One component of your post-weight loss surgery lifestyle will be physical fitness. Prior to weight loss surgery you may not have engaged in much exercise or physical activity. As you lose weight, however, your energy levels will increase and it will become easier to move around.
Increasing your activity level following weight loss surgery will boost your weight loss efforts, as well as encourage muscle tone and increased strength as you lose weight. You will not be able to engage in activity immediately following your procedure as you will be advised to first let your body heal. Once your body heals and Dr. Ayoola clears you to participate in physical activity there are a wide range of activities you can engage in to boost your weight loss efforts.
Here are some guidelines for building activity after weight loss surgery:
- Start gradually. You won’t want to jump directly into a high impact activity at the risk of injuring yourself. Start with mild exercises like walking or swimming and work your way up.
- Aim for 30 minutes daily. Ideally, you will want to engage in activity for at least two and a half hours every week. Thirty minutes of activity five days a week meets this goal.
- Add small activities. It can be hard to carve out thirty minutes or more to exercise daily, and when you first begin exercising you may grow tired quickly. Try exercising in bursts by working out for ten minutes at a time until you reach your thirty minute goal.
- Incorporate incidental activity. As you gradually become more active you can incorporate bits of incidental activity into your lifestyle. This includes more walking at work, standing more often than you sit and moving at every opportunity you have.
Once you've recovered from weight loss surgery and received the okay from your doctor, it's time to start a life-long exercise routine that will help keep you fit, healthy, and confident. In order to be successful, create a routine that you're likely to stick with.
The Keys to the Perfect Exercise Routine
The first step toward getting fit and avoiding injury is to create an enduring exercise routine. Here are the steps you need to take in order to succeed:
1. Figure out which exercises you enjoy doing. If you hate walking, then chances are you won't stick with it every day. Instead, why not try bicycling or the elliptical machine? By trying many different exercises, you may find more than just some that you can stand, and you may find some that you actually enjoy.
2. Set your exercise goals. If you want to eventually walk three miles a day in 45 minutes, make that your ultimate goal, not your beginning routine. Your body isn't accustomed to this kind of activity, and it's just not possible to get it used to exercise overnight.
3. Create time for your exercise. It can be difficult with an already packed schedule to find the time to exercise, but exercising is not a choice—it's a must. You have to find some time in your schedule to devote to daily exercise. Write it in your calendar as you would any appointment and stick to it.
4. Work toward your goal. Goals are something you work toward with gradual increases in exercise. It's not realistic to expect yourself to achieve them immediately; in fact, it might take you months to reach your long-term goal. Keep track of small successes in order to prevent discouragement or disappointment.
5. Motivate yourself. Staying motivated by attempting to break your own records, push yourself, and become healthier is important for the long-term success of your routine.
6. Create new goals. Believe it or not, there will come a time when you reach your goals. When that happens, you're certainly not stuck with the same workout routine forever. Now's the time to create new goals to achieve.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, you will want to start slowly and avoid injury. Follow these tips to exercise safely after weight loss surgery.
An exercise routine is only helpful if you're healthy enough to stick with it. Small injuries and strains can be the biggest distractions in a successful, long-term exercise routine. The fear of getting injured again and feeling pain is discouraging for most people. In order to reduce the likelihood of workout-related injury, take some preventative steps.
Avoiding Injuries after Bariatric Surgery
Here are some easy ways to avoid injury and keep your workout something to look forward to.
- Stretch before you begin to exercise. By limbering up your muscles, you make them more flexible and adaptable to the strain of exercise. This makes you less likely to pull muscles.
- Warm up to your routine. You cannot start your work out in a full-on run. You need to stretch, walk a little bit, and then start the more strenuous part of your exercise. When you start out with too much vigor, you put extra pressure on your muscles, which makes them more prone to injury.
- Drink up while you work out. Your muscles release toxins as you exercise, and staying hydrated helps this process. It also replenishes some of the moisture lost through sweating.
- Take time to cool down. Instead of coming to a sudden stop in your workout, take a few minutes to walk slowly, stretch, or even do some yoga in order to help your body to cool down gradually.
