Why is Exercise Important After Weight Loss Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a highly effective weight loss method. After the surgery though, you’ll need to stick to an exercise regimen to realize the full benefits of the treatment. Read on to learn why exercising after surgery is so important to your weight loss efforts.

You’ll Keep More Muscle

When you lose weight quickly, you also lose muscle quickly. Without muscle mass in your body, your metabolism will be negatively impacted, and you’ll have less energy to fuel your day-to-day activities. Exercising will help you keep your muscles. That means you’ll also keep your metabolism functioning at a high level, and you’ll have more energy to exercise. A good metabolism also helps improve your mood and helps you manage stress more effectively.

You’ll Lose Weight Faster

Studies have found that bariatric surgery patients who exercise lose more weight than those who don’t. A 2010 meta-analysis showed that a consistent exercise program lowers the average body mass index of bariatric surgery patients by an additional 4.2 percent on top of what you would lose through only eating less. Another study found that, other than diet, exercise was the only behavioral factor that influenced weight loss.

A third study showed that patients who did moderate exercise for 2.5 hours each week showed significantly greater weight loss six months and 12 months after surgery. Patients who exercised lost 5.5 percent and 5.7 percent more weight at the six- and 12-month marks than those who didn’t exercise.

When Should You Start Exercising?

Starting an exercise routine before surgery will help your body adjust more quickly following surgery. When you’re carrying excess weight, the thought of exercising is challenging. Instead of trying a high-intensity workout, try to walk at least 10 minutes every day. It’ll help your body recover faster and establish good habits.

Following weight loss surgery, wait at least two weeks before you start exercising. You don’t have to launch fully into a high impact regimen either. Start with simple movements. Picking up items off the floor or putting on your shoes will help you regain flexibility. Slowly work up to a half hour of exercise on at least three days a week. Continue this for six months following your surgery. After that point, gradually increase the amount of exercise you do.

Before you starting exercising, please consult a doctor or medical professional for guidance on crafting a plan that’s right for you.