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If you’ve been injured or inactive for a few days or weeks at a time, you could be at risk of losing lean muscle mass. “Research shows three days of bed rest for older adults can cause up to 10 percent of total leg muscle loss. And for many, nausea after surgery can prevent them from eating for up to three to four days, which can lead to muscle breakdown,” says Suzette Pereira, PhD, a nutrition scientist.

Here’s a fix. “To support your recovery, eat more high-quality proteins and complex carbohydrates before and after surgery. Even as you rest after surgery, your body is burning up kilojoules to help you recover,” she says. And don’t stay still for longer than you need to. “Getting up and moving as soon as possible following a surgery or hospitalisation can help you preserve lean muscle, stay strong, and make a faster transition back into your regular routine,” she recommends.

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