Weight loss surgery can lead to many improvements with quality of life. However, the benefits you’ll enjoy post-surgery will depend on how committed you are to making positive lifestyle changes. One of the steps you’ll be encouraged to take after your procedure is to get regular exercise. If you’re not sure how to safely and effectively exercise as you recover, use the following tips as a guide.
Start with Walking
The first form of exercise most people can safely do within the first week or so after weight loss surgery is walking. Start by walking around your house or into and around your yard. At this point, you’ll want to avoid anything too strenuous. Pace yourself and gradually increase how much walking you do based on what’s comfortable for you. Using a fitness band to track your steps can be a good way to gauge your progress.
Transition to Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises
After your wounds have sufficiently healed, include low-impact aerobic exercises into your regular routine. You may prefer water-based exercises like water aerobics or swimming since the water reduces resistance. These types of exercises also increase circulation, which can help with tissue healing, and speed up your metabolism to help with calorie burning. Low-impact exercises can also include:
- Stationary cycling
- Exercise walking where you steadily increase distance and pace
- Elliptical trainer use
Set Smaller, Achievable Goals
While you might be super ambitious about doing everything possible to keep the pounds off after surgery, setting the bar too high can lead to disappointments that may discourage you. Instead, set smaller goals with your exercise habits. For instance, you might aim for 20-30 minutes of mild-to-moderate exercise, at least, 2-3 days a week to start. Once you get to the point where you are regularly reaching your goals, increase the time you spend exercising, or add a few additional activities to your routine.
Drink Plenty of Water and Take Time to Recover
Your stomach will be smaller following weight loss surgery, which can make it difficult for your body to absorb water. Avoid the risk of dehydration by keeping a water bottle within easy reach as you exercise and work out. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, get into the habit of drinking water frequently as you exercise. Also, know when to take breaks to allow your body to recover. If, for example, you are getting back into a gym-based routine, take a day off to let your muscles and body recover before your next workout.
If exercise wasn’t a regular part of your life prior to weight loss surgery, you may benefit from working with a trainer or physical therapist to develop a routine that’s right for you. Keep in mind that exercise can also include enjoyable activities like walking your dog, playing with your children, gardening, and participating in your favorite sports. Finally, let your doctor know if you experience any unusual or recurring or sudden abdominal discomfort as you get more active following surgery.