Why is Exercise Essential After Bariatric Surgery?

If you’re researching bariatric surgery, you know it isn’t an easy solution or a quick fix for weight loss. It requires a serious commitment to lifestyle changes for long-term success. Your doctor will make recommendations based on your unique needs, but adhering to a new diet plan and regular exercise are always a must.

However, exercise is good for more than the calories it burns. Here are a few ways exercise improves your health:

  1. Sustaining lean muscle mass. Your body doesn’t discriminate between fat and muscle when you’re experiencing rapid weight loss. Regular exercise helps sustain your lean muscle, so more of your weight loss comes from fat.
  2. Boosting your metabolism. Regular exercise helps improve your metabolism, as muscle burns more calories than fat. The more lean muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn even when you’re resting.
  3. Supporting your heart health. Obesity can cause several concerning health conditions, particularly those that affect the heart. Regular exercise improves your cardiovascular fitness, lowers your blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease, and lowers your cholesterol.
  4. Improving your energy levels. As your cardiovascular health improves, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your veins. You’ll preserve more energy, which will allow you to take on more activities without tiring easily. Studies also show that physically active people sleep better and feel more refreshed upon waking than those that don’t exercise.
  5. Controlling your blood sugar. Exercise helps your insulin work better to reduce your blood sugar. It also reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. It is an effective means to manage the condition as well. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, exercise may be able to reverse it.
  6. Balancing your mood for better mental health. Life after bariatric surgery has its ups and downs as you recover and adjust to your new lifestyle. Exercise releases endorphins and other chemicals that induce happiness. You’ll also feel more relaxed, as exercise is an effective stress reliever.

You won’t exercise during the first couple of weeks of your recovery to allow your body to heal. After that, your doctor will recommend walking to help expedite your weight loss while continuing the healing process. Once your doctor clears you for exercise, start with workouts that don’t stress the joints. In addition to walking, bike riding and swimming are both good options.

Whether you’re nervous or excited, you need to start slowly to avoid injuries. The eventual goal is to exercise five days a week for an hour. Begin with 10 minutes to gauge how your body responds and increase it from there as your endurance improves.

You’ll also want to keep the weather in mind as you begin exercising outdoors. Working out in the heat is tougher on your body, and you’re likely to experience a higher-than-normal heart rate, a higher sweat output, and faster fatigue. Taking things slow will help you acclimate to the weather as well as the exercise. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your water intake, as exercising while it’s warm dehydrates you faster than exercising indoors does.

Bariatric surgery can jumpstart your weight loss journey and help you succeed where you may have struggled before. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of weight loss surgery for your long-term health and wellbeing.


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