If you are considering weight loss surgery or you're already a patient, you might have questions about exercise after bariatric surgery. For some people, the thought of working out might seem pointless. Why exercise to lose weight if surgery is going to take care of it? It turns out that regular exercise has several benefits other than just losing weight.
Exercise is one of the most important things a person can do to improve their health second only to a healthy diet. In fact, regular physical activity goes hand and hand with healthy eating. When a person works out, their body uses the nutrients in their food more effectively, and this leads to several health benefits that most people haven't considered. In terms of bariatric surgery, there are plenty of reasons to include a regular workout routine into your wellness plan before and after the procedure.
Why Exercise Is Important after Bariatric Surgery
People considering bariatric weight loss surgery are usually fed up with diet and exercise programs that have failed them in some way. It can be hard to see other people working out and seeing results only to notice little to no changes in yourself. It might even be difficult to learn that your doctor still recommends exercise after surgery because you may not have had good luck with workouts in the past.
In this case, it is important to note that when your doctor says "exercise," they are not talking about joining a high impact CrossFit gym and entering competitions. They're talking about incorporating endurance, strength, and balance activities into your life. This can help you get the most out of your surgery and ensure you can make lifelong changes to go with the new reflection you will see in the mirror. These are the benefits of exercise after bariatric surgery.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of exercise after bariatric surgery is the weight loss aspect. Patients that include at least three workouts of one hour every week lost significantly more weight than bariatric patients that skipped exercise. Not only did they lose more weight, but they lost that weight faster. These patients also had a greater feeling of control over their weight because they were actively involved in shaping their new bodies.
Most people looking into weight loss surgery know that they will likely have excess skin to deal with once they start losing weight. This is more than a possibility; in most cases, it is completely expected. Aside from surgery to remove the skin, exercise can be used to help. When we tone and strengthen our muscles, before and after bariatric surgery, we are also tightening the connective tissue under the skin. This can help tighten the skin over time and in some case, exercise is enough to keep the skin in good condition.
Have you ever noticed how athletic people always seem to be in a good mood? You can thank the feel-good endorphins for their positive attitudes. Exercising releases chemicals in the brain that can help you feel great. Even walking at a moderate pace for ten minutes twice a day can cause these effects and make you happier.
Sure, exercise can help you lose weight, but over time it can also increase your metabolism. A faster, more efficient metabolic rate will help you maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life. Remember, when a person chooses weight loss surgery, they are making a lifelong commitment to better health. Regular exercise will make that commitment easier. It also helps ensure that you have fewer weight loss plateaus to deal with because your metabolism will be working at its peak, even when your body is at rest.
Incorporating strength training into your exercise routine will help keep your muscles strong. When patients start losing weight after surgery, they might also notice weaker muscles. This is because the body is losing weight rapidly. Your body was used to carrying more weight around, and now that you are losing the weight, there is less resistance. Using weights or resistance bands can help keep the muscle you already have and increase muscle mass in areas you want. Stronger muscles will also help smooth out the skin and give your body more shape and structure. Don't forget about your heart, which is also a muscle. Getting your heart rate up on a regular basis will make it stronger too.
The reason weight loss surgery is so effective is because it severely reduces the number of calories a person is able to consume. Now portion sizes need to be nutrient-dense to ensure the patient gets all the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. Exercise will help the body utilize those nutrients more effectively. This means that when you exercise, your body will take the calcium and vitamin D from your food and use it to make your bones stronger for your next workout.
Losing weight quickly can cause a person to lose their balance from time to time. This is partly because you are used to walking and moving to accommodate the extra weight. It can also occur because of diet changes. Practicing yoga, tai chi, or other balance exercises can increase stability in the core. It will also help with balance and movement control which in the long run, will prevent falls and injuries.
When a person decides to change their lives forever with weight loss surgery, they do so with health and longevity in mind. Will you lose weight after surgery without exercise? Yes, but for most patients, its not just about losing weight, it's about getting the most out of their surgery. It is, after all, a big decision and commitment.
Patients that take their health seriously know that exercise will be a part of their life for the rest of their life. After bariatric surgery, a person should expect their doctor to recommend exercise regularly. Talk to your healthcare team to find out more about their recommendations or contact us today with any questions.