Getting active after a gastric bypass

To maximise your weight loss you need to increase your activity. This can be easier said than done so we have a 12 week schedule based on increasing the amount you walk.

Walking is a great way to increase your heart rate, burn calories and improve your overall fitness. It’s a low-impact exercise that’s easy, free and good for your mood too. It’s also something that most people are able to do.

5 great benefits you get from walking

  1. Walking strengthens your heart and reduces the risk of heart disease: walking is a great cardio exercise that can lower levels of bad cholesterol and increase levels of good cholesterol. The Stroke Association have shown that a daily brisk 30-minute walk helps to prevent high blood pressure by up to 27%.
  2. Walking helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: walking has proven to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 60%.
  3. Walking helps you to lose weight: being active will increase the amount of calories you burn. Walking for just 30 minutes a day at 2mph, you could burn between 120-180 calories. You can see how many calories you can burn here.
  4. Walking gives you energy: walking is a natural energiser, boosting circulation and increasing oxygen supply to cells in your body. This helps you to feel more alert and feel less lethargic throughout your day.
  5. Walking improves your mood: studies have proven that walking is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression. Walking releases feel-good endorphins and reduces stress and anxiety. So it’s a great way to make yourself happy.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t build in a day so we’ve got a helpful 12 week schedule to help you to increase your fitness with your walks. By the end of the 12 weeks you could be feeling lighter, healthier and more motivated. So let’s get started!

Week 1

Day of your surgery: try to be up and about within a couple of hours of returning from theatre.

Day two: start to move around and try walking for a few minutes. If you feel pain then stop. It can be quite common to feel some twinges in the wounds or the shoulder during the first week post surgery.

Day three to seven: aim to walk 15 minutes each day. If you feel pain at any point then stop. A brisk walk will increase your heart rate so ideally you want to build up to this.

Warm up (slow walk): 5 minutes
Brisk walk: 5 minutes
Cool down (slow walk): 5 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

For each week following, try to increase the amount of time you walk briskly by 2 minutes.

e.g. Week 2

Warm up (slow walk): 5 minutes
Brisk walk: 7 minutes
Cool down (slow walk): 5 minutes
Total: 17 minutes

…and by week 12…

Week 12

Warm up (slow walk): 5 minutes
Brisk walk: 30 minutes
Cool down (slow walk): 5 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Extra tips

Invest in a pedometer or FitBit (or similar)

One of the best ways of monitoring your walking activity is to use a good quality pedometer. The basic function of a pedometer is to count steps. Each time you check your pedometer, it motivates you to take extra steps. As you increase your daily step count, you will soon begin to notice real changes in your physical and mental state, with more energy, less stress and better sleeping patterns.

There are a huge variety of pedometers available in the market. If you want to get started straight away you could download the Pacer App which is available on the Google Play store and Apple store. The app is free to use and will monitor your steps as long as you have your mobile on you.

Other alternatives are available so it’s best to invest some time on the right pedometer for you.

Invest in the right pair of trainers.

If you don’t invest in the right pair of trainers you could result in an injury, or pain in your joints. The right pair of trainers ought to provide you with support around your ankle, a good amount of padding in the soles of the shoes to absorb the impact of each step, and should support your feet to prevent you from pronation or supination. Pronation is where the ankle rolls inwards. Supernation is where the ankle rolls outwards. Both can result in shin splits, and longer term it has been said to result in knee pain and hip dis-alignment. 

The best way to choose the right pair of trainers is to go to a podiatrist or a running store that offers a gait analysis. Here you’ll be placed on a treadmill and your walk will be recorded bare footed to see whether you need additional support. If you do then you will be advised of the right types of trainers to buy.

If you have pain in your knees or spine, make sure you increase the distance and time very gradually and stop when it becomes painful. You will find that as you lose weight your ability to exercise for longer will increase. 

Make it social.

Walking the same route over and over can become a bit boring for some, so switch up your route and find someone to walk with. If you have a dog then build your walking regime around the times you would walk your dog and push yourself.

Frequently asked questions about exercise

How soon can I go swimming after surgery?  
You are able to go swimming 6 weeks after your surgery, as long as your wounds are fully healed / closed 

Are there any sports I should avoid?  
It is possible to enjoy most sports after surgery but if you engage in contact sports that may involve a blow to the abdomen eg rugby / martial arts or play sport professionally, please discuss with a bariatric nurse 

I’m using an activity tracker – how many steps should I do?  
Everyone, whether they have had weight loss surgery or not, is encouraged to walk at least 10,000 steps per day. You may find this difficult at first but as you become fitter, stronger and more mobile, you can gradually build up to this as your goal. Of course, the more activity you can fit in, the better your weight loss will be so if you regularly reach 10,000 steps a day, challenge yourself to go for more!

Call our specialist team today on
0800 313 4618 
Get a quote 
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