The Easy Way to Start Exercise After Lap Band Surgery
A Guide in 10 Simple Steps
If you’ve never exercised or it’s been a long time since you got up and moving, it can be really intimidating. And if you’re starting out significantly overweight, it can be even more challenging. You may get out of breath easily and find it hard to move around.
It’s okay. Don’t be discouraged. You too can become a regular exerciser. And, although you might find this hard to believe, you’ll come to enjoy it more quickly than you might think.
Will the Lap Band limit activity?
If you’ve come to this post because you’re about to have or have just had Lap Band surgery, you may be concerned about how the procedure may impact what you can and can’t do. Here’s the good news: it won’t.
For the first six to eight weeks, you’ll want to skip any abdominal exercises or heavy lifting until your incision and port heal. After that, there are no Lap Band-specific restrictions you’ll have to worry about. If your doctor says you are cleared for exercise, then you can do everything another person in the same state of health as you can.
10 tips to get you going after the Lap Band
To help get you started on the path to being more active, follow these 10 tips. Even if you’ve never exercised, you can do it!
#1 - Start small and slow.
As you get started, one of the best ways to ensure your success is to be moderate in your approach. Don’t try to do too much too quickly or set your goals too high, because this will only set you up for discouragement and possibly injury. Instead, do what is realistic and comfortable for you. Set a small goal and celebrate when you achieve it. Then set the bar a little higher. In this way, you’ll make steady, maintainable progress.
#2 - Focus on cardiovascular exercise.
When you’re starting out, go for exercises that get most of your body moving and raise your heart rate. For now, don’t worry about doing a lot of weights. The time will come when you’ll want to do more strength building to gain power and shape your body. Right now, focus on getting your body moving and your heart beating faster.
#3 - Do something you enjoy.
Think of your exercise time as time for yourself. Pick an activity that you like rather than something that you dread. This might be walking and enjoying the outdoors, taking a bike ride or even dancing in your living room. Even better, do all the above. If you change up your routine, you’ll be more likely to stay interested and motivated.
# 4 - Divide it up.
Your goal should be to work 30 minutes of physical activity every day into your life. That doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once, particularly in the beginning as you work up your stamina. Doing two 15 minute walks or three 10 minute dance and stretch sessions will add up.
#5 – Expect ups and downs.
You’re going to have good weeks and bad weeks. Don’t get down on yourself. And most importantly, don’t give up! Everybody goes through it, and you just have to refocus and begin again.
#6 – Plan it.
In today’s busy world, one of the most common reasons you hear for not exercising is “I don’t have time.” But, without your health and well-being, you won’t be able to do all those other things that keep you so busy. Make exercise a top priority that deserves a slot on your calendar just as much as your job, taking care of your kids or spending time with your spouse or loved ones. Carve out a time, put it on the calendar and let others know you’ll be busy at that time.
#7 – Commit to someone.
If someone else is expecting to meet you to exercise, you’ll be more likely to stick to your goals. This might be a friend – maybe someone who’s starting out just likely you who can understand the challenges you’re up against and celebrate the small victories together. Or, maybe you have a friend who’s an experienced exerciser that you trust who can show you what to do and help keep you motivated. If you can, work with a personal trainer. Either way, accountability will keep you on track.
#8 – Drink water.
Don’t underestimate the importance of drinking water when you’re exerting yourself, particularly if it’s hot. Be sure to hydrate before and after you exercise.
#9 – Stretch.
No matter what exercise you do, no matter how little it seems at first, stretch. Stretch before you exercise to get warmed up, and really stretch afterwards. It’s the best way to prevent injury, and it will improve your flexibility.
#10 – Look for little signs of progress.
Are you sweating, even a little? Then you’ve increased your heart rate. Are you breathing more quickly? You’re reaping the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. The key here, especially as you’re getting started, is moderate exercise. You don’t have to sweat buckets, have your heart pounding out of your chest or be short of breath – in fact, you shouldn’t push yourself that hard to start. Exercise shouldn’t be painful. You can get results, without discomfort.
Also, you’re likely to see more progress initially in how your clothes fit than in the number of pounds you lose. Most people lose inches before they see the pounds coming off. So don’t worry about the pounds. Celebrate fitting into the pair of pants or shirt you haven’t been able to wear in a long time.
You’ll love the rewards.
The wonderful thing about exercise is that your successes, no matter how small, will build on themselves. As you lose weight with the Lap Band, it will become easier to exercise. As you exercise, it will help you increase your weight loss. You’ll feel more energetic, healthier and more confident.
Are you just getting started? Have questions? Have a success to share?
- by True Results Staff
Aftercare Manager at True Results
January 27, 2011
Photo by MiniJ23/Jessi Wortley Adler