Introducing an Exercise Routine after Gastric Band Surgery
As you work on improving your health and lifestyle after gastric band surgery, it will help to focus on more than just what you eat. Making exercise a regular part of your life after surgery will provide your body with many benefits. By maintaining a steady exercise routine, you will be able to:
- Build more lean muscle mass to maintain your metabolism and improve your physique
- Control stress, depression and anxiety and foster an overall better mood
- Recover from surgery faster and reduce your risk of complications
Because exercise may not have been a consistent part of your life before gastric band surgery, it will be best to introduce it carefully. Though it’s important to work out regularly, fitness is something that must be built up slowly, especially as you recover from surgery. Pushing your body to do something it is not yet ready for will put you at risk of an injury that will make it much harder to continue your progress.
We can offer suggestions on appropriate activities and intensity levels for your physical fitness after gastric band surgery. Do not attempt any new, strenuous activities without checking with us first, especially if you have physical limitations that may increase your risk of injury.
You can begin creating a routine that helps you improve your health and fitness after gastric band surgery by:
Creating a Schedule
If you hope to make exercise a habit, the first step is to make time for it in your daily schedule. Consider when exercise will fit in best for you and plan to devote those periods entirely to your routine, even if it means breaking a 30-minute workout into three shorter 10-minute sessions. Though it can be hard to find time for exercise in a busy schedule, try to treat your workouts with the same importance as any other meeting or appointment. Record your exercise schedule in a notebook, planner, spreadsheet or mobile app and adhere closely to the plans you make.
Taking Small Steps
At first, your body will likely not be able to handle a great deal of vigorous activity. Help yourself adjust to exercise with low-impact exercises that improve your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength without putting excessive pressure on your body. Most people are able to begin working out about two to three weeks after gastric band surgery, but it may take more or less time in your individual case.
As you begin your routine, stick with gentle exercises like walking, cycling and swimming and try to do them at a pace that can be maintained for five continuous minutes at a time. You can increase the time you spend exercising as your fitness improves. By six months after gastric band surgery, you should be able to exercise for 30 minutes on at least three days each week, but you can certainly set a higher goal. During these first six months, you will likely also be able to begin a gentle strength training routine.
Paying Attention to Your Body
You can keep your workouts challenging, but don’t push too hard. Listen to what your body tells you and always stop if you experience nausea, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath. Keep a water bottle with you to maintain your hydration during exercise. Remember that you should not exercise every day, as your body will need time to recover between workouts, especially in the beginning. If you’re feeling fatigued or sore, give yourself a day off to recuperate.
As you add activity to your lifestyle, it helps to be patient with yourself. Developing a routine can take time and commitment, so remember to take things slowly.