Patients usually ask the weight-loss surgery experts at Iranian Surgery about physical activity and exercise plans that will get the blood pumpin’ and the heart rate jumpin’ after their surgical procedures and help them have a more toned physique. Before we dig into this topic, please note: It’s important to speak with your doctor about any exercise plans you may be interested in post-op. Regardless of which metabolic and bariatric surgery you’ve opted for, there are specifics about your situation (medical conditions, general health and wellbeing, and age, for example) that factor into designing an appropriate bariatric exercise plan.
Bariatric surgery patients will not be competing in triathlons in the weeks after a procedure. However, they will be able to plan and take part in specialized exercise programs almost immediately. For some, this could be walking around the neighborhood for 15 minutes to 30 minutes a day.
For others, it could be starting an exercise routine involving resistance training and flexibility improvement after your doctor or exercise physiologist gives you the go-ahead. It doesn’t matter what the long-term goal is, either cardiovascular improvement or building muscle mass. The important thing to remember is your body is going through a massive change.
So, start slow. Walking is a good first step (so to speak) and can be accomplished by almost any patient. Walking around the block for a week, then increasing it to two blocks if you can. Every little bit helps get your body used to activity – sometimes for the first time in years.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. The type of surgery you have will also determine how quickly you return to normal day-to-day activity. You’ll be able to return to those normal activities also immediately after laparoscopic surgery, a series of small incisions.
After 12 months of healthy eating and exercise, bariatric patients can expect to lose at least 65 percent of their excess weight. In some patients, that can be well over 100 pounds! This could lead to “sagging” skin, a condition where excess skin is left behind after a massive weight loss. So, you are probably asking yourself, how do you tighten your skin after weight loss surgery?
Cosmetic surgery is an option, though many bariatric surgery patients prefer other steps to tighten the skin around their stomach, legs, and arms. Some turn to strength training to develop lean muscle, which will help decrease the appearance of loose skin. Other exercises can help improve muscle mass and perhaps return some elasticity to the skin. These include swimming, jogging, cycling, yoga, and other aerobic exercises. Although we said it’s important to start slow, you should build up to around 150 minutes of activity every week. This can be accomplished by exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Bariatric surgery is intended to help patients lose weight. However, not all weight loss is good for you. Patients who do not follow dietary and exercise recommendations after weight loss surgery may lose muscle tissue, which will decrease strength and can undermine long-term overall weight loss. In fact, your overall health goals following a bariatric procedure should include both losing fat and building muscle. Clinical studies show that you can avoid the loss in muscle mass and strength that can occur after bariatric surgery using a simple approach that combines following dietary guidelines and implementing certain exercises (Oppert et al. 2018).
Your surgeon will provide detailed instructions on your post-operative diet and will recommend food choices that will help you to meet your weight loss goals. In general, starting each meal with protein will help you to feel full longer and may reduce your food cravings throughout the day. Your bariatric procedure will reduce the amount of food that you can consume at any time, so it is important that what you eat is high-quality and nutrient-dense. Additionally, your body needs protein to avoid break-down of muscle tissue that can sometimes occur with a restricted intake of food. And, if you’d like to build muscle after your surgery, it is even more critical that you consume plenty of protein. Studies show that the regular use of additional protein supplements (such as protein shakes or powders) can help bariatric patients maintain muscle mass and also improves overall long-term weight loss (Lopes Gomes et al. 2017).
There are many lifestyle factors that contribute to overall success in weight loss following bariatric surgery. Among the most critical of these factors, after dietary considerations, is your regular physical activity and exercise routine. One recent scientific study indicates that patients who rehabilitate after surgery for a couple of months using a 2-times per week session that includes endurance training and muscle strengthening are most likely to have long-term weight loss; unsurprisingly, the patients who participated in the exercise sessions also indicated that they had a better quality of life than those who did not (Morana et al. 2018).
Exercises that are most likely to lead to muscle preservation and muscle building after bariatric surgery are “strength training” movements using either weights or resistance (body weight, machines, or bands). Here are some tips to keep in mind as you incorporate these activities into your routine:
. Start slow, using lighter weights to build strength. If you get into the gym and overdo it, you are more likely to experience discomfort (or injury!) and less likely to keep going. Starting slow and working up to more repetitions and higher weights is the best approach for long-term habit formation and overall success.
. Get instruction. Most gyms will offer a free orientation to weight-training equipment. If this is not available to you, it is worth hiring a trainer or asking a friend who has more experience to show you how to use your exercise equipment. Also, many excellent instructional videos are available online, including several that show you how to do strength training without equipment. Learn how to exercise properly to minimize your risk of injury and maximize your efforts.
. Compound exercises are great for getting started. When you begin your muscle-building exercises, you should initially focus on exercises that work your entire body, called compound exercises. Movements such as squats can work many muscles at once, making them simple and effective exercises to help you build muscle.
. Increase weight as you get stronger. After you build some strength, you should increase the amount of weight that you are using in your exercises. Doing fewer repetitions with larger weights once you know the proper form and have built some strength will help you to build muscle.
. Don’t forget to stretch. Stretching before and after strength training can help you to avoid injury, reduce soreness, and improve your flexibility and range of motion.
Don’t overdo the cardio. Cardiovascular exercise is important for your health, but try to do it on days that you are not strength training. This allows your body to focus its energy and resources on doing strength training exercises and building muscle.
Iranian surgery is an online medical tourism platform where you can find the best weight loss specialists and surgeons in Iran. The price of Bariatric Surgery in Iran can vary according to each individual’s case and will be determined by an in-person assessment with the doctor.
For more information about the cost of Bariatric Surgery in Iran and to schedule an appointment in advance, you can contact Iranian Surgery consultants via WhatsApp number 0098 901 929 0946. This service is completely free.