Weight Management

Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery and Exercise
Obesity is a prevalent and concerning health issue in Australia and other Western Countries. Obesity is often associated with adverse health outcomes and co-morbidities such as Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM), metabolic diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Bariatric surgery is a safe and effective option to manage obesity, resulting in profound weight loss and improvements in metabolic health. However, surgery alone does not always result in long term success and weight management. Exercise therapy in conjunction with bariatric surgery provides further improvements in metabolic health and T2DM remission compared to surgery and weight loss alone.

The physiological and psychological benefits of exercise are well reported. It has been shown to be a feasible and clinically effective therapy alongside bariatric surgery. Exercise can improve fat oxidation, increase metabolic rate, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase bone mass. All important factors for lifelong management and reducing health risk post bariatric surgery.

The pre-operative phase is a pivotal stage to begin your exercise journey. Exercise pre-operation has shown to improve surgical outcomes, reduce surgical risks and enhance your post-operative conditioning and recovery. Improving your cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass during this stage is key. By introducing exercise into this phase, you can start making healthy habits for lifelong change and better adherence post-operation.

Depending on your surgical outcome and recovery you may be able to exercise soon after your surgery. Education and a tailored plan for safe return to exercise can be provided by our Accredited Exercise Physiologists. Guidance around and understanding how to build exercise capacity and safe progressive loading post-operation is important to reduce risk of burnout, injury or even lack of motivation. Our Exercise Physiologists are here to guide you at each stage and appropriately progress your exercise to suit your needs and capacity.

By increasing your cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass you can enhance your weight loss and further reduce your adverse health risk. Fat oxidation and the shift in body composition to lower levels of fat free mass and higher levels of muscle mass is a key factor for the longevity of weight loss success. By increasing muscle mass, you kickstart your ‘metabolic motor’. What does this mean? Muscle mass requires a lot of energy; therefore, your metabolic rate (metabolism) will be higher just to maintain your muscle mass. This overall helps keep fat mass low, along with a healthy and nutritious diet.

One side-effect from bariatric surgery is a detrimental decline in bone mass and mineral metabolism. The proposed mechanism for this is multifactorial, however links can be made from de-loading of the bones due to weight loss and post-operative recovery, calciotropic hormones or even gut hormones. A decrease in bone mass can increase risk of fractures and increase risk of osteopenia and/or osteoporosis. Impact and load bearing exercise can help maintain bone mass and even rebuild bone mass to counter this effect and reduce osteoporosis risk.

Avoiding Rebound
Building healthy lifestyle routines through education and movement can greatly reduce your risk of rebound. Consistent exercise can help to maintain a healthy body composition and is a critical factor for the long-term management of weight loss maintenance after bariatric surgery. Lower levels of fat mass and increased levels of muscles mass, along with a healthy diet can manage T2DM and help maintain a state of remission from T2DM. Exercise has a profound benefit both physically and psychologically. Regular exercise has proven to have a significant and positive impact on mental health, self-confidence, and motivation.

All great reasons to kickstart your exercise journey for lifelong weight-loss maintenance and improving health outcomes.

Contact our Accredited Exercise Physiologists today for more information.

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