5 Workouts to Help You Get Fit While Recovering from Weight Loss Surgery

Getting active is an integral part of any weight loss journey. When you’re recovering from surgery, you may not be ready to try the latest HIIT class or to start training for a marathon. Like anything else in life, you need to work your way up to the more challenging exercises. This is especially important after having a major surgery. Even if you were getting into the groove of intense training prior to surgery, you may find that you need to slow down and work your way back up. Try some of these workouts during your weight loss surgery recovery. 


After having weight loss surgery, you might be overwhelmed by how much your body has changed. Yoga can help you address your mental and physical health at the same time. The core focus of yoga is breathing and getting info flow. There are several styles of yoga, from slower paced yin yoga to faster-paced hot yoga. If you join an all-levels yoga class, you’ll find that there are modifications for every fitness level. There’s even chair yoga, which may be a better fit if you have knee problems, as well as restorative yoga to aid in your recovery. Want to know the best part? No one will judge you if you need to spend a few minutes in child’s pose. 


For some, yoga feels like it’s either too challenging or not challenging enough. It’s all about balance, and some people don’t feel coordinated, no matter how hard they try. If you’re looking for the workout benefits of yoga without the breathing exercises, consider pilates. Where yoga is focused on breathing and finding your center, pilates focuses more on working your muscles. It’s great for people who enjoy the stretching of yoga and post-workout feeling of weightlifting. Pilates features full-body workouts, as well as targeted moves. Despite its focus on getting strong, it’s a low impact form of exercise. It also demands less from your tendons than traditional weightlifting. You’ll be less tired immediately after the exercise but more likely to feel it in places you didn’t know you could be sore the next day. 


Try cycling if you want a great cardio workout without the strain running would put on your knees. Exercise bikes come in a few different varieties. If you’re looking for a workout that will be kind to your joints, consider starting out with a recumbent bike. As you build strength, you can move on to an outdoor bicycle or an indoor spin bike. Keep in mind that if you graduate to a spin bike, you may want to avoid certain poses at heavier weights to avoid hurting your knees if they’ve caused you trouble in the past. Cycling can help you build strength and endurance while burning calories. 

Walking and Jogging

For some, especially after a major surgery, pilates and cycling are too intense. If you need a lighter workout, try taking a fast-paced walk every day. If you’re not used to walking long distances, start by walking around the block. Keep adding distance until you’re comfortable with a 30-minute brisk walk every day. Then, pick up the pace. Add short bursts of jogging into your walks. This is a great way to get active, get out of the house and get in the habit of focusing on fitness. 


If surgery recovery makes impact-based movement difficult, try working out in the pool. Swimming is a more accessible form of cardio, as it burns calories without putting as much stress on your body as other types of workouts. If you’re not a strong swimmer, you can also try water-based exercise classes. These strength-based classes can help you work your muscles while being kind to your joints! 

It is important, regardless of how you start exercising, that you start slow. Everyone has different starting point. For instance, if you are starting to walk, try walking just a block or two or just for ten minutes. Slowly build from there.

Working out after you’ve had bariatric surgery may involve some trial and error. You could end up trying a variety of workouts before you find the one that works best for you. If one workout isn’t fun for you, try something else. Keep trying until you find a way to get moving and have fun in the process!


Bariatric Support Group

Dr. Hodges highly recommends patients attend monthly support group meetings. The meetings are led by Dr. Collins Hodges, both a licensed clinical psychologist and someone who has had bariatric surgery himself. The support groups are offered on the first Monday of every month from 6:30pm – 7:15pm CST via an online GoToMeeting. The meetings are open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.

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