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Exercise Following Weight-Loss Surgery

Posted on 10/13/2015 at 11:25 AM by Iowa Weight Loss Specialists

Exercise not only accelerates your weight loss post-surgery, but it’s also a great, healthy habit to form if it wasn’t already part of your pre-surgery lifestyle.

Regular exercise will improve muscle mass and cardiac health, decrease blood pressure, and increase energy levels. Exercise also plays a significant role in improving or alleviating symptoms of depression because it releases endorphins, giving people a positive feeling and reducing stress.

There are many additional benefits to engaging in regular exercise, but the most frequent questions we hear after weight-loss surgery are: “When can I start, and what can I do?”

If you add in exercise to your daily routine, you will see increased weight loss success. Patients who commit to changing their lifestyle and making exercise a part of their routine see an average of 80-85% excess weight loss in the first year, compared to only 60% excess weight loss without exercise.

Below are recommended exercise levels post-surgery.

Two Weeks Post-Surgery:

  • Begin walking immediately after discharge from hospital.
  • Aim to walk short distances at least six times a day. (This also reduces your risk of developing blood clots from surgery).
  • Walk slowly. Your body is adjusting to a new diet and recovering from surgery. Do not worry about burning calories at this point.
  • Remember to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.

Two Weeks to Three Months Post-Surgery:

  • Exercise should now become a part of your regular routine (It takes about 21 days to form a habit!).
  • Continue walking, and if comfortable and feeling good, start to increase your distance.
  • Around six weeks post-surgery, if comfortable, you can add weight training as part of your exercise routine. This will strengthen muscles and increase your metabolic rate (calories burned at rest).

Six Weeks Post-Surgery:

  • Add in cardiovascular exercise to your routine. Many patients have some difficulty with mobility and joint pain, so it’s important to find an exercise that you can do without hurting yourself. Check out this list of low-impact cardio exercises!
  • If you do not have joint pain and are looking for some additional higher-intensity workouts, places like Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping and Crossfit are great to look into.
  • You should try to aim for cardio activity 3-5 times a week for up to 30 minutes.

If you have any questions about weight loss, exercise, or obesity, contact us at 515-327-2000 or email us with questions!

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