Success Story: Fitness Helped Him Thrive After Back Surgery

For Dr. Bruce Lockhart, it was finally back surgery that got him committed to regular exercise near retirement a decade ago.

Over the years, he had treated enough patients with chronic back pain to know that he didn’t want to become one after the procedure.

So he found the right trainer at the right gym and has been enjoying life pain-free for 10 years.


“I like not looking like I’m 77 years old,” says Bruce, who enjoys hiking, working in his large garden, and running obstacle-course races -- in addition to three times a week small group training at the gym.

“You can very quickly become a couch potato at my age,” he says. “It’s pretty easy. But I really enjoy going to the gym. It’s just become part of my life.”

Exercise Before and After Surgery


Bruce is a great example of how fitness helps us overcome common physical challenges that can affect us later in life—like his back pain or the surgery for a joint replacement that so many people, even healthy ones, need.

Mature adults who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer a disability – and they are more likely to recover faster, according to one study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers said the active participants in the study had been “built up” by exercise and had become “more resilient” than sedentary peers.

And the National Institutes for Health concludes that exercise before and after surgery is important for ensuring its success in older people.

Trainer Shebah Carfagna believes she benefitted from her physical fitness when she needed hip replacement surgery a couple of years ago in her 60s – in “prehab” as well as rehab.

“You have to take what life gives you and make it work and adjust,” Shebah says. “It’s important for the body to continue to move. You just can’t stop until something happens. You have to keep going.”

Find Something You Like


For Bruce, his life as a physician and his own experiences in the gym have taught him that nothing promotes healthy longevity like exercise.

“If you don’t stay fit, sooner or later, things will start to go downhill,” he says. “It’s so important if you care about how long you spend on this earth.”

Bruce recommends finding a gym or studio you like – where you feel comfortable and welcome. He enjoys working with his “inspiring” trainer and in a small group whose members keep each other accountable. But it’s not essential for everyone.

His top piece of advice?

“Find something you enjoy doing,” he says. “It’s not going to become drudgery if you enjoy it.”

If you need help finding that, give us a call! Mint Condition Fitness has personalized programs led by professional fitness and nutrition coaches who are ready to help you begin making progress on your health goals and start living the life you envisioned.