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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lazy-Dazy Summer Making You Soft?
Time To Get Moving

I am considering my present physical activity and state of health and I'm not happy with where I am. I'm a little out of shape compared to a few months ago and that means one thing: Time to kick-up the effort for exercise. In the summer it's easy for me to lose perspective and think outdoor activity is enough to keep me in shape. Unfortunately this summer my outdoor activity seems to be more sitting in the shade visiting rather than actively moving my body. So for myself and for others in the same lazy-dazy-summer-boat here's a previous article on why exercise is so important for LivingAfterWLS.

Myth: Gastric Bypass Patients Don't Need to Exercise to Lose Weight
By Kaye Bailey

Nothing is more disappointing than hearing a gastric bypass patient brag that they didn’t have to exercise to lose weight. It’s true; patients will lose weight without lifting a finger. In fact, for many, the lack of physical effort required to lose weight is an appealing part of weight loss surgery. But patients who do not use the time of rapid weight loss to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle are doing themselves a grave disservice.

Obesity cripples the body. Bone tissues are compromised, joints are swollen, the vascular system is inadequate and the skeleton overburdened. Some morbidly obese people are so crippled from carrying excess weight they are confined to wheelchairs and scooters. They yearn to walk painlessly through a park or museum. When pre-operative patients imagine life after weight loss surgery I suspect there is no wheelchair, scooter or walking stick in that dream. Patients dream of mobility and strength in their bodies.

As weight is lost, the burden on the bones, joints and vascular system is decreased. And the body is a magnificent machine – given proper nutrition and physical motion it will rebuild its broken framework. The systems will become strong and vital.

The most effective way to heal the body from the ravages of obesity is to exercise.

Patients don’t have to jump up from the surgical bed and run a marathon; in fact, they never have to run. But they have to move their body: walk, stretch, bend, inhale and exhale. Patients who want to take full advantage of weight loss surgery must engage in daily physical exercise.

Exercise, however defined, is the most effective, most enjoyable, most beneficial gift one can bestow on themselves while recovering from life threatening, crippling morbid obesity. Patients who initiate an exercise regimen quickly after surgery report long-term success at weight. Exercisers seldom report weight regain.

There has never been a better time to become fit. Exercise philosophy has changed. Gone are the days of “make it burn” and “no pain, no gain.” Exercise experts say move your body 30 minutes a day, and the benefits will resonate throughout your being. Injuries are down and exhaustion isn’t the objective. Consistency is all that’s required. Fitness is no longer considered an exact science – we are given permission to find what works and enjoy it. Incorporate cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training into the exercise program: the three work in combination to help you become healthy, agile and maintain metabolism.

If quality of life is to be preserved – or restored – exercise is required. The body was designed to require a certain minimum level of physical activity. When physical activity is absent obesity results. Our bodies do not thrive when they are sedentary. It is therefore crucial to deliberately incorporate movement into our lives.

More than any other time in your life, following surgery the body is ready to respond to the benefits of physical motion. Surgery is the first step to better health and controlling obesity by restricting food intake. Following surgery is the golden opportunity to muster all the discipline possible and take a stand for a healthier, happier, longer and more productive life. Patients must exercise more than we have in the past and more than is convenient.

I implore patients, “Do not make the mistake of delaying your exercise program until the weight is gone. If you fail to exercise during the phase of rapid weight loss your skin will sag, your energy will lag and your metabolism will slow. Weight loss will be more difficult to accomplish. You will miss an opportunity to feel good about yourself as you set realistic fitness goals and achieve them. You will miss the euphoria from oxygenated cells. You will betray yourself.”

Copyright © 2005 Kaye Bailey - All Rights Reserved.
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Kim said...

Well isn't this just the gosh darned truth. In the beginning, I started my exercise program by doing 3 minutes, 10 times a day in the hospital...right after surgery. That was my workout for the four days that I stayed in the hospital. When I came home, I increased it to 5 minutes, 6 times a day. I kept adjusting the times, always getting 30 minutes in each and every day. Now, almost two years later, my workout is one hour or more of walking every day, circuit training 30 minutes three days a week, stationary bike 20 minutes three times a week and daily yoga for 20 to 40 minutes. This is a huge amount of exercise and I would have crumbled into a million pieces if I was told in the beginning that I would have to commit to this program for the rest of my life. Now, if I miss an activity, I really miss it! Who knew? I'm one pound from goal and feel stronger than ever. If you feel yourself slipping, or making excuses...realize what is happening. Understand that excuses will not make your heart beat stronger or fill your lungs with healing oxygen. Feel good about yourself and enjoy your workout!

Hummingbird1964 said...

I loved the article! I feel fortunate that I started exercising as soon as I was physically able after the WLS. I'm convinced that regular exercise is the only way I'll be able to stay at this healthy weight. When I lose motivation and don't run for a few days or a week, I get this vision of the old heavy girl coming back. I look at every mile I log as distance between me and her. I don't ever want her to catch up with me again!

For all the benefits mentioned in the article, I don't agree with the comment that lack of exercise will cause the skin to sag. For most of us who are/were morbidly obese and over 30 there will be loose skin after a large weight getting around it. The only solution to that is surgery.

Kaye Bailey said...

Thanks Kim & Hummingbird for your great comments. I love to hear from WLS patients who have embraced exercise as part of your new life.

Hummingbird, you are correct about sagging loose skin after massive weight loss. Age does play a significant role in how well the skin will tighten and in many cases the only fix is surgery.

In the case where surgery is the option to correct loose skin it is desireable to have toned fit muscle beneath for the best result. An in the case without surgery even loose skin looks better when it's lying over toned muscle.

Thanks for the comments.