Developing an Exercise Plan
What happens after weight loss surgery involves a new chapter in your book of life. It’s a chapter on a new you that includes adopting healthy eating habits and getting regular exercise. Incorporating regular exercise into your life after bariatric surgery is especially important to optimize your weight loss success.
Exercise Is Essential for Weight Loss Success
Although most programs will mandate significant and regular physical exercises to induce weight loss, we have a different opinion. Our body frame (bones, joints, cartilages, muscle mass) was designed to carry a certain weight. When someone has a significant excess weight on himself or herself, these “usual” exercises can negatively impact the longevity of their joints (back, hips, knees, etc.). We want our patients active, and as long the exercises are supervised by a knowledgeable physical therapist, it will be fine and recommended. Physical activity, including regular exercise, is different and actually pleasant after weight loss surgery. Regular exercise can help you maintain your weight loss long-term. Specific benefits of regular exercise after bariatric surgery include:
- Increasing the rate at which you burn calories (i.e., your metabolism)
- Improving your mood and decreasing stress
- Helping you to maintain lean body mass as you lose weight
- Increasing your ability to perform everyday tasks (such as walking and cleaning)
- Increasing the tonus of your muscles improving your posture
In addition, exercise can shorten your bariatric surgery recovery time.
Postoperative Surgery Exercise Tips
For the first few weeks after your gastric bypass, lap band, or sleeve gastrectomy surgery, your exercise will be limited to flexibility exercises and walking. Gradually, as you recover from your surgery and your strength and stamina return, you should incorporate low-impact aerobic exercises. These include walking in soft surfaces, biking, and swimming.
Once you receive the green light from your weight loss surgeon, Dr. Baptista, you can incorporate strength and abdominal exercises into your regime. Depending on the type of surgery you had, you may need to refrain from lifting more than 15 pounds for the first six weeks after surgery.
Other tips for developing an exercise plan include:
- Enlist a partner to exercise with you.
- Join a health club or gym, and participate in classes.
- Try walking in different environments, such as the mall, park, beach.
- Start out walking on flat surfaces; then, move to slight grades and steep hills.
- Listen to upbeat music when you exercise.
- Change up your exercise routine for variety.
Remember, life after bariatric surgery will be different — in a good way. A lifelong commitment to an exercise program is crucial to maintain your weight loss success. Bariatric surgery is an effective tool for rapid weight loss. However, it must be complemented with healthy eating habits and regular physical activity to prevent the weight from returning. Take this new chapter in your life day by day and page by page.
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.