Exercising Is an Important Element of Recovery
If you’re considering undergoing weight loss surgery or if you’ve already had bariatric surgery in Houston performed and are now in the post-operative stage, then you probably have a lot of questions as to the next steps in your journey to recovery and weight loss. One thing that is almost universally agreed upon is that getting regular exercise is an important factor in determining your success in getting the maximum weight reduction both before and after your weight loss surgery.
Why Exercising Is Important for Losing Weight and Staying Slim
Our bodies run on calories from food as their fuel source. What we eat is broken down in our stomachs, and the calories are turned into energy that powers us. Our basic functioning, breathing, regulating body heat, growing hair and nails—all the stuff that happens automatically—all this takes calories.
What’s left over is used to give us energy throughout the day, letting us perform movements and exert ourselves. Any excess, unused calories are stored on our bodies as fat, which is very energy dense and acts like a reserve of fuel, in case we enter into lean or famine times.
Since calories are used to power our activities, increasing our level of activity throughout the day will, therefore, increase the number of calories that are used up. While reducing the intake of food is the most effective way of reducing calories during the day, exercise has an important role as well, and a number of health benefits beyond weight loss that make it a necessary part of any plan for weight loss, even one that revolves around a Houston weight loss surgery procedure.
In addition, resistance exercises are how muscles are strengthened and developed. One pound of muscle tissue consumes much more calories throughout the day than one pound of fat tissue. This means that strengthening your muscles has a two-fold effect on weight loss.
First, you burn calories performing the exercises and increasing the fitness of your muscles. Then, second, your new muscles work harder simply by existing, increasing the number of calories you burn even while doing nothing.
That doesn’t mean you can rest and not exercise. Without regular resistance training of your muscles, they will lose their development and tone, eventually shrinking back to the condition they were before you began exercising at all.
How Much Should You Exercise?
Ideally, you would have begun incorporating exercise into your daily routine long before your surgery. If you haven’t yet had surgery, it’s never too early to begin adding small amounts of exercise into your life, focusing first on making small changes from which to form a base that more and more activity can be added onto. Committing to intense CrossFit or boot camp style exercises isn’t necessary, and, in fact, might do more harm than good due to the added stress on your joints from all of your excess body weight. Simply add in light physical activity throughout your day, such as:
- Making an effort at work or while shopping to use the stairs as much as possible, rather than the elevator or escalator.
- Parking at the farthest end of the parking lot and walking to your destination.
- Cleaning your house! Sweeping, vacuuming, and washing the dishes by hand all get you up and moving.
- Walking your dog or simply exploring your neighborhood.
From these humble beginnings, working your way up to moderate-intensity aerobic activity will be easy. Sustained low to moderate activity is best for weight loss, and the more weight you shed before your surgery the easier your gastric bypass surgery in Houston will go and the less excess body weight you’ll have to lose after your bariatric surgery.
Additionally, adding in one to three resistance exercise sessions per week will help you to preserve your muscle during weight loss, ensuring that everything you’re shedding is unwanted body fat.
After your surgery for your obesity help in Houston, you may think your job as a patient is complete. After all, you’ve had the surgery; now comes the weight loss, right? Well, yes and no. Along with your diet and eating habits being now permanently changed by your gastric bypass or Sleeve procedure, you will need to maintain a steady habit of exercise, both for your overall health and to ensure you are able to take the most advantage of the surgery and lose the most excess weight that you can.
A recent study by the journal Obesity found that those patients who picked up a habit of regular exercise during the year following their surgery lost an average of over thirteen pounds more than their inactive counterparts, along with reporting fewer feelings of depression and anxiety and having a higher overall health.
The doctors of your weight loss clinic in Houston, TX will be most familiar with your individual health and can make recommendations as far as when to begin exercising and what exercise programs to follow initially.
After Diet Comes Exercise
While making changes to your diet as the most effective way to lose weight, which is the mechanism by which weight loss surgery primarily works, exercise is still an important piece of the puzzle. When large amounts of weight are lost quickly, muscle will get lost, as well, getting thrown out with the bathwater, so to speak. Exercise is necessary to preserve your muscle, as building lean muscle will improve your overall health and body composition.
For the first month following your surgery, you’ll likely be too sore to do much beyond walking. This is to be expected, so take it easy. After the first month, build up over time toward the goal of having three to five days per week of at least thirty minutes of continuous exercise, with a mix of aerobic and resistance exercise. Some good exercises to try:
- Walking, stationary biking, swimming or dancing are all excellent aerobic activities.
- Yoga can help you improve balance, posture, and flexibility, helping you, as your weight loss will change your center of gravity.
- Resistance exercises with dumbbells, resistance bands, or weight machines are very helpful.
Unless you have a pre-existing medical issue, there shouldn’t be any specific precautions necessary for exercise, apart from taking care not to push yourself too hard right out the gate, avoiding impact exercising until your weight is near normal is helpful in reducing the possibility of joint, muscles and tendons injuries and arthritis.
Just follow your doctor’s recommendations and, if able, work with a fitness professional—preferably one who specializes in post-bariatric surgery. They should be able to help you develop and perform an exercise regimen specifically for you, including any modifications to exercises that are necessary due to your current or changing body weight.
Exercise is not only a necessary tool to maximize your weight loss post-surgery, it is also a powerful tool for improving your overall health and mental attitude, both of which will serve you well in your journey ahead with weight loss and beyond.
For more information on gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or other types of weight loss surgery, call Bariatric Care Centers at 713-339-1353. Dr. Brian Mirza is board certified and has over 15 years of experience providing weight loss surgery to many satisfied patients in the Houston, TX area. At Bariatric Care Centers, we will be more than happy to meet with you for a consultation about which type of weight loss surgery is the right one for you.
Disclaimer: This is only for general information. All patients should consult their doctors prior to following any of the recommendations in any articles, post, or video. Every patient has individual needs and limitations that only their treating physicians can be aware of.
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