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Exercise after weight loss surgery

Exercise after weight loss surgery

After weight loss surgery, sticking to a regular exercise program is as important as diet.

One of the major changes that a weight loss surgery patient must adapt to is exercise and physical activity. For most patients, exercise did not constitute a part of their lives pre-surgery. However, after the surgery, sticking to a regular exercise program is as important as the diet.


Why is it important?

Aside from dietary changes, patients find that the only other thing that contributes to significant weight loss is exercise. According to research, weight loss surgery patients who maintained regular exercise reached a lower body mass index than those who did not.

As you know, exercise and physical activity help your body burn calories, not only during the activity itself, but also by boosting your metabolism which means you will burn more calories even when you are not moving.

Other benefits of exercise for bariatric patients include:

  • Strengthening the heart, bones, muscles, and lungs.
  • Reducing fat, bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and high blood pressure.
  • Improving energy levels, insulin and blood sugar control, and balance.
  • Increasing motivation and cognitive function.


When should you start exercise after weight loss surgery?

In general, it is best to start walking as soon as you come home. You can start walking at a slow pace for 30 minutes daily. These 30 minutes can be spread out over three 10-minute walks. With time, it will become easier and you should be able to walk for 30 minutes straight and at a faster pace.

After the sixth week post-surgery, you can ask your surgeon or dietitian about more intensive workouts, but be careful not to strain yourself and be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Some more rigorous activities may include cycling, beginner’s yoga to increase flexibility and build muscle, cardio, and light weight lifting.

Author Info

Dr Nagi Safa

Dr Nagi Safa is a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeon (Weight-Loss Surgeon) at the Advanced BMI in Lebanon and at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, and holds an academic appointment at the University of Montreal. Furthermore, he is involved in the training of residents and surgical fellows on how to perform advanced laparoscopic obesity surgery. In 2010, he launched the Advanced Bariatric and Metabolic Institute (Advanced BMI) in Lebanon, and has been helping hundreds of patients from all over the Middle-East through his expertise in obesity surgery. Education: Dr Safa completed his residency training at the University of Montreal General Surgery Program. He then performed a fellowship in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and Minimal Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery), at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, which is the largest Weight Loss Surgery center in the Montreal area, and one of the busiest in Canada. Experience: During his training, and throughout his practice, Dr Safa performed more than one thousand laparoscopic procedures, including Roux en Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding, gastric plication and many other abdominal surgery procedures. He has a particular interest in LaparoscopicRevisional Surgery including banding, bypass and sleeve. With a keen interest in the advancement of obesity surgery and newer minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr Safa gained experience in the single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), and offers Single Incision gastric banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery. Research: His current research interests include clinical outcomes from various bariatric surgery procedures and investigations on the impact of bariatric surgery on Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome X. Memberships: Dr Safa holds professional memberships with the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons, Canadian Association of General Surgeons, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Association for Surgical Oncology, Quebec Medical Association, Trauma Association of Canada, Association Quebecoise de Chirurgie, International College of Surgeon, and the College des Medecins du Quebec.