Activity is Key to Maintenance After Weight Loss Surgery
Your weight loss surgery was an important first step toward improving your health and controlling your weight. Increasing activity is the next essential step in our weight loss journey to maintain your weight loss once your goals are achieved. Your commitments to healthy eating and regular physical activity are critical to your long-term success at losing weight and keeping it off.
Before your weight loss surgery, excess body weight may have prevented you from exercising at all. In the days and weeks following surgery, you will find it easier to move around. Soon after surgery, increase your daily activity to acclimate your body to physical exertion. Wash dishes by hand, for example, or walk up one flight of stairs rather than taking the elevator.
Exercise After Weight Loss Surgery
Once your surgeon clears you for physical activity, start with sitting exercises. Lift your legs in a marching motion while sitting, for example, or straighten your arms out at shoulder height and move them in small, circular motions. You can start regular exercises about a month after your weight loss surgery.
Most surgeons recommend that you avoid lifting more than 15 pounds in the first six weeks after weight loss surgery. After that, exercise only up to your pain threshold—joint pain during exercise is never healthy.
Hold off on doing abdominal exercises for the first 8 to 12 weeks after surgery to give your incisions time to heal and to avoid abdominal hernias near the incision.
Start slowly. Gradually progress your activity never exceeding your comfort level. Your eventual goal is to exercise 60 minutes daily on six days of the week. It may take many months before you reach this goal but remember, weight control is a marathon not a sprint so keep going and you will achieve your goal.
If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than 35, try to avoid exercises that stress your joints, such as jogging, jumping, or contact sports. You may be able to engage in these activities once your BMI drops below 35.
Engage in aerobic exercise that is low or moderate in intensity for maximum weight loss, starting one to three months after your surgery. Bicycling, swimming, and walking are all effective fat-burning activities. Emphasize duration rather than intensity when you exercise.
Add in strength training about four months after your surgery. Strength training builds muscle mass that not only makes you stronger, but also helps you burn calories faster. Squats, lunges, and yoga are excellent strength training activities after surgery.
Your strength, endurance, and ability to exercise will increase rapidly in the months after your weight loss surgery, especially as you lose weight with a low-carbohydrate diet and regular fat-burning activities.
For More Information on Weight Loss Surgery.
For more information on bariatric surgery, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Baptista, please contact Florida Surgical Physicians today.