What You Need to Know About Exercising After Weight Loss Surgery

Regular exercise is essential to keeping excess weight off after bariatric surgery. Follow our guide for some tips to get you up and moving.

For people struggling with obesity, bariatric surgery is often the best way to lose a significant amount of excess weight. On a mechanical level, the procedure makes your stomach smaller so you’ll consume fewer calories. It also helps you lose weight — and keep it off — by jumpstarting your metabolism.

However, you’ll need to make lifestyle changes such as incorporating regular exercise into your schedule in order to maximize your weight loss results. Here’s a crash course in exercising after weight loss surgery.  

The Importance of Exercise after Weight Loss Surgery

Regular exercise is at the heart of any weight loss surgery success story. A meta-analysis of studies on weight loss from the National Institutes of Health found that bariatric surgery patients who exercised had BMIs 4.2 percent lower than those who didn’t. Exercise helps you meet your weight loss goals faster by boosting your metabolism so you can burn more fat and build lean muscle mass.

After bariatric surgery, you’ll lose weight and muscle mass rapidly, but it’s important to regain those muscles to keep yourself strong. Also, lean muscles burn more calories during workouts and at rest, so you’ll get slimmer as you get stronger. 

Exercise has many other health benefits beyond weight loss. People who exercise between two and eight hours a week live at least 29 percent longer than those who don’t, and moving your body plays a key role in preventing serious health complications. For instance, even a small amount of aerobic exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system and reduces your risk of developing heart disease

How To Build a Post-Surgery Exercise Plan

After bariatric surgery, you might want to start being more active right away and try new forms of exercise. However, it can take about a month to heal from laparoscopic surgery. Keeping your body moving during this period will aid recovery, but you can’t jump into vigorous exercise right away. 

Your exercise program after weight loss surgery — complete with cardio, strength training, and flexibility — will have to unfold in stages. Two to four weeks after weight loss surgery, you should focus on flexibility and working your way back to normal activity. This includes a lot of stretching, walking, arm rotations, and absolutely no abdominal work or weight lifting.

You can start incorporating cardio into your routine a month or two after surgery to burn calories and boost your energy. Cycling, swimming, walking, and yoga are great post-surgery exercises because they’re low-impact but you can still work up a good sweat. Aim for 30 minutes of activity five days a week, and then slowly build from there. You should be able to talk comfortably while working out, but if you’re able to sing you can probably push yourself a little more. 

Six weeks after surgery you’re ready to start your strength training. Experts recommend adding strength training to your routine at least two days per week, but start slow and don’t train the same muscles back to back. If you choose to lift weights, start with one to five-pound weights, and then increase your weight once you can do three sets of 15 to 20 solid reps. You can also build strength using your own body weight by doing lunges, squats, and planks. 

Here are some more tips for success: 

  • – Set realistic, attainable exercise goals.
  • – Emphasize duration over intensity.
  • – Switch up your exercise routine periodically to challenge your body and prevent boredom.
  • – Choose workouts you enjoy doing!
  • – Give your body at least 24 hours to recover after a workout.

Let’s Get Moving!

Learning how to exercise after bariatric surgery can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. Contact the weight loss experts at Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today! We can help you build an exercise program that suits you perfectly, and get you started on your journey to a happier, healthier you.