Let’s face it, exercise is important. We cannot avoid it. We need to tackle this part of the puzzle head-on. I have excuses. You have excuses. We all have excuses. Some of these excuses are legitimate (I broke my foot, my back is injured, I had cataract surgery, etc.). Some of the excuses we make are not valid. For example, my excuse would be, “I am too busy”. But I have time to watch Netflix for two hours. My excuse SUCKS.
So, let’s talk about why it’s important to exercise post-bariatric surgery.
In the weeks that follow bariatric surgery, it’s important to get up and get moving. This will help you recover more quickly. Physical activity improves circulation, reduces the risk of blood clots, and promotes wound healing while improving bowel function. Think walking, and gentle stretching.
The first 20 days post-op come with a lifting restriction of 20 pounds for 20 days. This doesn’t mean that you cannot walk. It means you cannot lift. Lifting comes later in the plan.
4 to 6 weeks post-op is the perfect time to look at upping the ante with your exercise routine. What does that look like for you? Do you want to join the local gym? Do you want to work out at home? Will you take a dance class? Do you enjoy swimming, skiing, hiking? What does this look like to you? Ask yourself this question.
If you are going to go to the gym and kill yourself for 3 hours, do you think that is sustainable? I want sustainability for you and your exercise routine. The magic happens through consistency. What can you do that would make you feel good? I hate kick-boxing classes. Most people enjoy them. If I joined a kickboxing class, it would last a week. Find something you enjoy. That’s the biggest part of this exercise puzzle.
You don’t know what you like when it comes to exercise? Then try different things. Maybe join a gym for a month where they have a variety of classes. Try them all and see what floats your boat. Guess what? What I liked 10 years ago, differs from what I like today. That means that you may have loved lifting weights 10 years ago but right now it’s not getting you excited. So, what does get you revved up to exercise? Find it.
I missed my workout today. Does that mean that the day is over for me? Absolutely not. I am going to put on my shoes and go for a long walk at a good speed. I will get my miles in today. I want to be active, so I need to make myself get active. It doesn’t happen all by itself.
Build activity into your life. Walk to your neighbors instead of driving. Take the stairs. Park in the last row of the supermarket. Walk around when you are on the phone. Take breaks from behind your computer and strike a yoga pose. Drop and squat a few times a day. Find ways to build this into your life.
I want this for you. I don’t want your muscles to atrophy. Inactivity leads to inactivity. We all know someone a bit older than us and who has so many health issues that they are unable to exercise. Don’t allow that to be you. Fight back, please. Fight back with exercise. Do this for you.
If you miss a week, start up again. Don’t allow a week to turn into a month, to turn into a year. We all know how that goes.
People are not born active. They make themselves active. That sporty person you know isn’t built differently than you. They just decide to be active. You can too!
Now that is enough for me today because I need to go for that long, speedy walk that I told you about.
Drop and squat.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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