How Weight Loss Surgery Can Boost Your Fitness and Mobility

Considering weight loss surgery? Here’s how the procedure can increase your mobility and make exercise more fun.

As 2020 approaches, many people are using the promise of the new year to plan a fresh start. However, if you’re struggling with obesity, resolutions like “get more active” are often easier said than done. Yet exercise remains a critical part of maintaining your physical and mental health.

In addition to reducing your risk of serious weight-related health complications and improving your skin, sleep, and mood, weight loss surgery also makes exercise more fun. Learn how the procedure can actually make you enjoy physical activity.  

Weight Loss Surgery Helps You Be More Active

People who struggle with obesity often find it difficult to exercise. When each pound of excess weight puts four extra pounds of pressure on your knees, joint pain is a compelling reason not to work out. When the gym is full of crossfitters and you’re slogging through a jog, it’s natural to want to quit.

Weight loss surgery can boost your fitness and mobility by breaking down the barriers that keep you from being active. For instance, gastric bypass patients lose 60 to 80 percent of their excess weight on average, which alleviates many weight-related factors that make working out challenging. Once you feel more confident at the gym, are free of joint pain, and can walk further without getting winded, you’ll be eager to see what else your body can do. 

How To Start Exercising After Bariatric Surgery 

Exercise is a very important part of your weight loss journey. In order to prepare your body for the procedure, your primary care physician will put you on a diet and exercise program that focuses on lowering fat consumption and improving heart health. This helps ensure that the surgery goes smoothly and reduces your risk of complications.

Even though it’s important to continue the healthy habits you gain during this pre-op stage, be careful not to jump right into exercise without a plan. Here are some guidelines for building an exercise routine after bariatric surgery:

1. Take It Slow

Your body is still in recovery for the first month and a half after surgery, and you need to ease into exercise. Start with 15-20 minute walks and light movements like leg lifts or shoulder rolls before incrementally transitioning into more rigorous exercise. Listen to your body, and don’t forget to stretch.

2. Choose Exercises You Enjoy

If you think running on the treadmill is boring, don’t run! If you feel intimidated by weight machines in the gym, use hand weights for now and come back to machines when you’re feeling more confident. This is your exercise routine, not anyone else’s — choose forms of movement you enjoy and you’re much more likely to stick with it.

3. Don’t Forget Strength Training

You should add two days of strength training to your routine about six weeks after surgery. Strength training builds lean muscle mass, which helps you burn more calories and tone up. Try lunges, squats, and lifting light to moderately heavy weights. 

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Modify

After weight loss surgery, you’ll have an entirely new relationship with your body. It’s important to keep this in mind when restarting exercise because you’ll be asked to challenge your body but not overexert it. As you start doing more complex exercises, you might need to modify the movements — and that’s okay. You’ll still receive all the aerobic benefits and eventually you’ll get strong enough to execute the movements fully. 

5. Prioritize Duration Over Intensity

Think of your weight loss journey as a marathon — you don’t want to burn out too soon. The goal is to gradually increase your stamina and range of motion until you can sustain 45 minutes to an hour of moderate aerobic exercise. You should only attempt high-intensity workouts after you have fully recovered from surgery. 

Ready To Get Moving? 

If you’re ready to boost your fitness and mobility with weight loss surgery, contact the bariatric surgery professionals at Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today! Our team will walk you through your weight loss options and help you on your journey to a happier, healthier you.