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Please review our frequently asked questions listed below. If your question has not been addressed, please ask the exercise physiologist.
Downloadable File: Physical Activity for Bariatric Patients
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m one week post-op, when should I start exercising?
You should start walking as soon as you get home from the hospital. Several times a day you should get up and walk around the house or yard for 5 to 10 minutes, or as much as you can tolerate. Every day you will need to increase how far, how often or how long you walk on a daily basis.
What type of exercise should I do before surgery?
The best thing you can do before surgery is to start a regular exercise program. You want to set aside time up to 5 to 6 days a week and walk, bike, swim, or do aerobics for as long as you can tolerate. For some people it may be up to an hour, for some it may be 5 to 10 minutes. Establishing the habit is important, and the more you can do before surgery the easier it will be to continue after surgery. The primary goal before surgery is to move more; however much you move today, do more tomorrow and more the next day and more the next.
When is it ok for me to start lifting weights?
4 to 6 weeks after surgery you can start a light weight training program. Start slowly with 1 set of 10 to 15 repetitions and gradually work up to 3 to 5 sets.
What can I do to tone up?
The best toning exercise is strength training. You can use machine weights, free weights (dumbbells), or resistance bands for your program. Strength training helps tone muscles, give skin more elasticity, and raise your metabolism to aid in your weight loss.
I was thinking about hiring a personal trainer, should I?
Personal trainers are great for motivation, accountability, and direction. If you have never worked out at a gym or are new to strength training, a personal trainer is a great investment. You can take advantage of a personal trainer with most new gym memberships and have someone show you how to set and use all of the fitness equipment in one free session that comes with joining the gym.
I have bad arthritis and cannot walk very far. What can I do for exercise?
Arthritis in the knees, hips, back, and ankles can limit what you can do for exercise; however it does not mean you can’t exercise at all. You can try swimming or water aerobics which are both no impact exercises. If you are not comfortable in the pool, or do not have access to a pool year round you can try an exercise bike (I recommend a recumbent bike) or elliptical. Both of these are no impact exercises that you can do either with home equipment or with a gym membership. Additionally, exercise bands are available for approximately $10.00 – $12.00 at many discount stores and supercenters and can be used in your living room. A true beginner program may be as basic as chair exercises, for example, holding a sixteen ounce bottle of water or canned vegetables in each hand and lifting your hands up over your head 10 – 12 times. Our exercise physiologist can help you develop a program that fits your needs.
Does exercise firm up the excess skin after surgery?
Yes, strength training may help with your excess skin after surgery. However, since there are so many variables in excess skin and how much there will be, there is no guarantee that strength training will be as effective as plastic surgery. What strength training does is firm up and tone your muscle under the loose skin, which will help with the appearance of sagging skin. Exercise will also help maintain healthy blood flow to the skin which will help some with elasticity. Time is also necessary in judging how much excess skin you will have. Moisturizing will help some, as well as staying well hydrated. But keep in mind that the results will not be the same as someone who has had plastic surgery.