How to Exercise After Bariatric Surgery

Share This Article

Exercise offers the benefits of strengthening your mind and body while helping you lose weight. Even if you are feeling strong within a few days after surgery, be kind to your body and slowly ramp up your return to normal activities and exercise. Check with your doctor for recommendations about when you can begin exercising.

Exercise After Bariatric Surgery: General Guidelines

If you’ve had a laparoscopic procedure, you can usually start exercising two weeks after surgery.

Follow these tips for a healthy recovery in the post-operative stage after surgery:

  • Plan on three to six weeks of non-rigorous activity.
  • Initial exercise after bariatric surgery should focus on flexibility, breathing, and normal activity, then building to include strength training and low-intensity aerobics for endurance.
  • Try to establish a routine of 30 minutes of gentle exercise, a minimum of two or three times each week.
  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for the first six weeks and, if you’ve had open surgery, avoid abdominal exercises for eight to 12 weeks.
  • It is extremely important to stay hydrated after surgery. Be sure to have water available to sip during physical activities.

Workouts After Weight Loss Surgery

We’ve updated an earlier post with some additional recommendations for exercise after bariatric surgery.


For your first exercise after bariatric surgery, try walking with a slow-to-moderate pace a few minutes each day, making sure you’re breathing deeply and staying relaxed as you walk. As your strength increases, add minutes and pick up your pace. Remember, your goal is to move for 30 minutes at least twice a week, but you should try to get up and move at least every two hours throughout the day.

fitness-girl-hands-374694Stretching and Yoga

Several stretches can be completed from a sitting position. Raise your arms up toward the ceiling with your hands interwoven, taking deep breaths. Reach your right arm over your head, stretching and bending to the left as your side muscles extend. Repeat with your left arm. Or raise both shoulders up toward your ears, then release. Within a few months after surgery, you can also try beginning yoga for more full-body stretching. These activities can be started about 2 weeks after your surgery.


Swimming is recommended after an appropriate amount of time after surgery, so check with your surgeon on your specific recommendations. Pool workouts after weight loss surgery is easier on your joints and can be relaxing. Walking in a pool, water aerobics and swimming are all encouraged to be completed as tolerated. You can still become dehydrated while partaking in water activities, so make sure you have water available.

Stationary Weights

While sitting, you can improve your strength with light weights (between two and five pounds). Extend your arms out to the side and lift the weights to shoulder height, and slowly bring your arms back to your sides. Try a few arm curls, bringing one arm at a time up to your chest your body and then back to your side. Switch to a standing position with your doctor’s okay. Don’t continue any exercise if you feel pain.

Indoor / Outdoor Cycling

When you reach 6 to 8 weeks after surgery, talk with your doctor about use a stationary bike bicycles-bikingor an outdoor bicycle. Both will provide moderate aerobic and endurance exercise. Be sure to start slowly and ride for short time periods until you build strength. If you’re riding a bike outdoors, try to find a route that is flat or with few hills.

Weight Loss Surgery in Oregon

Our team at Oregon Weight Loss Surgery is here to offer support throughout your journey to better health. Contact us with questions or concerns about workouts after weight loss surgery.

Share This Article