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Injury Prevention

After Bariatric Surgery

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Obesity is associated with diseases that make life difficult and impact negatively on the quality of life. Exercise after bariatric surgery must therefore be done in such a way that will not cause injury that may further comprise the well-being of an obese person.

Having known the benefits associated with exercise after your bariatric surgery, you are likely going to be overzealous with your exercise. However, because your muscles, ligaments and joints are yet to adapt to this exercise routine, you are at risk of sustaining injury during your workout. Moderation is essential during the initial phase of your workout program. Injury will give you a set back and prevent you from achieving your target at the set time.

Exercise after bariatric surgery requires that your whole body is healthy and in proper shape. Any form of acute illness demands that you postpone your exercise till you have fully recovered. Nevertheless, exercise is possible and even beneficial in some minor illnesses like common cold. The rule is for you to always assess your body’s readiness for the exercise. Consult your doctor on any unusual feeling or sign to determine the compatibility of such with your workout.

Even when there is no injury, the ideal practice is to rest after some days of your exercise routine to allow your body relax and recover from the stress of the previous exercise. Relaxation can also boost your mental health and improve your overall wellbeing.

If you have not been exercising before, you may experience muscle soreness a day or two after your workout. It is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It is mostly seen in those who have not been physically active for a long period of time and now starting a new exercise. The soreness is due to small tears in the muscle as they are engaged in unusual movements.

How much soreness you experience is determined by the duration and intensity of the exercise. Although the soreness is an unpleasant feeling, it is actually beneficial. Your muscles will gradually enlarge as they recover and this will increase your strength to sustain more intense exercise. Little or nothing can be done to prevent this.

Before each exercise routine, you should engage in warm-up and stretching activities. These will help prepare your heart and lungs for the exercise, increase the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles, release tight muscles and reduce the risk of injury. Start with low-impact and less stressful exercise and gradually increase to more demanding ones. This will allow your muscles and joint adapt to your workout and reduce the risk of sprain, or dislocation.

Osteoarthritis is common among obese individuals. This is a degenerative disease that often affects weight bearing joints with symptoms getting worse after physical activities. Although, osteoarthritis resolves/improve in most patients as they lose weight after bariatric surgery, it may hinder your exercise at the beginning when you have not lost an appreciable weight. You should therefore pay attention to your joints and avoid exercise that puts additional stress on the affected joints. Any additional pain requires that you abandon that particular exercise and consult your doctor. You can recommence that particular exercise one you have lost significant weight. For example, instead of running, you can do walking, dancing, swimming as these exercise put less demand on your joints.

Another way of preventing injury during bariatric exercise is to alternate your exercise routine. Strength training exercise in a particular day may be followed by a day of rest. You can then do a cardiovascular exercise the following day before you go back to a strength training workout.

When you experience soreness, you can take over- the- counter analgesics occasionally to relieve the pain. This should however not be abused as they have their own side effects. You should also talk to your doctor before taking this medication in case you have any ailment that does not support its use. Ice compression, rest and elevation are other adjuncts to analgesics whenever you sustain any injury. They are the first line of treatment before you get to your doctor.

After a high-impact exercise, you can either rest the following day or engage in a low-impact workout such as swimming, brisk walking, etc. Regular yoga classes have been found to prevent injury during exercise. You can engage in this along with your exercise routine.

The major preventive measures are for you to adhere to your physician’s recommendation on the appropriate exercise for you, start small and increase gradually, pay attention to your body and rest in between your workouts.

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