We’re Going to Need It

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored five published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.  Alan’s latest book, Body Not Recovered, is a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and it has deep St. Louis roots.

By Alan Spector

Okay, let’s face reality—as we age into and through retirement, it is likely that at some point, we will be dealing with a serious health issue, injury, surgery…  Anybody surprised at this?  So, what are we doing about it?

I propose that one answer for all of us should be—do “prehab.”  I’m not talking about the few exercises they gave me to do for several weeks before my hip replacement surgery.  Sure, those were right to do, and I did them.  But waiting until something happens is normally too little too late.

What if you could be confident that whenever you were confronted by a health issue, you would enter that period in excellent physical shape—strong, flexible, and aerobically fit.  You can probably list the benefits yourself, but just in case…

You will have been able to reap the benefits of being fit, even in the absence of a medical issue.  Your high level of fitness may even reduce the risk of or delay any issues. 


When a serious medical issue does show up, having done prehab increases the odds that you will be able to better deal with the issue.  During my hip replacement recovery, I needed upper body strength to manipulate through the routine activities of daily life and to facilitate my rehab.  A friend just went through bilateral hernia surgery—he is a prehab enthusiast, and his fitness enabled a more certain and complete recovery.  

When someone is confronted with a serious illness, would not he or she be better off to start that battle from a position of strength?  As but one example, chemotherapy weakens the patient.  Which precondition would you choose, if you were the one experiencing chemo?  I contend you would rather have done your prehab and enter that challenge strong, flexible, and aerobically fit. 

The concept is pretty simple.  The question is, what are we doing to make sure we are physically prepared for any eventuality?  Have we done our prehab?  Have we developed the daily and weekly habits to ensure we have optimized our strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness?  What’s your prehab plan?