- Exercise daily. You know you need a certain amount of exercise each week. If you attempt to work all that exercise into a two- or three-day time span, you could be doing your body more damage than good. The sudden and intense strain on your muscles after days of sedentary life will likely make your workout sessions harder, which can result in discouragement.
- Work up to your target heart rate. In order to gain real aerobic benefit from your workout, you must push your body to a mild sweat and your heart to within your target heart rate. This is the optimal zone for your workout. Too much harder and you could hurt yourself, not hard enough and you won’t gain enough of a benefit from the workout.
Do you need an aerobics program as part of your weight loss exercise program?
Aerobic exercise is a great way to speed up your weight loss while creating a more healthy, active, and happy you. You may hear a lot of hype about the tremendous weight loss benefits of aerobic activity, but it isn’t just about shedding pounds.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise after Bariatric Surgery
If you want to improve your overall health, aerobic exercise is hard to beat. As little as 30 minutes a day can do the following:
- Lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce your risk of the blockages that cause heart attacks and strokes.
- Increase your HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Reduce your high blood pressure.
- Reduce your triglyceride levels, which can help ward off heart attacks.
- Decrease your resting heart rate.
- Help prevent osteoporosis with the impact of the activity on your bones.
- Improve your sleep by making you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep for longer periods of time.
- Help your short-term memory.
- Strengthen your immune system.
- Improve your self-esteem.
- Reduce both anxiety and stress.
- Improve your lungs.
- Improve your circulation.
The Best Way to Exercise
Of course, you only reap the many benefits of aerobic exercise when you do it properly. If you don't, then you risk internal and external injury. First, you must make sure that you exercise for at least one half hour per day. The benefits are collective, so you don't have to work out for 30 minutes straight. Instead, you can break it up into three 10-minute sessions.
Next, you need to work out within your target heart rate in order to get all the benefits of aerobic exercise. To determine your target heat rate, subtract your age from 220. Multiply the result by .75 and you have your target heart rate. Exceeding this rate while you exercise can be dangerous, especially if you're not in optimal shape.
Exercise benefits your body in numerous ways. Aerobic exercises like jogging or dancing can help improve your circulation, lower your cholesterol, improve your heart health, and improve your endurance. While strength-training exercises don't offer the same cardiovascular benefits as aerobic exercises, they're just as important.
The Benefits of Strength Exercise
Strength exercises have many physical and psychological benefits, including:
- Strengthening muscles and bones.
- Increasing resting metabolism (which leads to weight loss).
- Improving your posture.
- Reducing your stress and making you better able to handle stress.
- Making you look healthier.
- Reducing your risk of injury.
- Improving your ability to balance.
- Increasing your endurance for daily activities.
- Increasing your self-esteem, confidence, and sense of accomplishment.
Types of Strength Exercise
In order to start reaping the many benefits offered by strength-training exercises, you must actually do some. If you aren't sure where to start, you might try any of the following:
- Resistance bands (great for low-impact workouts)
- Free weights
- Weight machines at the gym or at home
- Classes like Pilates
Strengthening Without Injury
It's important to understand how to exercise before you begin. If you aren’t sure how to use any of these methods, you might consider the help of a personal trainer or an exercise video. Without proper instruction, you risk injuries that can set back both your weight loss and your overall health. Here are some general strength exercise tips:
- When working out, lift slowly and use controlled movements. Strength training is not about moving as quickly as possible, but it's about really exercising your muscles. Slow, controlled movements help you do that and reduce your risk of injury.
- Use lower-back supports if necessary and be sure to have the correct posture. If the weights you're using make you stoop forward, they may be too heavy, so choose the next weight down.
- It might sound obvious, but it's important to breathe while you do your strength exercises. The best way to do this is to exhale during the hardest part of the exercise and inhale during the easiest. You might exhale as you initially lift the weight and inhale as you put it back in the starting position.
- If the weight you use makes you reduce your range of motion for the exercise, then choose a lighter weight.
- Start out slow with sets of no more than 12 reps. As you gain strength, you can gradually increase to multiple sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Do you love exercising? If you don’t, you are probably very good at finding excuses to avoid a workout session. Post this list where you can see it next time you need some motivation for exercising.
