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When should I start exercising after surgery?

A crucial part of everybody’s weight loss journey includes exercise. A healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting good sleep are all key components to long term weight loss success. Exercise is very important to maintain muscle mass, strengthen your heart, relieve stress and increase metabolic rate. Exercising can also improve your blood sugar control.


Of course, after any surgery, it is important to allow surgical wounds to heal and to allow the body to rest and restore itself. But how long until you can exercise again?


As with any part of weight loss surgery, it can be entirely unique to the individual. Aerobic exercise such as walking can begin nearly straight after surgery, even a few days. Start with ten minutes at a brisk pace, and work your way up gradually from there. Getting thirty minutes of exercise per day is a great goal.


Usually, we do not recommend lifting heavy weights until around six weeks after surgery. Avoiding abdominal exercises for around 6-8 weeks too, as this is very close to the site of surgery. Your doctor and exercise physiologist can guide you on this, as it can be different for everyone.


Some tips for exercising are:

  • Find a friend – exercising with someone else can help with motivation levels
  • Book a class – it will keep exercise in your daily, and weekly routine
  • Walk up and down the stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator
  • Listen to your favourite music to get you motivated!
  • Wear exercise clothes that you comfortable in, to make exercise relaxing and stress-free
  • Do what you love! If you love running, add running into your weekly routine. If you like Pilates or gym classes more, do those. Making exercise fun makes it easier to maintain in the long-term.