Exercise After Surgery: Keep Weight Off
Depending on your health, the type of weight-loss surgery you have and your recovery, your doctor will advise you on when you should start exercising and how long you should be physically active.
One common misunderstanding about exercise after surgery is how hard you need to exercise to lose weight. Activities like walking, biking and swimming are excellent forms of exercise to begin if you haven’t been working out.
Once you have permission to start exercising, you want to monitor your heart rate and make sure it stays within a range that’s determined by your doctor. Keeping track of your heart rate is easy with wearable devices like a Fitbit, although they are not always 100 percent accurate. It might be more important to track how many steps you walk or the distance you cover than to worry about whether your heart rate is elevated enough. As you become acclimated to exercise, you’ll be able to walk or swim faster and for longer periods of time.
A general fitness goal is to exercise 2.5 hours every week. This may be different for you, depending on your health and weight-loss goals. Some people have an easier time hitting their goals by breaking exercise into smaller sessions. You may want to try to exercising for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Most people aim for a target heart rate that falls between 50 and 70 percent of their maximum heart rate to make sure they’re exercising at a moderate intensity. In this range, you won’t be working out too hard or not hard enough to achieve a good caloric burn. Some wearable devices will figure out your target heart rate zone for you. But you can calculate your own heart rate range by doing some simple math.
Your maximum rate is based on your age. You can estimate your maximum age-related heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you are 50 years old, your estimated maximum heart rate would be 170 beats per minute. So, to stay between 50 percent and 70 percent, your heart rate should range from 85 to 119 beats per minute.
While you want to make sure you exercise after surgery, you also don’t want to overdo it. If you feel any chest pain, lightheadedness or shortness of breath, you could be pushing yourself too hard. Be sure to see your doctor if you have any symptoms so you can exercise with peace of mind.
Exercise after surgery: Make it fun
Remember, exercise after bariatric surgery is a lifetime commitment to keep the weight from coming back. Find something you enjoy doing so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Go for walks on a nature trail, try a basic Zumba® class or take up cycling. Incorporate different types of exercise to avoid getting bored or injured.