post-op exercise

12 Tips for Sticking to Your Post-Op Exercise Program

October 4, 2023

Exercise is an important part of your bariatric surgery journey, but starting and maintaining a consistent exercise program can feel overwhelming! These 12 Tips for sticking to your post-op exercise program will help you get, and stay on track with your exercise routine.

12 Tips for Sticking to Your Post-Op Exercise Program


Consistency is key.

The most important thing to remember when starting an exercise program is that consistency trumps intensity every time. A little every day is more beneficial in the long run than sporadically overtraining. Create a realistic schedule that takes into account your normal daily routine. You can begin to reap the benefits of physical activity in as little as 20 minutes a day!


Set realistic and attainable goals.

Going from zero days of exercise per week to 7 days of exercise per week is a good way to get injured, burned out, and exhausted. While your long-term goal is to engage in some form of physical activity on most days of the week, start with 2-3 days per week, make that a habit, then begin to add additional days. The same applies to duration and intensity of exercise. Start with as little as 10-20 minutes per session. Begin with light to moderate intensity. Set yourself up for success, with room to grow!


Choose the right type of exercise for you.

The best type of exercise is the one that you will consistently do. If one type of exercise is inconvenient or painful, it will be far more difficult to stick with than if it is fairly convenient and enjoyable.


Find a friend.

Exercise is far more fun with friends. Instead of grabbing coffee or lunch with your friend, go for a walk or a hike. Make plans to meet for an early morning group fitness class at your local gym. If you know your friend is waiting for you, you are less likely to hit snooze!


Mix it up!

Walking, cycling, swimming, lifting weights, Pilates, yoga, running, elliptical machines, rowing, group classes, personal trainers, and fitness apps are just a few of the many ways to engage in physical activity.


Enlist help.

Working with a certified personal trainer is a great way to begin an exercise program, maintain an exercise program, or freshen up an exercise program that has gotten stale. Certified personal trainers can help you set long and short-term goals, create a specific plan for you, and ensure that you are maximizing your results.


Try before you buy.

Most fitness facilities will offer introductory classes, often at no cost, so that you can get a feel for the class before committing to a membership or class package. Research local fitness centers. Do they have class times that will work with your schedule? Did you enjoy the class? Did the instructor seem knowledgeable? Do the other people in the class seem friendly? And, most importantly, is it something you can see yourself doing for the foreseeable future?


Work out at home.

Maybe you don’t live near a gym or exercise facility. Maybe your schedule leaves little time to exercise. Working out at home can be simple and effective. With a wide variety of fitness apps, many free or low cost, you can bring the gym to you.


Plan an active vacation and train for it!


Stay focused.

Create your schedule, put it in your calendar, and create reminders to keep you on track. Lose the “all or nothing mindset”. Had a long day at work and don’t have the time or energy to do the hour-long workout you had planned? Take a quick 20 minute walk around your neighborhood. Do a 20 minute Pilates or yoga class on your fitness app. Something is better than nothing.


Track your progress.

Keeping a record of your workouts can help motivate you and allow you to see what works and what doesn’t. Armed with information, you can continue to set specific and attainable goals to keep you moving forward!


Reward your progress.

Set milestones and celebrate when you reach them! Whether it is a day off, a movie night, or a new outfit, rewards keep you motivated.

Nikhilesh Sekhar MD, FACS, FASMBS currently practices at New York Bariatric Group and has performed thousands of WLS procedures.

post-op exercise


Nikhilesh Sekhar MD, FACS, FASMBS currently practices at New York Bariatric Group and has performed thousands of WLS procedures including Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy and Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding. He also has background performing laparoscopic Nissen, laparoscopic inguinal and ventral hernia repair, laparoscopic colectomy and laparoscopic lymphadenectomy. Read more articles from Dr. Sekhar