How to Exercise After Bariatric Surgery

When striving to maintain good health and proper weight, never underestimate the positive impact of exercise. It helps keep your weight and BMI down. It boosts your body’s metabolism, lowers blood pressure, reduces the likelihood of heart disease, and burns excessive calories that your body would otherwise store as fat. It can also improve your mood and boost self-esteem. Once people develop a regular habit of exercising, many wonder how they ever managed to get by without it.

This is a message that is very important for people who have had bariatric surgery.

Exercise & Bariatric Surgery

After you’ve recovered sufficiently from bariatric surgery, it’s important to set aside a little time almost every day to exercise—but it’s equally important not to overdo it. It’s recommended that you start exercising a short amount as soon as possible to aid your body in its recovery and to begin the process of developing a healthy lifestyle post-surgery. The big question for many is what type of exercise should they be doing, and how often, especially if they haven’t been in the habit of exercising in the past?

First, be sure to check in with your physician before beginning any kind of exercise program to see what he or she recommends. Since you won’t be eating or drinking too much at first, you’ll want to limit the amount of strenuous activity you perform. It’s likely that your first step will be to simply take some steps. Walking is a basic form of exercise that can have powerful benefits, and is particularly recommended for people who haven’t been able to exercise much in the past. It’s usually something that post-surgery patients can start doing right away.


At first, you’ll just want to walk a short distance around the neighborhood. Gradually increase that distance as time goes by. Set incremental, tangible goals and work up to them at your own pace. You might want to try working up to a couple of miles a day after six weeks, or an hour a day during that same time period. Goals can help you stay motivated. Additionally, having a friend or family member accompany you during your walks can help make the activity that much more pleasant. Light stretching afterwards can be beneficial as well, as long as you’re not straining your abdomen or lower back at all.

Later on, when your physician feels you’re ready, he or she will likely prescribe other forms of exercise. These may include such activities as yoga (the more moderate kind, such as relaxation yoga) and swimming (or possibly water aerobics). Weight training and other, more stressful forms of exercise are generally not recommended during the early stages of your post-op process.

Always remember to drink plenty of water before and after exercising, and to wait a half an hour both before and after performing physical activities. While exercise is only one part of your overall care plan following weight loss surgery, it’s an important component of your new healthy lifestyle.


Jason is Content Manager at Webfor, a web marketing agency based in Vancouver, WA.

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