Bariatric (weight loss) surgeries are the surgical treatments for obese individuals who desire to lose a significant amount of excess weight and achieve a resolution/improvement in diseases that are associated with obesity. They are efficient and relatively safe.
They alter the diet by reducing the amount of intake or reducing absorption or both. However, they need to be complemented with exercise to get and sustain the optimal weight loss.
- When do you commence exercise after bariatric surgery?
- What exercise is the best to start with?
- What preparation do you need before starting your exercise after bariatric surgery?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Your doctor will tell you when to start your exercise. This is after a thorough assessment of your level of recovery from surgery and cardiovascular and respiratory stability. Apart from the time to start, you will also know which forms of exercises are best for you and how frequent to engage in them. Most surgeons will allow their patients to commence exercise after four weeks of bariatric surgery with little variations among patients.
Exercise after bariatric surgery starts with walking around the home. This should initially be as much as you can tolerate. Few minutes of brisk walk in a day is enough to kick start your post-bariatric surgery exercise. You can then increase the duration gradually to about 45 minutes per day. You need to know that the rigorous nature of the exercise has little to do with your aim of losing weight. In fact, rigorous exercise may make you lose your muscle bulk as well. Therefore, slow and steady wins the race.
Your following exercise should be determined by those things you enjoy most. When you engage in an exercise that gives you pleasure, sustainability becomes an easy thing. Bicycling, swimming, yoga, jogging, going to the gym, etc. are all helpful in achieving weight loss.
Doing it alone may soon become boring. Let your friend and relatives give you the support. Go to the gym with them, jog together and while doing these, gist about interesting topics. This keeps you motivated and prevents your exercise from becoming a boring activity.
Before you start your exercise after bariatric surgery, set your targets. No, what you want to achieve daily, weekly and monthly. Let these objectives be realistic and measurable. A loss of 20 kg weight in one week is not achievable. With measurable targets, you will be able to assess your progress when you finally start your exercise. Items such as pedometer and bathroom weighing scale will help you track your level of activity and monitor your weight changes.
It is not advisable to start your exercise without looking for people with the same problem and targets as yours. You need people going through the same experience with you to share ideas and success stories. You can get them from different bariatric surgery forums. These people will serve as competitors and motivators for you.
The injury may prevent you from sustaining your exercise after bariatric surgery. Therefore, one of the things you need to learn before you start post-bariatric surgery training is how to prevent injury. Before each exercise, try to warm up by doing some form of stretching, jumping, etc. for about ten mins. This will help release tight muscles and improve flexibility. It will also increase heart rate and blood flow to vital tissues/organs, such as muscles and adrenal glands, in preparation for the main exercise.
Getting started with exercise after bariatric surgery requires some knowledge and information that will guide you throughout your exercise, prevent you from sustaining an injury, keeps you motivated and make your exercise full of fun.