Activity & Exercise After Weight Loss Surgery
In the longer-term, exercise is a critically important part of patient success. After surgery, bariatric patients that combine proper diet with a regular exercise program have been shown to achieve greater weight loss than patients who remain sedentary. In addition to losing more weight and keeping it off, patients who exercise are not only healthier, but may be happier too. Exercise releases chemicals in the body that stimulate happiness and mitigate depression and anxiety. Plus, exercise improves heart health and increases energy. Patients should slowly build up the amount of time they spend exercising every day. Walking will be one of the most effective and easiest exercises to perform after surgery.
Patients will likely be able to return to many activities and might finally be able to perform some that they haven’t in many years such as:
- Taking a long romantic walk with their spouse or significant other
- Playing (and keeping up) with their children or grandchildren
- Tying their shoes with no difficulty at all
- Fitting comfortably into a plane or movie theater seat
- Being able to perform and complete a cardiovascular workout
- Playing sports
Moderation in Exercise
With all activities and exercises, also comes risk. These risks usually revolve around overexertion and injury. Exercise should be started in moderation, slowly building up to greater and greater difficulty levels. Patients may also opt for low-impact activities as they lose wright, to minimize stress on their joints. Swimming and cycling may be preferable to running on pavement for several months after surgery. Some beneficial low-impact exercises may include:
- Cycling or Spinning
- Ballroom dancing
- Yoga, Pilates and Stretching
- Rowing or kayaking
- Water aerobics
- Brisk Walking
No matter what exercise is being performed it is important to remember that overexertion is not worth it. While you may be excited to see the next step in your routine, injuring yourself can set you back for weeks – be careful!
Staying Motivated to Exercise
One of the many challenges patients face after surgery is staying motivated to exercise over the longer term. Workout routines can seem monotonous after a while. Staying motivated becomes all the more inmportant. Here are some simple tips to get moving and keep motivated when you are cleared for all exercises.
First off, it is important to find enjoyable activities. Exercise does not have to be torture. In fact, we can come up with dozens of ways to entertain ourselves while exercising. Finding something fun – a walk in the park, riding a bike, swimming or rollerblading. If you enjoy winter weather you might try skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or cross country skiing. They will all get your heart rate up, get you moving and that is the main goal. Participating in team sports and also to be very fulfilling. Having others count on you to show up and play your best that Helps keep you motivated weekend and week out.
Not into the outdoors? Even bowling counts as exercise! Or maybe join a gym and take a friend; having someone to keep you accountable will encourage you on those days you really don’t want to exercise. And don’t forget the kids or grandkids. Trying to keep up with them Will not only require plenty of exertion, but their excitement at playing with their parent or grandparent may offer much-needed motivation to keep going.
There is some form of physical activity that will get you excited about exercising and will hold your interest for more than a short while. Be creative – the need for exercise is never going away, so you may as well burn calories and shed those pounds doing something you enjoy.
Important reminder – always follow your surgeon’s instructions for exercise to avoid injury or surgival complications.
Remember exercise is a significant part of a successful surgery. Find activities that your really enjoy and relish the thought of finally being able to perform them to your fullest abilities.