Physical Activity with a Gastric Band

Image of consultant bariatric surgeon, Mr Rishi Singhal

Medically reviewed by Prof Rishi Singhal MBBS, MRCS, FRCS, MD  
By Heather Fry BSC (Hons)

What physical activity can I do in the first 2 weeks?

Daily activity is going to be a key part of your post-operative routine. On the day of surgery, we usually like you to be up and about as soon as possible. This is usually within a couple of hours of returning from the theatre. Getting moving will help reduce the risk of any clots forming in your legs (DVT). On the following day, you should start to mobilise and try walking for a few minutes. During the first week, increase your walking until you are up to about 10-15 minutes at a time. Stop if you feel any pain. After the first week, you should continue with your daily walking, aiming to get up to about 30 minutes of exercise each day. If you have suffered with pain in weight-bearing joints (hips, knees, ankles) before your weight loss surgery, make sure you increase the distance and time very gradually and stop if iit becomes painful. You should find that as your excess weight comes down your exercise tolerance will increase.

What physical activity can I do in the next 4 weeks?

Up until 6 weeks after surgery, walking is still going to be the activity of choice. This is to allow your body to recover and heal. You should continue to build up on the length of time you spend walking. Aim for 45-60 minutes per day (5,000-6,000 steps per day). You don’t have to do this all at once. If you find it easier you can take in smaller “bite sized” chunks of about 10-15 minutes each time.

When can I start exercising?

People are much more successful with a weight loss procedure if they get into the habit of regular physical activity. In addition to walking, you can choose other activities and exercise that you enjoy to keep an active lifestyle, as long as you are 6 weeks on from your surgery. There may be something that you never thought you could do before, but now you can! Apart from collision sports such as rugby or martial arts which could result in a direct blow to the abdomen, there are no forbidden types of exercise. You can enjoy swimming, golf, badminton, tennis, cycling, hiking, strength training, running, lightweight training, aerobic exercise– almost anything. Physical activity has many benefits: burning calories; preserving your lean muscle mass; improving your mood; enhancing your body shape; improving quality of life and keeping your metabolic rate higher.

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