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Bariatric care: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery

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This surgical weight loss option is available at...

To start your weight loss surgery journey, attend a free surgery information class.

Regular exercise and physical activity are important after weight loss surgery. Research has shown that regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your weight loss long term. Regular exercise:

  • increases your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories)
  • strengthens your heart, lungs and bones
  • can help improve your self-confidence
  • decreases your stress
  • increases your ability to do your everyday activities (such as shopping, cleaning and walking stairs)

You will start your exercise program after surgery in the hospital. Your health care team will help you walk several times a day. This will be the start of your exercise program.

Start your exercise routine slowly. Do small bouts of exercise two to three times a day. After a couple of weeks, increase your exercise as you can. Try for 30 to 45 minutes of activity every day.

If walking is difficult, try an exercise video that matches your fitness level or join a health club and use an aerobic fitness machine.

Strength training

When you no longer have lifting restrictions, you can start strength (resistance) training. With rapid weight loss you are losing muscle weight as well as fat. To maintain muscle, you will need to do strength training. It:

  • will help improve your shape
  • will tone your muscles
  • will build your strength
  • will increase your metabolism
  • may slow bone loss

Strength training uses free weights (dumbbells), resistance bands and weight machines. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people do strength training twice a week. Do not target the same muscle group two days in a row. Muscles need to rest 48 hours.

Before you start strength training, make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. Talk with a certified trainer who has experience with weight loss surgery training.

Exercise tips

Following these tips will help you make exercise a daily part of your new lifestyle.

  • Find an exercise partner.
  • Join an exercise club or class. The Bariatric Center may offer exercise classes for you to join.
  • Talk with your surgeon or care team about appropriate and good exercises for you to do.
  • Get motivated by listening to your favorite music as you exercise.
  • Try walking at the mall, your local community center or high school.
  • Find out who offers swim classes or open swim. Check community education, local schools, or local hotels or motels.
  • Be active in little ways such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, take walking breaks at work, and stand up and stretch.
  • Walk your dog.
  • Dance.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and proper footwear for your exercise and activities.
  • Find fitness DVDs that match your level of fitness.
  • Exercise will be a part of your everyday life. Find a fitness routine that you can enjoy.
  • Thirty minutes of low-impact aerobic exercise is the same as taking 5,000 steps. To keep track of your steps, wear a pedometer every day. You can buy a pedometer at a discount retailer or an exercise/fitness store.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery: What You Need to Know Before and After Surgery, fourth edition, surg-ahc-90091 (2/10)
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
First Published: 01/24/2005
Last Reviewed: 02/15/2010