Exercise after Bariatric Surgery

Exercise after bariatric surgery is extremely important both in the short and long-term. Shorter-term and almost immediately after surgery, the recovery team will ask patients to walk as much as they can at the hospital to stimulate blood flow throughout the body and allow for speedier recovery. Patients should walk as much as they can without becoming too fatigued or winded.

In the weeks, months and years after surgery, exercise will remain an important part of the patient’s daily routine. No surgery can be truly successful without a solid exercise regimen. The more a patient exercises, within limits, the more weight they will be able to lose. And since muscle burns more calories than fat, a weight loss surgery patient with a good exercise regimen will be able to lose even more weight, even at rest.

Not only does exercise help with weight loss, but it also helps improve or eliminate many of the diseases associated with morbid obesity and can help increase the hormones that give us a sense of happiness thereby reducing the incidence of depression. Finally, exercise is very helpful in keeping bones strong and restoring bone density that may have been lost during a more sedentary lifestyle. Exercise is critical for overall health, especially in older years where osteoporosis and osteoarthritis become a very real possibility.

Exercise Dos and Don’ts

  • Patients should not lift heavy items within several weeks of surgery or until their surgeon has given them the OK
  • Patients should not over exert themselves or push themselves beyond their limits.
  • Patients should not wear heavy clothing while exercising as doing so may cause greater than normal perspiration, creating a risk of dehydration.
  • Patients should make sure they consume adequate water before, during and after surgery particularly while exercising.
  • Patients should not perform high impact exercises until cleared by their surgeon as this can lead to injury.

Patients should be sure to follow the exercise guidelines provided by their surgeon. There will be some limitations that will prevent them from performing some exercises. Especially immediately after surgery, patients should be careful not to strain themselves. Regular communication with a trainer specializing in bariatric patients or with the surgical practice will ensure safe and effective exercise.

Click here for an example of an exercise journal

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