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When Can I Start Exercising After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

When Can I Start Exercising After Gastric Sleeve Surgery? Central Coast Surgery Outline the Best Time to Start Exercising After Gastric Sleeve.

Posted on 21 May, 2021

Suppose you have undergone gastric sleeve surgery and are looking to continue your weight loss journey. In that case, you are probably asking yourself, “When can I start exercising after gastric sleeve surgery?” 


Dr Ken Wong is an experienced surgeon, specialising in gastric sleeve surgeries in both Newcastle & the Central Coast, and advising on post-operative measures to maximise the potential benefit of undergoing bariatric surgery. Dr. Wong and his team conduct their successful surgeries across Central Coast, Newcastle, and surrounding areas such as Singleton, Maitland, and Nelson Bay. As such, Central Coast Surgery has created this article to extend the service we provide our patients with straightforward, informative content that helps throughout the pre-and post-operative stages of their weight loss journey.


Exercising After Gastric Sleeve Surgery


Exercise after gastric sleeve surgery can be beneficial to an individual’s achievement of weight loss goals and their general health and wellbeing. It is essential to acknowledge that a bariatric procedure results in a considerable change to an individual’s anatomy and lifestyle. As such, when individuals ask, “when can I start exercising after gastric sleeve surgery?” the answer may vary depending on how quickly they recover from surgery. 

When looking to exercise after weight loss surgery, a tailored program will be developed for you that aligns with your goals, professional medical advice, and that of an exercise professional. The tailoring of your program will depend on your weight loss target, your medical and exercise history, and other personal factors so you can achieve the best possible results after your surgery.


Initial Exercise After Gastric Sleeve Surgery 


In the initial weeks after surgery, you won’t be running any marathons. Although conducted laparoscopically, a gastric sleeve procedure will result in small incisions that need to heal. These incisions must be treated with care and given time to heal with the best possible result. You will also need to give yourself time to recover after surgery. Painkillers and antibiotics are often prescribed to ensure you are comfortable and avoid any issues in the days following your operation. As you build up your strength and capacity to exercise, more strenuous exercises that focus on muscular strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance will be gradually introduced into your post gastric sleeve exercise routine.


Exercise after gastric sleeve surgery


When Can I Start Exercising After Gastric Sleeve Surgery: First Steps


The great thing about gastric sleeve operations is that they are typically performed laparoscopically, which is less invasive and allows you to recover quicker and get started with your exercise routine.

In the first 2-4 weeks after surgery, the focus will be on returning to your everyday routine and introducing some light walking and flexibility exercises. Light breathing exercises may also be utilised to help with your recovery. The rate at which a patient advances through their exercise routine can vary depending on how their body reacts after surgery and to introducing new exercises. It is important to remember this is a significant commitment and patience and persistence is crucial to making long term improvement to your physical and wellbeing.

Although it is important to ask, “When can I start exercising after gastric sleeve surgery?” It is vitally essential that you make exercise a consistent habit after the initial stages of your post-operative weight loss. Regular exercise will help you lose weight - and keep it off! 


Your Next Phase of Exercise After Weight Loss Surgery


The next stage of your post gastric sleeve exercise plan will see various low impact exercises being introduced. These low impact exercises will help you begin developing your capacity to exercise whilst ensuring your body is not pushed too hard. This exercise could include small amounts of walking, very light weights and bodyweight movements. Your exercise plan will be developed according to your post-operative goals and with the help of medical and exercise professionals to ensure it is effective in helping you lose weight and also improving your fitness and wellbeing. 


How Nutrition Impacts When You Can Start Exercising


After your surgery, you will have significant consultation with a dietitian to ensure you are provided with a suitable diet that will not only help you lose weight but ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients you need. As your diet will be low in calories, you may notice that you get especially tired from exercising. This is entirely normal. It is essential to acknowledge the various changes going on in and outside of your body. This is why our team of professionals collaborate to ensure your diet and exercise programs suit your needs and capabilities. 


