One of the many benefits of weight loss surgery is feeling lighter on your feet with less time, which makes many patients eager to get going and achieve their fitness goals. And while exercise is great for wellness and maintaining your healthy new BMI, it’s important not to rush into a routine of physical activity. After all, bariatric surgery is still a significant procedure that requires plenty of rest and adherence to specific diet guidelines to ensure healing progresses as planned.
To help you understand physical activity after your bariatric procedure, Presence Health has created the following guide:
During the initial phases of recovery, it’s most important to stay hydrated and follow food intake instructions, such as a clear liquid diet. In the first few weeks of aftercare, the focus is on getting patients accustomed to their new lifestyle and ensuring they are consuming nutrient-dense foods. At this stage, you not may feel much like exercising.
Work closely with your doctor to ensure you understand the healing timeline. As your surgeon monitors your progress, they can provide you with the green light to begin physical activity. This may not come until after you have reached the final phase of diet changes, which is the stabilization diet.
If there’s anything patients learn from their bariatric surgery journey, it’s that achieving positive results is a process that starts with small steps and works up to expected functionality. This is true for how you will change your diet after treatment, as well as how you can add higher levels of physical activity.
Your doctor may recommend that you try walking around the house after surgery, and even while in the hospital after treatment, to increase blood flow and prevent you from feeling stiff while you commit to rest and recuperation. With time and as you heal, you can spend more time on your feet, which segues into your fitness routine.
Instead of jumping straight into intense cardio and heavy weight lifting, try brisk walking for 30 minutes or however long you are comfortable. In general, 150 minutes per week is the recommended level of exercise for bariatric surgery patients. As you become more comfortable in your fitness routine, you can incorporate higher intensity cardio, as well as lifting weights to strengthen muscles. In experimenting with fitness routines, patients may discover they enjoy swimming laps or taking group workout classes. Part of the joy of achieving a healthy BMI is feeling comfortable in your ability to experiment with new, healthy routines that help you feel great about yourself.
Overexertion before your body is ready is risky behavior for any patient recovering from a major operation. As every patient is unique, you will need to listen carefully to physical signals that you are ready for the level of exercise you are interested in. If a particular movement becomes painful, contact your doctor immediately and avoid exercising the affected body part. The safest way to add a new fitness routine is to choose something low-impact to begin and gradually increase time and intensity of the workout. Avoid exercises that strain the treatment area; specific weightlifting and muscle toning regimens will have to wait until you have full clearance from your doctor.
The subject of safety and fitness after bariatric surgery may be less of a debate than patients imagine. During the first few weeks of recovery, you will feel tired and physically slow; patients at this stage are not apt to go for a jog and risk affecting the treatment site. The discussion may have more to say about reducing risks, as opposed to incurring them. Increased levels of physical fitness, positive diet changes, and healthy reduction of BMI mitigate the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The significant changes to your body systems and routines created by the bariatric surgery process make tremendous strides in reducing weight. However, after the initial loss that comes with a restricted calorie diet and small stomach pouch, some patients may notice that the weight loss trend drops off or stabilizes. While this can be frustrating, it can be overcome with the addition of healthy exercise. Experiment with which types of activities you enjoy most, whether that’s kickboxing, jogging, or a dance fitness class. Varying your routine and increasing fitness levels can help jumpstart your weight loss and allow you to break through a scale stalemate where the numbers seem to be moving down at a slower pace than you prefer.
Your way to health and wellness is paved by a skilled bariatric surgeon, excellent nutrition habits, and a healthy exercise routine you enjoy. If you have questions about your fitness level after gastric sleeve or bypass surgery, we encourage you to call our team today for a consultation. We are prepared to help you entirely understand your recovery with educational materials, in-depth appointments, and support groups that encourage health and maintenance of results.