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Exercising After Weight Loss Surgery: Some Useful Tips to Consider

March 29, 2017

Weight loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery options such as laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve, vertical sleeve gastrectomy ) constitute the first step to reclaiming a healthy and stress-free life for morbidly obese patients. Anyone undergoing a weight-loss procedure must understand that they need to adopt a healthy lifestyle post-surgery, which includes regulating their diet and following a strict exercise regime, to realize long-term benefits. Maintaining an active lifestyle can be a challenge for most patients who may have had little to no exercise in a long time, as the body can become stiff and create problems. Instances of patients giving up on their exercise schedules are not rare and can be a major impediment to achieving weight loss milestones. Other patients, in their zeal to pursue their weight loss goals, overstress their bodies, which can result in various complications. To avoid such issues, patients need to adopt a mid path to help them achieve sustainable results without stressing their bodies. The blogpost discusses some measures that can enable weight loss surgery patients get results from their exercise regimens. Take a look.

The Right Time to Start Exercising

Weight loss surgery patients must start gentle exercises like walking immediately on discharge. To build-up on their stamina, patients must start walking for at least 20 to 30 minutes after returning home from hospital. To avoid stress and fatigue, they can spread the activity over the day and walk for 10 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day rather than walking for 30 minutes straight. They must slowly, but gradually, increase their pace as they experience a surge in their stamina levels.

Motivational Tips

Adhering to a strict exercise regimen can be difficult for patients, especially if they have a busy schedule. To up their motivation levels, it is advisable for patients to join support groups and share their daily progress with other members. Working out with a partner who understands and pushes them towards achieving their goals is also a positive step that contributes to a success story. A mix of stretching and aerobic exercises, with endurance building activities can help tackle the problem of monotony that builds-up when performing the same set of exercises.

Exercise Frequency

It is advisable for patients to exercise at least 150 minutes a week. For convenience purposes and to avoid overstressing the body, they can spread the time over the week (for example, 30 minutes of moderate exercises 5 days a week). For patients who’re at ease performing high intensity exercises, dedicating 75 minutes every week will yield similar benefits.

Increase Your Range Gradually

Performing the same set of exercises over time is not only monotonous but can also result in the body developing resistance to the activities, stopping the weight loss process dead in its tracks. To realize long term weight loss goals, patients, need to increase their range as and when they experience a gradual rise in stamina. They can start by performing light-intensity aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming and start training with light weights ( upto 5 kgs) after a month to build strength. Patients can increase the frequency of sessions and the weights as the body builds stamina. That said, most specialists discourage patients from performing high intensity load resistance training for at least a year.

Proper Hydration is a Must

It is important for patients to maintain the body’s hydration levels before, during, and after exercising to avoid cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Consuming carbonated beverages and packaged fruit drinks is a strict no, as they take more time to get absorbed, and can result in dehydration.

Some Precautions to Take

Weight loss surgery patients must take the following precautions when exercising to avoid stress injuries and other complications.

Warm-up and Cooling-down is a Must

Patients must start their exercising schedule by performing warm-up exercises to slowly increase their breathing rate and loosen the muscles, which can help them avoid injuries. Performing cooling down exercises at the conclusion of a session is a must to avoid dizziness and fainting, and can also help remove lactic acid and other waste products from the muscles.

Monitor Your Heart Rate

The American Heart Association recommends taking pulse rates before and after exercising. These rates must lie between 50-85 percent of the maximum rate for the patient. To be sure, patients must measure their pulse regularly and inform their doctor if they observe any deviation from the accepted norm. A look at the table compiled by the American Heart Association can be of help in this regard:

 
Age (in yrs) Target heart rate zone (beats/min) Average max. Rate (beats/min)
20 100-170 200
25 98-166 195
30 95-162 190
35 93-157 185
40 90-153 180
45 88-149 175
50 85-145 170
55 83-140 165
60 80-136 160
65 78-132 155
70 75-128 150

Exercises to Avoid

Patients must avoid performing exercises that stress the abdominal and lower back for at least six months after surgery, and high intensity load training for at least a year. They must also avoid exercises such as squats, lunges, and step-ups for six months as the body weight changes rapidly during this period and performing such exercises can result in a fall, causing injuries.

 

Final few Words

Weight loss surgery patients must follow the above mentioned tips when exercising to realize long term benefits and avoid injuries or complications. They must also consult an experienced specialist who can provide post-operative support services to help them take strides towards achieving their weight loss goals. At Perth Surgical & Bariatrics, we perform all major weight loss surgeries, including vertical sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass and SIPS and help patients devise a tailored diet and exercise plan. To learn more about laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or discuss your needs, fill out our contact form and we’ll get back in touch shortly. You can also call us at 08 9370 9686.



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