Every person’s weight loss journey looks different, but physical fitness is important for anyone looking to improve their overall health. Regular exercise is a key component to reaching your weight loss goals after bariatric surgery.
Why is Exercise Important After Bariatric Surgery?
Exercise is one tool to achieve and maintain a better quality of life after bariatric surgery. Not only does exercising help you reach your weight loss goals, but it also helps preserve lean muscle mass, promote joint stability and bone strength, improve the elasticity of your skin and manage co-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
What Precautions Should I Take When Exercising After Bariatric Surgery?
In the initial weeks after bariatric surgery, you should follow your physician’s advice for exercise. Some patients might feel ready to exercise sooner than others, but a good rule of thumb is to start slow to prevent your risk of injury. Try starting with 10-15 minutes of walking per day and work your way up to longer and higher-intensity workouts.
Even if you’re able to exercise after a few weeks, you should be careful not to lift weights in excess for the first 10-12 months after surgery. Be sure to stick to light weights and low-impact exercises to allow your body to properly heal from surgery.
Sudden weight loss can also affect your balance, so it’s best to avoid balance exercises for the first 6 months after surgery. This will allow you to get used to the feeling of your new body and lessen your risk of injury from exercise.
What Types of Exercise Are Best After Bariatric Surgery?
Every person can benefit from a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility training for about 30 minutes per day. Cardio burns calories to give you more energy. Strength training keeps your muscles strong and lean. Flexibility training prevents injuries and helps reduce post-workout soreness. Here are some low-impact ways to practice each type of exercise after surgery:
- Cardio: Brisk walking, water aerobics, swimming, cycling
- Strength: Squats, lunges, bicep curls, rows and chest presses using your body weight, light weights or resistance bands
- Flexibility: Gentle yoga, chair yoga, dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching after a workout
Physician Referred Exercise Program (PREP)
Getting started with physical fitness isn’t always easy, especially if you had barriers to exercising before bariatric surgery. Inspira is here to help, with multiple opportunities for exercise education during the bariatric patient journey, as well as our Physician Referred Exercise Program (PREP). PREP is a 90-day supervised exercise program that incorporates your physician’s recommendations into a physical fitness routine with the help of a medical exercise specialist.