Best Exercises Post Weight Loss Surgery
Exercising post weight loss surgery is key in you achieving your health goals. To help you reach the goals you’ve set for yourself, you’re going to have to work with your bariatric surgeon and a fitness professional to develop a program that addresses your unique needs, ability, and personal preferences. Don’t have time or money to work with a fitness professional? That’s alright! At the end of this blog, you will find a link to an at-home workout that can be done a few months post op that does not require any work out equipment.
Why You Should Exercise Post Weight Loss Surgery
Exercise is pertinent to you achieving your health goals. According to the Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado, “regular exercise can strengthen your heart and bones, improve your blood sugar, enhance your immune system… and make it easier to do everyday activities.” There is also evidence that the endorphins released during exercise help combat anxiety and depression. Exercise also provides a safe and effective way of maintaining lean body mass, supporting metabolism, and facilitating healthy weight loss.
After weight loss surgery, you can expect to start losing weight rapidly, however, you can also lose muscle mass. Our muscles do more than make movement and provide strength, they also gauge our metabolism. So, it is crucial to start exercising as soon as possible after surgery to maintain or build muscle mass to facilitate weight loss. Overall, the most important thing you need to take away from this blog post is that exercise is key in losing and maintaining weight after weight loss surgery.
It can be difficult to exercise when you are struggling with obesity. However, it is important and imperative that you start to exercise the best you can even before surgery. Even just getting your mindset ready and aware of exercise can be half the battle. A survey conducted for ASMBS shows that patients who started exercising before having surgery were twice as likely to continue to exercise after surgery than patients who did not. While it can be difficult, try to start small and slow. For example, walking twice a day for ten minutes or raising both knees while sitting in a chair.
First Week Post-Op
You’ll want to start exercising right away after surgery. That doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon. Right after surgery, you’ll be healing and adopting a low-calorie diet. You’ll be losing weight quickly, and odds are you’ll probably feel a little off. The best thing you can do is walk. Walking is a light, aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate elevated without putting too much stress on the body. Studies have also shown that exercises shorten recovery time and reduces the risk of post-bariatric surgery complications.
Initially, you’ll want to take a few short walks a day. This can include moving around the house, taking the stairs, and showering. You’ll want to work your way up to 10,000 steps a day. Odds are you’ll be given an exercise plan that starts you off doing 10 minutes of low to moderate exercise a day before gradually increasing that. No matter how long or short your workout is, it should be intense enough to leave you out of breath.
One Month Post-Op
Unless your surgeon says otherwise, the only exercise you should do is walking. As mentioned, you should be walking right away after weight loss surgery. Walking is a great way to stay active without putting too much strain on your body. It gets your heart rate up and activates your muscles without aggravating your healing surgery site.
Three Months Post-Op
By the end of the third month, you should be able to pick up your exercise routine. Of course, you’ll want to discuss with your surgeon which exercises you’re ready for. This may differ based on how much you have healed. You could start going for longer hikes, riding a bike, and maybe even try swimming.
Four To Six Months Post-Op
By now, you should be working out in 30 minutes increments for three to five days a week. You can do many different exercises, from walking to yoga, swimming, dancing, and resistance training. Strength training is also very important to maintain muscle, and as mentioned before this will help maintain a steady metabolism and thus aid your weight loss efforts.
You should find exercises you enjoy and switch them up consistently. You don’t want to burn yourself out! You want to keep working out and building your strength and coordination. After weight loss surgery, you should be completely focused on doing whatever you can to better your overall health. If you find that your routine is starting to become repetitive and uninteresting try something different! Like watching a TV show or your favorite sports game while walking on the treadmill. This is a bonus if you join a gym that offers these shows and you do not have access to them at home!
Six to Twelve Months Post-Op
You should be able to workout for 45 minutes three to five times a week. This stage of your recovery process is more focused on resistance training to strengthen your core, leg, and upper body muscles. As always, ask your surgeon if you have questions about what exercises are safe to do, and listen to your body. If you start to feel pain anywhere, listen to it and stop whatever exercise is causing it. The whole point of exercising is to live a healthy lifestyle, not to cause complications.
One Year Post-Op
At the end of one year, you’re hopefully well on your way to reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself. Who knows? Maybe you’ve already achieved some of them! Being completely healed from weight loss surgery, you should be able to do intense exercise (e.g., interval training on the treadmill). You’ll also want to incorporate more activity-based exercises into your routine, such as hiking, running, swimming, and cycling. Some people may feel that since they have lost so much weight, that exercise is just an option now and not necessary. However, it should be looked at as a part of your new lifestyle and should be continued to maintain a healthy weight. Celebrate in your success, but do not stop the healthy habits that got you to this stage!
Exercise Tips and Tricks
- If an exercise hurts, stop
- Develop realistic, specific, and achievable goals for your exercise program
- Switch up your workouts to combat boredom
- Incorporate activities that can be done every day (e.g., walking the dog)
- Leave at least two hours after eating before you start exercising to avoid indigestion, heartburn, and getting a cramp
- Give muscles at least 24 hours to recover after a workout
- Drink plenty of water
At ProCare Health, we’re here for all your post weight loss surgery needs. From supplements to support groups, we know just what our patients need to achieve a life full of health and happiness. In fact, we released a three-part series featuring Personal Trainer and Physical Therapist, Amy Posadas. You can find them on our Crowdcast Channel.
For more information about the products and support we offer, visit our website here. ProCare Health knows just what it takes to make your weight loss surgery a success. So, trust us to help you with all your post-surgery needs.