5 WLS Exercises to Help You Torch Fat & Feel Your Best

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, and owner of Level Up Bariatrics, LLC, a bariatric lifestyle coaching program that provides pre and post-op support for weight loss surgery patients. Learn more on Instagram (@level_up_bariatrics).

If you have undergone weight loss surgery, you’re probably aware that a healthy diet and regular exercise are crucial to long-term weight management. However, exercise plays a particularly important role in supporting a healthy metabolism after WLS, which can help you maintain your weight loss and overall health. Exercise specifically helps with increasing muscle mass, which helps to burn fat, improve metabolism, maintain bone density, protect aging bones, and more. You may be wondering what types of exercise might be most beneficial for you after WLS, especially if you’ve never exercised... In this blog post, we will explore some of the best exercises you can do to support a healthy metabolism post-WLS.

1) Weight training. Want the best results for your time investment post-WLS? Start prioritizing resistance training! This type of exercise is crucial to focus on once you're cleared post-op. Although it's ideal to start a routine before surgery, it's never too late to begin. By adding weight training to your fitness regimen, you'll preserve your muscle mass during rapid weight loss and prevent your body from using it as fuel. So start your resistance training routine today because it's the ultimate game-changer for building muscle mass, revving up your metabolism, burning calories, and maintaining a healthy weight in the long run.

2) Cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is a great way to burn calories and increase your heart rate, which can improve circulation and cardiovascular health. Running, cycling, swimming, and any other form of moderate to high-intensity cardio can be beneficial as it will give your metabolism a boost and help you burn fat. Aim for cardiovascular exercise daily (or at least thirty minutes, five days per week), to support your WLS tool!

3) High-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT workouts are intense, short bursts of exercise that focus on rapid bursts of high-intensity activity followed by brief recovery periods. The intensity and effectiveness of HIIT make it a great way to support a healthy metabolism and burn calories. In addition, HIIT workouts can be tailored to individual fitness levels and can be done almost anywhere, making it a great option for those post-WLS. HIIT exercises usually incorporate both cardiovascular and strength training, allowing you to get both types of exercise in shorter amounts of time for equal benefit. This is the ultimate example of “work smarter, not harder.”

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4) Yoga. While yoga is often associated more with relaxation and stress reduction, it can also help you maintain a healthy metabolism after WLS. Yoga movements and poses can help improve circulation and breathing, which can help you stay energized and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, yoga can help you build flexibility, coordination, and balance, which can help you avoid injury while pursuing other forms of exercise. Of course, there are various types of yoga and some may focus more on strengthening movements versus relaxation. I recommend incorporating various yoga practices into a routine to improve mindset and strength.

5) Dancing. Dancing is an enjoyable way to exercise and improve your metabolic performance — not to mention it helps with stress relief because it’s fun and releases stored tension. Forms of dancing include Zumba, Hip Hop, Salsa, or anything else that incorporates various movements that require significant muscle exertion. Overall, dancing is a great way to burn calories while having fun! You can start by following videos online (or on your smart TV), or find a group fitness class in your local gym. Don’t forget to check out dance classes in the water if you need a more gentle form of exercise due to mobility issues, joint pain, or if you just want a different experience!

In conclusion, staying active and maintaining a healthy exercise regimen is an integral part of any WLS patient’s weight management journey. Incorporating a combination of resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, high-intensity interval training, yoga, and dancing can help you stay motivated and engaged while promoting long-term health and healthy metabolic performance. Need accountability? Start with a trainer to learn what’s best for you and your fitness level. Or begin in your living room to start experimenting with what you like! Anything counts as long as you’re making the effort to do it.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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