Exercise After Gastric Sleeve Surgery & Pain Management


When can I start exercising after gastric sleeve surgery? A huge element to consider for the question of exercise is when you can manage your pain. 

Undergoing bariatric surgery, starting a new diet and exercise plan, and making significant lifestyle changes will affect your body in many ways. Regardless of whether you are getting back into exercise after surgery or beginning an exercise program for the first time in your life, your body will feel sore. Although soreness is expected when starting a new exercise regime, it is vital that you can manage your pain effectively.

It is essential to ease into new movements and slowly develop your capacity to exercise to avoid any injuries. If you ever experience pain during an exercise, stop immediately and consult your medical or exercise professional to modify the movement and alleviate the pain.


Benefits of Post Gastric Sleeve Exercise


There are a number of benefits that come with exercising after gastric sleeve surgery. After all, while the operation itself may be a huge step in losing weight, it is only the beginning of your weight loss journey.


1. Beneficial for Mental Health

Physical exercise is excellent for your mental health as it releases endorphins, elevating your mood and reducing stress and anxiety. Consistently exercising will help you stay positive throughout your weight loss journey.


2. Aid in Long Term Weight Loss

Although a significant amount of your weight loss will result from the significant dietary changes made after your bariatric procedure, exercise will help you keep it off in the long term. 


3. Improve Lean Muscle Mass

Even lifting small weights will help you maintain and even increase your body’s lean muscle mass, positively benefiting your weight loss and regulation in the long term. Additionally, bodyweight movements and even forms of cardiovascular exercise engage and build a significant number of muscles.


4. Improve Joint Mobility and Long-Term Physical Health

A varied exercise regime will help with your joint stability, bone strength and overall wellbeing of your body. Moving around, getting your muscles working and your heart rate up will result in a whole host of positive physical and mental benefits. Strength training will support bone density, strengthen your joints, increase your muscular strength and mass, and ensure your long-term physical health.


benefits of exercise after gastric sleeve


Long Term Exercise Goals


Maintaining a long-term exercise commitment is one of the most critical factors in achieving and maintaining your long-term health goals after your surgery. It’s not simply about asking “when can I start exercising after gastric sleeve surgery?”, but “when can I start making long term changes for a happier and healthier life?”. 

Setting long term goals ensures you have something to work towards and keep you motivated through the ups and downs of your exercise program. Setting goals and making exercise a priority will ensure you set aside time to complete your training. Your goals could be related to how much weight you want to lose, completing a certain number of reps in an exercise, running a certain distance, or even completing a particular activity you couldn’t before. When setting goals, remember to be specific and set a time for them, otherwise, they may never be achieved. An example could include:


I want to be X weight by September 2022.


By Christmas next year I want to run 5km without stopping.


A few tips to help you maintain your long-term exercise commitment include:


Make it fun: Pick exercises you enjoy and will consistently complete.


Make it social: Find an exercise partner or get your friends involved. This also helps you stay accountable.


Change it up: Talk to your exercise professional about doing a range of activities or exercises, so you never get bored.


Track Your Progress: Seeing how far you have come can be really satisfying. It also helps identify when you need an extra push. 


long term health after gastric sleeve surgery

Beyond Exercise After Gastric Sleeve Surgery


So, now that you have a better understanding of the question, “when can I start exercising after gastric sleeve surgery?”, the key is what you are going to do with this information. Whether you are considering undergoing bariatric surgery or have just undergone an operation, it is crucial to maintain a consistent course of exercise after weight loss surgery so you can achieve your long-term goals.

Staying on top of your exercise routine and diet will not only help you lose weight but result in numerous benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. At Central Coast Surgery, we can provide you with an expert team of professionals to aid your weight loss journey; but it is up to you to do the hard work and achieve your goals.

If you require any additional information surrounding the question, “When can I start exercising after gastric sleeve surgery?” or wish to speak to a medical professional about gastric sleeve procedures with Central Coast surgery, contact us on (02) 4323 7000 or fill out the contact form on our website.