exercise after bariatric surgery

You’ll need to adopt major lifestyle changes after undergoing bariatric surgery. An exercise regimen is one of them.

Exercise is a valuable tool that accelerates weight loss and strengthens muscles and bones. Studies have also shown that those who exercise after bariatric surgery lose more weight and are more likely to have kept it off at the 24-month mark.

Your medical team will provide specific advice on how and when you should begin exercising after your surgery.

Learn more about bariatric surgery at UPMC

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Working out After Weight Loss Surgery: What You Need to Know

Walking After Bariatric Surgery

While you are in the hospital, you will be encouraged to walk soon after your procedure. Walking helps improve your recovery and reduces the risk of certain complications, such as blood clots. If you are unable to walk, your medical team will help you find ways to strengthen your body and increase your ability to function as you recover.

After you return home from the hospital, you should gradually increase your physical activity over time. A pedometer may be a valuable motivational tool as you measure your progress and set goals for the future.

Weight Lifting

In the immediate weeks after your surgery, you should not lift more than 10 to 15 pounds. Your doctor will approve when you are able to begin lifting more.

Weight training offers many long-term health benefits, but don’t think of it as a competition: Just do the best you can. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about lifting weights after surgery.

Abdominal exercises, such as sit-ups and crunches, should be avoided until at least 12 weeks after your surgery or upon approval from your surgeon


Swimming offers both resistance training and is an excellent cardiovascular workout. It’s also a low-impact activity to minimize wear and tear on your joints. Always wait until your incisions have healed before jumping in the pool (and be sure to get your surgeon’s approval).

Hydration While Exercising

Dehydration is a possible complication of weight loss surgery that could potentially become serious.

It may be difficult to consume enough fluid after bariatric surgery if you don’t drink consistently throughout the day. Sip slowly throughout the day to get the fluid your body needs.

Your medical team will likely recommend that you carry water with you throughout the day to get the necessary 64 ounces your body needs. This is particularly true if you are sweating during physical exercise.

Learn more about life after bariatric surgery by visiting the website for the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. Fill out a consultation form for more.

About UPMC Bariatric Services

UPMC Bariatric Services is here to help if you’re struggling with obesity and want to lose weight. We offer both surgical and nonsurgical weight loss plans and can help you find the right path for a weight-loss journey. We will work with you to discuss your needs and develop and individualized treatment plan. We meet the highest level of national accreditation for bariatric surgery centers, and our team provides complete care. We offer our services at UPMC locations throughout Pennsylvania and New York. Visit our website to find a provider near you.