If you’re under the impression that bariatric surgery is a cure-all for what ails you, the surgery may not be right for you at this time.
You will have to alter the way that you eat after having a bariatric procedure, and exercise should also become a predominant feature of your lifestyle.
While starting a program might seem like a drag, if you’re truly ready to change, exercise after bariatric surgery can provide many surprising benefits for further motivation.
Lose Fat, Not Muscle
Exercise for bariatric surgery patients helps maintain a weight loss that is more fat than protein. Muscle burns more fat than protein, so your metabolism gets a boost as well when you keep your body’s lean muscle intact by losing fat instead.
Reap the Health Benefits
Regular exercise will help you gain mobility as you lose weight. In addition, exercise improves your heart health, strengthens your bones, and provides greater immunity. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and various other medical conditions benefit greatly from exercise.
Mental health also improves with activity. Depression, anxiety, and mental function all benefit from regular movement.
Methods of Exercise
A bariatric exercise program should include three main focuses: cardio, strength, and flexibility.
Cardio exercise focuses on the heart rate. This aerobic exercise makes your blood pump and promotes energy and metabolism. This type of exercise improves sleep, mental health, the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, bone strength, and focus.
Walking is a simple and effective cardio exercise. While you don’t need bariatric exercise equipment, having a treadmill for cold days eliminates excuses.
Strength training works to keep lean muscle. This type of exercise promotes metabolism and bone strength. This part of a post bariatric surgery exercise plan will also help minimize saggy skin often seen with quick weight loss.
Exercise that improves flexibility promotes healthy exercise. Stretching and training for flexibility will help you avoid injury that would set back your weight loss.
Post-Surgery Exercise Timeline
Beginning to exercise after your bariatric surgery will be gradual – just as your return to food is.
In the initial days after surgery, you’ll want to get up and walk but do so slowly. Keep your exercise to a maximum of 15-minute intervals.
As your body permits, you’ll begin to walk more, usually around 20 minutes per day. You can add more time as your comfort level allows.
After two weeks, you will be able to start with low-impact exercises. Walk a little longer or faster, and do a little stretching.
Four weeks post-surgery should be the time to begin adding more cardio. You might enjoy bicycling or swimming. Your goal should be to exercise 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.
Throw in strength training after six weeks. Your workouts should include weights, resistance bands, or some other strength training twice per week. Avoid working out the same muscle groups consecutively, and always listen to your body.
After weight loss surgery, your life will be different. You will eat differently, look differently, and you will move differently. Exercise should become part of who you are, part of what you do. This change should be gradual. If you need a trainer, get one, but whatever you do, move!