The role of exercise after surgery cannot be overstated. Exercise, along with proper diet, is a key component to losing weight as well as maintaining bone and cardiovascular health. From the day after the surgical procedure, the clinical team at the hospital will begin to encourage you to get up and walk around. This promotes healing by jumpstarting the circulatory system in the body. It also helps to ward off infection.
Once home, patients will be encouraged to begin with less strenuous activities such as walking around the block or basic household chores, while staying within their physical limits. As the patient begins to heal, and when given the okay by our office, they can start to ramp up their exercise program to include swimming, running, bicycling and more. It is important to remember that we all have our limits. While we may see significant improvements in our stamina and abilities, it is important that we do not overdo it. Strenuous activity too soon in recovery can cause complications.
Longer-term, added strain on our bodies from over exercising can cause injury, which can sideline us for weeks or even months, undoing all of the great progress that we have made. It is for that reason that for exercise, just like in the post-bariatric diet, we preach moderation.
Ultimately, you will find both encouragement and difficulty as you push yourself in your exercise program. We have found that working out with a friend or support group member can be very beneficial. Further, teaching is one of the greatest motivators and we encourage you to preach a message of health, wellness, nutrition and exercise to family members and friends who are willing to listen. Doing so can reinforce your good habits.
Finally, do not get discouraged if the progress you’re making in your exercise program begins to slow. There will be plateaus throughout the process and those can be overcome by changing up your workout. You never want to work for only one muscle group over and over again because it can increase the chance of injury and can also make workouts monotonous. Rather, make sure you are working out each major muscle group once or twice a week, with regular cardio workouts. Also, consider joining a sports league or group that you can rely on for camaraderie, competition, and support.
Exercise can be fun – we promise. You just have to find your groove.