Exercise is an integral component to weight loss success after bariatric surgery. However, excess weight can make working out painful, if not impossible. As you begin to lose weight, workouts will become easier. In the early months after surgery, though, water workouts are a great option. Whether you decide to swim laps or join a water aerobics class, you can reap the following benefits from aquatic exercise:
- Joint support. Joints bear the brunt of your weight, and your knees may not be ready to handle jogging right away. Water mitigates this problem because the buoyancy supports your joints and reduces impact, which allows you to exercise without pain.
- Body resistance. Water provides full-body resistance while exercising compared to the zero resistance of moving through air. More resistance requires you to work harder to perform exercises, which makes your workout more effective. For example, walking in the pool will burn more calories and improve cardiovascular stamina better than walking on land.
- Family time. You may feel guilty about exercising if it cuts into family time. While your health is a top priority, your family is also important. They are a critical component of your support network as you progress through your weight loss journey. Working out in the pool can be family time as well as exercise, so you aren’t sacrificing either.
- Less sweaty. Cardio workouts, especially during the warmer months, often leave you hot and sweaty. While sweat isn’t a bad thing, overheating is a real concern as you begin exercising. The pool water helps keep you cool and sweat less so you aren’t dehydrating too quickly.
- Increased variety. Walking is a great place to start when you first begin exercising, but the weather doesn’t always allow you to enjoy a change in scenery. Whether it’s the temperature or inclement weather, mother nature can force you indoors for your workout. While walking on the treadmill is still great exercise, it can become a bit monotonous. The pool allows you to incorporate a variety of exercises to keep things fun and interesting.
When Can I Start Water Workouts after Bariatric Surgery?
Exercise is critical for long-term weight loss success after bariatric surgery. However, you may not know where to start or what is safe for your body if you’re just getting started. Water workouts are a great option to expedite weight loss after bariatric surgery, regardless of your fitness level. It’s also something you can begin quickly after surgery. Most patients can start swimming three to four weeks after surgery once their incisions heal.
Water Workout Ideas
Getting started is one of the most challenging parts of a workout. You may not know where to begin or what kinds of exercises you should do. While flexibility and range-of-motion may hinder you on land, the water’s bouncy opens several exercises that would otherwise be too difficult to perform. Consider incorporating some of the following exercises into your water aerobics routine:
- Water walking. If your knees and ankles bother you while walking on land, walking in water is a great alternative. It provides resistance while reducing the strain on your joints.
- Water squats. Squats are a great exercise, but joint pain may be a limiting factor for this workout as well. While the water does support much of your weight, you aren’t weightless. You’ll still build strength and stamina with water squats. Use the edge of the pool if you need to support your balance.
- Flutter kicks. This aerobic water exercise engages the glutes, hip flexors, and core muscles. Cross your arms over the edge of the pool and use them as a rest for your chin. Extend your legs and let them float to the surface. With pointed toes, perform small, fast kicks using your entire leg.
- Incorporate weights. If you find your water workouts are too easy, but your joints aren’t quite ready to work out on land, you can add weights to your pool workouts. You can add ankle or wrist weights to increase the resistance of the above exercises. Foam dumbbells are another great way to build strength.
- Swimming/treading water. If you have good form, regular swimming is always an option if you don’t feel like piecing together a workout. Treading water burns calories as well.
Working out in the pool is a great option to help you expedite weight loss after bariatric surgery. If you’re not a strong swimmer yet, stick to the shallow end or use a floatation device to stay safe. Contact us to learn how bariatric surgery can help your reach your weight loss goals.