Best Low Impact Exercises for Bariatric Patients
You’ve been cleared to exercise. So now what?
This is far less daunting than it sounds. For some of us, the gym was not our first hang out pre-surgery. Neither was spin class, the tennis court, the weekend hikes or the stand-up paddleboard. But guess what? Your new life is the golden ticket to some of life‘s best experiences that will broaden your free-time horizons, increase your health-conscious circle of friends, and lead to tremendous success in your weight loss journey.
Now let’s flip the coin. Some of us were very active. Despite our extra pounds, we walked/jogged some half marathons, we never missed a Zumba class, and we’ve unrolled a yoga mat or two. But something has now shifted post-surgery, and the activities we choose and the way we treat our bodies must be considered. You hear the words “low-impact” all the time. But what does that really mean?
Imagine a water balloon. This balloon is you. Imagine jolting and jarring that water balloon against a hard surface repeatedly for an hour. Take the same balloon and imagine it gently bouncing gliding and rolling its way through different activities. Much in the way this balloon met resistance with the hard surfaces, so do our joints – legs, back, neck and spine.
We are in the process of shedding weight, and as the pounds come off, many exercises will become easier and less demanding on our bodies. But until we get there it’s important to focus on those exercises which are considered low impact.
For example, swimming, walking, gentle yoga, and light strength training, can all be considered low impact. There are no thrusts, jolts, or instances where your body weight is repeatedly impacting your joints and bones. The difference between the impact from running versus swimming is obvious. While these higher impact exercises can be enjoyed eventually, it is very important to start with low-impact exercise and build your way up.
Go over your exercise plan with your medical team, or take advantage of the trainers or coaches at many gyms or exercise classes. Explain what part of your journey you are on, and more than likely, they will not only help you navigate your way, but they will suggest things that could catapult you toward success.
And listen to your body.
Stay hydrated, don’t forget to stretch, and LISTEN and ACT if something doesn’t feel right or is causing too much resistance.
Exercise is a crucial component of ongoing post-weight-loss-surgery success. But knowing which exercises are best, and how they fit into your lifestyle can make all the difference between slow gains and tremendous, safe results.