Building A Post Bariatric Exercise Plan

As you gear up to begin a new chapter in your life post your surgery, make exercise an indispensable part of your new life.

Here are some exercises that make up an all-rounded workout program:

Level 1

  • Once you have recovered from your surgery and have the go-ahead from your doctor, you can start off with some low-impact exercises.
  • Walking is the best way to begin. It is simple, cost-free and helps build stamina. Start with a short bout of 10 minutes and slowly build on the time.
  • Exercises like shoulder and arm rotations and leg lifts while sitting on a chair are a great way to mobilize the joints.

Level 2

  • About four weeks after surgery you should be able to increase the difficulty level, subject to your doctor’s approval.
  • Cycling is a great exercise at this stage as it is more challenging than walking but, at the same time it does not risk the joints.
  • Cycle outdoors or if the weather does not permit join a spinning class at the gym.
  • If the incisions have healed completely, you can add swimming to your exercise schedule.
  • Or, join a water aerobics class to add an element of fun and keep the motivation up.

Level 3

  • Once your body has got used to these exercises, it is time to add strength training to the mix.
  • Strength training helps build muscle mass which is effective in burning more calories, strengthening the joints and improving balance and posture.
  • Join a gym to do weight training under professional supervision and guidance.
  • Yoga is also a great way to incorporate strength training in your workout plan.

Remember to start slow and build up gradually at a pace that is right for your body.

Exercise well but most importantly exercise safe!

Get Up and Get Going!

“I’ll start tomorrow” – is the most popular excuse to skip an exercise session.

But, in order to continue to reap the benefits of bariatric surgery, a light to moderate exercise routine will be of great help.

Here are some tips to help you make exercise a fun routine:

  • Workout buddy: Set up an exercise schedule with a friend whether it is going for a daily walk or enrolling in an exercise class. It may motivate you on those days when you are feeling lazy.
  • Choose your exercise: Opt for the kind of exercise that you enjoy. If you enjoy being out in the open go for a walk, if you enjoy dancing join an aerobics class
  • Mix it up: Don’t let it get monotonous and boring. Incorporating different exercises in your workout plan will keep it interesting and fun.
  • Change with the weather: Go swimming during summers and opt for indoor workouts during monsoons. This will ensure that weather conditions are never a reason for you to miss a workout.
  • Set targets: Working towards goals keeps the motivation up. Set weekly targets – increase the number of kilometres within the same time frame or doing more repetitions in the gym. This will make you push yourself harder every time.
  • Rest: Choose a rest day, maybe Sunday? Give your body a break and take it easy. It will charge you up to attack your exercise goals for the new week.

Post-surgery, exercise plays a crucial role in sustained weight loss, general fitness and optimum cardiovascular health.

Just like the proverbial “apple”, exercising daily too will keep the doctor away!

Get Moving: Role of Exercise After Bariatric Surgery

First two years after Bariatric surgery are a dream-come-true phase where weight loss is almost automatic irrespective of whether you exercise or not.

Many patients get carried away in this magical phase and fall back on their old habits of overeating and not exercising.

Sure, damage is much less with Bariatric patients compared to those who haven’t undergone surgery with respect to weight regain.

Yet, there is a chance of 10-20% excess weight regain if healthy habits are not learnt after surgery i.e. mild to moderate daily exercise along with 6 small and healthy meals everyday.

Most patients are able to start off with moderate amount of exercise within two to four weeks of having undergone surgery. Make sure you consult your Bariatric Team to build the quantity and intensity of your workout based on your individual needs and condition.

Exercising ensures that not only do you continue to lose weight after surgery but also that you lose it the right way.

Most importantly, its much more fun exercising after surgery than before because results can be experienced much quicker and are more long-lasting.

Start slow, like a gentle 10-minute stroll and gradually build up the intensity to the point where you are left a little out of breath at the end of the exercise.

Low impact aerobic exercises like brisk walking, yoga, cycling, swimming, etc are a great way target the fat stores in the body. Also, include strength training in your workout plan to preserve and build the body’s muscle mass.

Exercising regularly ensures conditioning of the cardiovascular system and healthier joints. It also keeps the rate of metabolism up which helps sustain weight loss.

Exercising is also great for mental health. It infuses positivity and prevents stress and anxiety from bothering your mind.

Make sure that you listen to your body. Stop if it hurts. And, once your body gets used to the intensity, slowly up the ante and introduce new challenges in your workout.

So, strap on those boots and get moving!