During the first few weeks after the surgery you will lose weight rapidly because of the reduced calorie intake as you eat less food. Due to this, your body will naturally seek for energy from your muscles. This means that with weight loss you will also lose muscle mass which leads to organ and body function impairment. Physical activity increases your muscle mass, so your body will gradually shift from using the muscle depotand start using the fat storage instead. Therefore, exercise is necessary to preserve the lean body mass and reduce fat mass even after the surgery has already been done.
After returning home from the hospital, start slow and gradually increase your physical activity. Walk around the house, do some light household works, use of stairs is also encouraged. Walking is one of the best exercises for overweight people, as it loads the joints minimally, so the risk of joint pain and damageis low. You can start walking 10 min a day, rest when necessary and gradually increase the walking time and distance. Tracking your progress with a pedometer or an app on your smart phone can be motivating too. So the first couple of weeks should befocused on getting back into performing your normal daily activities.
From two to four weeks after the procedure, if your doctor says it is fine, you may start or continue your exercise program. Also start gradually, choose physical activities that you enjoy as you will be more likely to stick to them. This includes walking, swimming, dancing, bicycling, yoga, etc. Swimming is suitable for people with joint problems. You can start to swim when all wounds have completely healed, usually after 2-3 weeks. To lower the risk of developing a hernia, all strenuous activity should be avoided for three to six weeks following the surgery. This includes lifting anything heavier than 10kg, doing push or pull motions such as vacuuming, or housework with raised arm. Also you should avoid any contact sports at this time. To conclude, maintenance of the reached weight is done by sticking to the changed lifestyle.
The increase and recovery of physical and social activity is individual. Usually after the gastric bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy you will not be able to go to work for some time depending on the type of work. Generally,it is two weeks for an office job and up to 4-6 weeks for a more physically demanding workplace. If you are not taking any medication that alters your driving ability, you should be able to drive in two weeks after the surgery.
It is important to note that you may resume sexual activity when you feel physically and emotionally stable. For young parents it is important to remember that lifting and playing with their kids might be a more strenuous activity than expected. It may cause some unintended adverse effects if done incautiously duringthe first weeks after the surgery. Even though physical activity individually determines social integration, it should be encouraged as it helps to adapt to the changes after the procedure.