What is the right amount of exercise after weight-loss surgery?
In the journey towards weight loss, bariatric surgery is a crucial milestone. But one should not think that it is the final stop. The long-term benefits of bariatric surgery can only be realized if the patient maintains a regular exercise regime and follows the diet as prescribed by the weight loss surgeon. In addition, preparing the self mentally and discipline are essential.
Patients who had laparoscopic surgery can return to normal activities in 2-4 weeks, and it will take up to 12 weeks in case of open surgery. The inputs of your bariatric surgeon and a fitness professional will help you develop a unique program as per your personal preferences, ability and your weight loss goals.
What are the benefits of exercise after weight loss surgery?
Exercise after surgery prevents blood clots, improves circulation, promotes wound healing, and improves bowel function. One of the most noticeable phenomena after a weight loss surgery is the excess skin folds. The excess skin folds are around the breasts, tummy, hips and limbs. They gradually roll up and can lead to rashes and infections. That’s where exercise helps since it tones the muscles and tightens the saggy skin. Some even consider cosmetic surgery to remove the excess skin.
A look into exercise regime after weight loss surgery
Start with walking in the first week of the surgery. The patient can take several short walks per day, including walking around the house or climbing stairs at home. Patients should gradually increase walking and aim to walk 10,000 steps per day. Once the wounds are healed, patients can try swimming and aerobics. Heavy lifting and rigorous exercise can be started three weeks after surgery.
You will feel motivated if you include variety in your exercise regime. A good combination would be a routine that will increase your endurance, flexibility and strength. Aerobics are good to maintain body fat at healthy levels, and weight resistance exercises will strengthen your muscles. One can choose from swimming, cycling and walking. Yoga, dancing, jogging, aerobics classes and light weights are also recommended.
How can I stay motivated to do exercise going?
Below are a few methods you can follow to stay motivated:-
- Limiting your screen time and focussing that spare time on improving fitness and energy levels.
- Start slowly and don’t do it initially for the first couple of weeks.
- If you don’t have a gym or fitness spot nearby, that’s ok. You can do many exercise routines like walking, jogging, cycling etc. and when you are ready for heavy lifting, you can join the gym.
- Focus on realistic and achievable goals for your exercise program.
- Switch between various workouts to keep things interesting.
- Choose physical activities that you enjoy as you will be more likely to continue doing them.
- Combining a hobby with exercise would be great, like gardening, swimming, etc.
- You can also start by walking for grocery shopping, office or dropping and picking kids.
- Get a wearable fitness device and count that you walk 10000 steps per day.
- Maintain a minimum of 2 hours gap between eating and exercising. Otherwise, you might end up with indigestion, heartburn.
- With any bariatric surgery, the stomach size gets restricted. So water absorption also reduces. Hence, make sure that you are sufficiently hydrated following an exercise routine.
How much exercise should one do?
Being active daily is essential. They should aim for about 150 minutes of activity in a whole week, which means 30 minutes per day for five days a week. But if you haven’t had the habit of exercising, starting it suddenly after the surgery might be difficult. So, it is highly recommended that you start your post-surgical life at least a couple of months before the surgery. You will need to develop your exercise routine to get out and be active.
2-6 Weeks After Surgery
Start an exercise regimen two to three weeks after bariatric surgery. Core strength increasing exercises are also essential because, along with weight loss, there is also muscle loss. Below is a list of workouts you could try:-
- Aerobics, walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming exercises. These will improve your fitness levels.
- Muscle mass building routine for, e.g., dumbbells, weight bands, or gym machines.
6–12 Weeks After Surgery
Now increase your routine to 45 minutes per day for four days a week. Try out:-
- Heavy-duty workouts kickboxing, yoga, dancing.
- Heavy routine in the gym to tone the muscles.
1 Year–Plus After Surgery
You might have lost a lot of weight and feel great. But you have to be cautious about not giving up on exercise. Since this is when most patients lose focus, apart from the regular gym, yoga and aerobics, you could also try outdoor exercises like hiking, running outdoors, bicycling.
Dr V.Pareek has a complete team with you even after the surgery. You can discuss with them and personally design your workout plan. If you feel like you are slipping up, find support groups or talk to your family. Motivation and continuous practice are the keys. Call us on +91 91-777-77715 and stay healthy and fit.