Rx for a quick recovery from surgery: The forest will make you happy!

Travel Travel to heal

Please welcome our guest blogger – and my mom – Darlene Clarke! I asked her to write a blog about her recovery from hip replacement and how she bounced back so quickly. If you have a surgery scheduled or know someone who is, this is a great read!

One of my early outings to walk around the mall

You’re about to have or have just had surgery. If you’re like me, you’ve scoured the web for information, questioned your doctor intensively and maybe even done a pre-surgery PT session. My surgery was an anterior hip replacement, one of the most commonly performed operations in the United States today. The procedure has been around for a long time. The first one was done in Germany in 1891 and they’ve refined the process to the extent that many patients (like me) go home on the same day as surgery.

A day trip to a neighboring Scandinavian inspired town

You’re probably familiar with ways you can speed up recovery: move around regularly, manage your wound (wish they’d call it an incision instead!), eat enriching foods, have outside support, avoid taking baths and swimming until your doctor gives the go-ahead and most importantly, listen to your doctor.

Here’s what worked for me: get out of the house! Start slowly and be aware of what your body is telling you. My daughter the nurse, who was my care-giver, came up with daily “field trips”. Little ones to start out with (a trip to get my favorite real ice cream milkshake), then ever more entertaining and energetic mini-vacations out into nature.

The best milkshakes ever!

Did you know it’s scientifically documented you should spend more time outside? My contention is that time in nature, even just riding in car through the forest, will speed up your recovery and here’s are some of the proven reasons why:

  1. It improves your short term memory.
  2. It restores mental energy
  3. It relieves stress
  4. It reduces inflammation
  5. It improves concentration
  6. It encourages sharper thinking and creativity
  7. It gives your immune system a boost
  8. It improves your mental health
Outing to the movies

The full article with backup study results can be found at:

Day trip to Mt Rainier National Park

It’s impossible to feel sorry for yourself when surrounded by the beauty of nature. You’ll feel less pain when your mind is engaged by the nature’s wonders. If, like me, you’ve been restricted in your movements by pain for perhaps months or years, when you’re out in nature, your body will remember what being normal feels like. And finally, you’ll be amazed at how quickly those first painful steps after surgery turn into an ability to get around with confidence.

Visiting the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm at 2.5 weeks post op!

Have you used nature in your recovery from illness? We’d love to hear about your experiences! Comment below and don’t forget to like, share, and follow our blog!


I'm an only child who grew up on a sailboat, a lover of adventure, a mom, wife, an RN, and a friend of all dogs.


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