Bariatric or weight loss surgery is a great tool for losing weight. This can benefit you if you’re obese and have not found any success with any of the conventional weight loss methods. However, this procedure does not work like magic. You can’t just walk away after it and expect to be your ideal weight without doing anything.

The team at Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons in Knoxville stresses that most people who had long-term weight loss success after weight loss surgery committed themselves to the necessary lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise After Weight Loss Surgery

Exercising after weight loss surgery has the following benefits:

  1. It helps you lose more weight and keep it off after surgery.
    In one study, it shows that bariatric surgery patients who exercised saw a drop in their BMI compared to those who didn’t.

  2. It makes you feel good.
    Exercise as a mood enhancer has long been proven. This can benefit you after surgery especially that life after it may seem confusing and at times, may feel isolating.

    Physical activities like exercise release endorphins (also known as the ‘feel-good’ hormones). When you feel better about yourself, the more you can focus on the things you can do to push through with this journey.

  3. It empowers you.
    You will be surprised as to how much you can improve physically if you exercise regularly. There are people who went from barely getting to a mile to running their first marathon after sticking to a good exercise routine.

The Right Way to Exercise After Surgery

If you don’t have complications after surgery, the following may be recommended to you:

First 4 Weeks After Surgery

It’s important to start slow especially for the first four weeks after surgery. At this stage, we recommend flexibility exercises, deep breathing, and slowly getting yourself back in performing your normal day-to-day activities. 

Exercises that you can do at this stage include arm rotations, shoulder rolls, hamstring stretches, and walking.

1-2 Months After Surgery

As you continue to heal and build more strength, you can start doing moderate cardio exercises. Water activities are great as they’re gentler on your joints than running.

Aim to work out for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. However, it’s still important to listen to your body. You’re overdoing it when you can barely talk while working out. You should still be able to talk comfortably while exercising.

In your 6th week after bariatric surgery, you can start incorporating strength training in your exercise routine. Squats and lunges are great to do after bariatric.

When doing strength training, it’s still important to listen to your body. If you feel a sharp pain, chest pressure, or extreme shortness of breath, then stop.

If you have access or resources to hire a fitness trainer who has experience working with bariatric patients, then that would be great! A certified fitness professional can provide you with the guidance that you need especially if exercising is very new to you.

Our team at Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons in Knoxville, TN, can guide you on the dos and don’ts of exercise after your bariatric surgery. 

If you are a prospective weight loss surgery patient, we advise you to attend our FREE informational series. These series are designed to help you make a more informed choice. Call (865) 541-4500 to register for an upcoming seminar or register online at


Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is affiliated with Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery, a member of Covenant Health. Foothills is also part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics.