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As soon as possible! In fact, you may be asked to take short, slow-paced walks while you are still in the hospital.
The American Association of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercises per week.
Recommended Physical Activities Post Bariatric Surgery
- Brisk walking
- Light jogging
- Working out on exercise machines
Cleveland Clinic recommends no strength training for at least the first three months after surgery.
Develop an Appropriate Workout Schedule
Obesity Action3 suggests doing light breathing and flexibility activities for up to four weeks post bariatric surgery. Exercises such as swimming and walking can be gradually incorporated in the daily schedule. It is advisable for open surgery patients to:
- Not lift over 15lbs for the first six weeks
- Avoid exercises involving the stomach for about 8-12 weeks post-surgery
- Stay away from high intensity exercises as the initial lower intake of calories can make you feel tired very easily
- Consult your doctor before making changes in the physical activity schedule
On the other hand, individuals who have undergone laparoscopic bariatric surgery can start exercising much earlier.
Advantages of Working Out After WLS
Working out after bariatric surgery can help keep co-morbidities away, boost self-esteem and enhance the overall being of the individual. According to UC San Diego Health,4 exercising after weight loss surgery can:
- control blood sugar levels
- enhance the rate of metabolism
- help with maximizing weight loss by burning excess calories
- strengthen muscles and bones
- be a great stressbuster
Therefore, start with an exercise program at the earliest, but make sure it doesn’t hurt your incisions.
Our Bariatric Clients’ Experience With Workouts
- For the first six weeks after surgery, most of our clients did light cardio. However, care should be taken as too much cardio can lead to muscle pull.
- Breaking workout into smaller sessions say of 5 to 10 minutes each helped them achieve their physical activity goals.
- They suggest using a workout bike or elliptical for the purpose.
- A unique method adopted by one of our clients was to exercise during commercials or do squats before going to the bathroom.
- Also, one of our clients suggests that the body can get sore 4-5 days after working out and hence should be given proper time to recover along with regular stretching.
- After 6-7 weeks, many of them started going on hikes, hitting the gym twice a week and walking for 20 minutes 4 days a week.
- While it is generally recommended to wait for 6 weeks to start with swimming, some of our clients were comfortable with getting into water even 2 weeks after surgery. They ensured that their stitch line had healed before they hit the pool.
- “Life After Bariatric Surgery.” American Association of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, https://asmbs.org/patients/life-after-bariatric-surgery
- “Life After Bariatric Surgery – Exercise After Bariatric Surgery.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/bariatric/patient-education/after-surgery#exercise-after-surgery-tab
- “Exercise After Weight-Loss Surgery.” UC San Diego Health – Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, https://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/surgery/bariatric/weight-loss-surgery/post-op/Pages/exercise.aspx
- Julia Karlstad. “Weight-Loss Surgery and Fitness – The Do’s and Don’ts for A Successful Exercise Program.” Obesity Action Coalition, https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/weight-loss-surgery-and-fitness-the-dos-and-donts-for-a-successful-exercise-program/
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Move your body to see those pounds come off. An inspiring quote to help you kick-start your weight loss experience.