Overcoming Common Exercise Excuses
If there's one thing humans are universally good at, it's coming up with reasons not to do the things we don't want to do—like exercise. On any given day, most of us could probably come up with ten or more reasons why we shouldn't exercise. But should you listen to those reasons, or should you turn a deaf ear to them and keep on schedule?
It's important to distinguish between valid reasons not to exercise and excuses. Valid reasons include injury, illness, strain, or doctor's orders. Here are some more common, less reasonable excuses:
“I hate to exercise.”
Unfortunately, becoming a happy, healthy adult involves doing things that we don't particularly like to do, such as eating vegetables, going to bed early, going to work, and exercising daily.
One of the best ways to overcome this common roadblock is to exercise while doing something that you do like, such as reading, listening to music, watching television, or listening to an audio book. Some people only allow themselves to watch certain television shows or read certain books while they're exercising, which can help solidify the routine. Whatever you choose to do while working out, adding something you enjoy to the mix is a great motivator and might even make you look forward to exercising.
It might seem obvious, but another method for making exercising more enjoyable is to find exercises that you don't actually hate. If you really don't like the elliptical machine, try a stationary bike or stair-climber. If you hate all exercise machines, why not give Frisbee, tennis, or walking outdoors a try? The number of exercise methods is virtually endless.
“I’m too tired to exercise today.”
To the surprise of many, exercise is one of the most effective cures for fatigue. By getting your heart, blood, and oxygen pumping, you'll gain energy, which can improve your memory and allow you to focus better. Exercise can also help you sleep more soundly and keep your energy levels more consistent throughout the day.
“I might not succeed when I try to exercise.”
The only success you need to concern yourself with when you exercise is the success of actually exercising. By just doing the exercise, you've succeeded, and the more you exercise, the better you get at it. Before you know it, you'll start exceeding goals.
“I just don’t have time to exercise today.”
Your exercise appointment needs to be just as important to you as any other appointment. Write it in your calendar, set a time each day, and show up. If you can, try to combine your workout with other activities. If you need to study, why not do so while walking on the treadmill? If you like to unwind after a stressful day by watching television, you can do so while riding a stationary bike. There are all sorts of things you can do while exercising to help make time when you thought there was none.
Exercise is now a big part of your new lifestyle after weight loss surgery. Here are some general rules for incorporating exercise into your life so that it becomes easy to get into and stay in shape.
Motivating yourself to exercise everyday can seem like a Herculean task, but if you know some simple ways to make exercise fun and keep yourself excited about it, it will get easier.
- Make exercise a routine: If you work out at the same time every day, actually doing it will require less motivation. It will eventually become an established part of your daily schedule, like walking the dog or getting ready for work.
- Add some variety: If you try to do the same exercise every day, week after week and month after month, you're probably going to become tired of it. Instead, try different exercises each month. Add new routines to your schedule every so often and find activities that you can actually look forward to. You can even see if your local gym has any fun classes or activities you might like to add.
- Exercise with a friend: You don’t have to go it alone. Find a friend who you like talking to or who helps keep you motivated and create a workout routine with him or her. Not only will this help you look forward to exercising each day, it will also keep you accountable.
- Make exercise fun: You don’t have to trudge miserably on your treadmill in silence each day. You can read, listen to music, watch television... there are all sorts of activities that can take your mind off of the act of exercising and maybe even make it a time you look forward to. If you're going to multitask, however, make sure you do so safely.
- Acknowledge your exercise history: If you attempted a workout routine in the past and eventually gave up on it, try to figure out what got in your way and try to prevent that from happening again. Also, if you know that you're less likely to exercise at certain times of the year, such as the holidays or during your vacation, try to come up with a plan that will allow you to keep exercising. For example, when planning a vacation, try to find a hotel with a fitness center or great outdoor areas for walking.
- Log your progress: There's almost nothing more motivating than seeing where you came from and how well you're doing now. Write down the stats of each of your workouts so that you can track your progress in endurance, distance, and time.
- Don’t just save exercise for exercise: The more active you are outside your daily exercise routine, the easier that routine will get. Make shopping a form of exercise by parking far away from the mall and walking quickly while inside. Take the dogs out for a run and play outside with your kids. Do some yard work and take up tennis. All of these in-between exercise activities will help make your regular exercise routine seem easier.