For the first several weeks after surgery your ability to exercise will be limited due to the healing process. Between 6 to 8 weeks after surgery, you will begin to perform some normal, non-strenuous activities. Shortly thereafter you will be cleared to work out and exercise more vigorously.
Incorporating exercise into your routine (once cleared by your doctor), whether this is new for you and already a habit you enjoy, can have great benefits for your weight loss, maintenance and overall well-being. Many patients find they enjoy exercise more as the weight comes off, as it is often a different experience with less joint pain and improving cardiovascular health, meaning you won’t feel quite so out of breath so quickly. There are countless options for getting active from walking outdoors, utilizing a gym, taking classes, or working with personal trainers. Not everything is a good fit for everyone, but it is important to find what works for you and stick with it. Staying active will help you to meet your goals more quickly and can have benefits in skin laxity, bone health and heart health as well.
During the initial weight loss period, low impact activities are best. Exercises such as swimming, biking and walking put less pressure on joints and minimize the chance of an injury that sidelines you for weeks. As you begin to lose weight, you can begin to ratchet up the intensity of your exercise, but always within your physical limits. If you experience any pain you should stop immediately.
Gaining weight after exercise
Patients often get concerns when they gain weight after starting a new exercise regimen. This is perfectly normal and fully expected. Muscle is denser than fat and therefore weighs more. As muscle volume is increased, even when fat is decreased, you may gain some weight. This is temporary and should not be alarming. Any weight gain from muscle mass may be offset by the weight loss from fat loss you experience from your dietary restriction and calorie burning. Try shifting progress markers away from the scale and towards consistent measurements of various body parts.
Further, when you exercise, muscles develop tiny tears. This micro-damage and subsequent repair is what allows muscles to grow bigger. During this natural process, these tears fill up fluid and once again, can seem to stagnate the number on the scale. We know that increasing muscle mass has positive effects on the metabolism and fat loss, so gaining muscle will have benefits long term.
While you may not notice dramatic weight loss from exercise alone, you will almost certainly see the difference in shape. Taking a full body picture in your form fitting exercise clothes at the beginning of your regimen and then monthly thereafter. This will help you notice the significant changes in your body that are occurring.
Exercise should not be limited to cardio. Strength training in the form of resistance develops more muscle, which in turn burns more calories. Increasing muscle in the body means more calories are burned even when your body is at rest. This can be seen in comparisons of a test called a Resting Metabolic Rate. Think of your diet as the immediate loss catalyst while your exercise sets the stage for longer-term weight loss.