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Exercise Before and After Bariatric Surgery

Exercise Before and After Bariatric Surgery

Before recommending bariatric surgery, we require that each patient make a commitment to improving and maintaining his or her health by fully participating in Pacific Bariatric’s aftercare program. We consider strict adherence to a gastric bypass diet and a tailored exercise plan essential to the overall success of every procedure.
Incorporating some form of exercise into your daily life prior to surgery will drastically improve and can even speed up the weight loss process following gastric bypass surgery. For instance, walking, cycling, aerobics or swimming can help you feel and look great even before the surgery. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, in addition to your normal daily activities such as working, shopping or housekeeping.

The Purpose of Pre and Post Bariatric Surgery Exercise

The most important part of your pre- and post- bariatric surgery exercise routine is to strengthen your heart. When you exercise, your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body. Your muscles need this oxygen-rich blood in order to contract, so a healthy heart will help develop healthy muscles.
Rapid weight loss can cause you to lose both fat and muscle. Since muscle is essential to a healthy metabolism, exercise is the safest and most effective way to maintain lean body mass and improve weight loss. Just like your diet, the goal of your post bariatric surgery exercise is not just to look better but to live better.

Beginning Pre and Post Bariatric Surgery Exercise

Make sure you discuss any pre- and post-surgery exercise regimen with your surgeon.
The first rule of starting pre-or post-bariatric surgery exercise is to start slow. Although it is sped up by bariatric surgery, weight loss requires time and effort to be effective. Begin your exercise with low-intensity, low-impact activities and, as you progress, gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise.
Walking is a great way to start; begin with very short walks several times a day and gradually increase the distance or duration. Walking improves muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness in addition to helping you lose weight. Do not, at first, engage in strenuous exercise. We encourage you to set goals for yourself. By all means, if you want to run a marathon someday, go for it; just make sure you start out slowly. About six weeks after surgery, you should be able to tolerate all but the most strenuous of exercises.

You will be given instructions for post-surgery exercise and activity. Generally, post-surgery, don’t sit or stand in one place for a long period of time. Light housekeeping may be undertaken when you feel you are able. Driving a car is usually permitted one week after surgery. Most patients are able to return to light work after two weeks and to heavy labor after six weeks. The time of your return to work will depend upon the physical demands of your job and the rate of your recovery. Talk with your physician before starting anything new.

Maintaining Exercise Post Bariatric Surgery

After you reach a weight you are happy with, you may be tempted to reduce or eliminate exercise from your daily routine.  Continuing an exercise program in the months and years following bariatric surgery is an important part of staying healthy and maintaining weight loss results. Although you need to keep exercising, you do not need to continually increase the difficulty of the workout. Maintaining a basic exercise program will keep you looking and feeling good for the years following your surgery. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise a day and two or more days of muscle-strengthening a week.