Exercise Basics Before & After Bariatric Surgery/Plastic Surgery to Remove Loose Skin
October 3, 2023
Written By: Janet L. Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDCES
Bariatric surgery is a life-changing decision that can lead to significant weight loss and improved health. However, it’s important to understand that surgery alone is not a magic solution. Exercise plays a crucial role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight after bariatric surgery. Let’s explore exercise basics both before and after bariatric surgery, as well as the topic of plastic surgery to remove loose skin, a common concern for many post-surgery patients.
Exercise Before Bariatric Surgery
- Preparation is Key: Before undergoing bariatric surgery, it’s essential to start preparing your body for the journey ahead. This includes incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Consult with your healthcare team to determine a suitable exercise plan tailored to your current fitness level.
- Low-Impact Activities: Focus on low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or stationary cycling. These activities can help improve cardiovascular fitness and stamina while minimizing stress on your joints.
- Strength Training: Building muscle can aid in preserving lean muscle mass during weight loss. Simple bodyweight exercises or resistance band workouts can be effective.
- Flexibility Training: Stretching exercises can increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Consider activities like yoga or Pilates to improve flexibility.
Exercise After Bariatric Surgery
- Post-Surgery Guidelines: Follow your bariatric surgeon’s instructions carefully regarding when to start exercising after bariatric surgery. Typically, patients can gradually resume physical activity a few weeks after the procedure. Walking will begin as soon as a few hours post-operatively.
- Start Slowly: Begin with gentle exercises such as short walks and light stretching. Listen to your body and progress at a pace that feels comfortable.
- Build Consistency: Consistency is key to long-term success. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, as recommended by health guidelines.
- Strength Training: Incorporate strength training to help tone and strengthen your muscles. This can also assist in preventing loose skin by filling out some of the space left by lost fat.
Plastic Surgery for Loose Skin
Loose skin is a common concern after significant weight loss following bariatric surgery. While exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help, sometimes plastic surgery is necessary to remove excess skin that cannot be resolved through natural means. Here are some key points to consider:
- Consultation: Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in post-bariatric body contouring. They can assess your specific needs and provide guidance on the most appropriate procedures.
- Types of Surgery: Common procedures for excess skin removal include:
- Panniculectomy (removal of the “apron” or skin hanging in front of the stomach)
- Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
- Arm lift
- Thigh lift
- Breast Lift
Your plastic surgeon will recommend the best options for your unique situation.
- Timing: It’s important to wait until your weight has stabilized post-surgery before considering plastic surgery for loose skin. Surgeons recommend waiting 12-18 months before your first plastic surgery consultation.
- Recovery: Understand that the recovery process can vary depending on the procedures performed. Follow your plastic surgeon’s post-operative instructions diligently to ensure a smooth recovery.
Exercise is a critical component of the bariatric surgery journey, both before and after the procedure. By following a well-structured exercise plan and considering plastic surgery options for loose skin when appropriate, individuals can achieve their weight loss goals and enjoy improved health and confidence on their path to recovery. Always consult with your healthcare team for personalized guidance on exercise and post-bariatric surgery care.
Note: For additional tips and information on exercise and plastic surgery after bariatric surgery see previous blog posts:
- 10/01/22: “Getting Active & Staying Active After Bariatric Surgery.”
- 3/01/22: “Reconstructive Surgery & Fashion for A Changing New Body.”
- 10/04/21: “Getting Active & Staying Active After Bariatric Surgery.”
- 10/02/20: “Easing into Exercise After Bariatric Surgery.”
- 1/01/20: “Enjoying Exercise & Staying Motivated.”
- 10/03/19: “Long-term Weight Loss through Exercise & Bariatric Surgery.”
- 10/02/18: “Exercise After Weight Loss Surgery – 7 things you Need to Know.”