Exercise doesn’t have to be scary.
If it’s been a while since your last workout, don’t worry. New Dimensions has exercise tips and plans for every kind of patient, no matter what kind of history you’ve had with exercise. We can also refer patients to established fitness institutions that specialize in bariatric patients. Make sure to speak with Dr. Sabowitz or our surgeons for specific tools and advice before starting an exercise routine, especially after surgery.
Exercise helps to:
- Increase energy
- Lower blood pressure
- Boost metabolism
- Tighten loose skin caused by weight loss
- Build muscle (which burns fat)
- Make you feel alive
- Delay the loss of function that comes with age
Step 1: Make a Plan
If you haven’t worked out in a while, you’ll want to start with a plan.
- Talk to your doctor about what you should be doing. Most of the time, he or she will recommend you start with 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Think about what kind of activities you might like to do. Do you like to dance? Want to do a walk to raise money for a charity event? Did you used to swim like a fish when you were a kid? Pick something that will keep you interested and enthusiastic.
- Think about what kind of environment you need. Would you rather do an exercise video in front of the TV, or have the support of a group or class? Do you need a trainer to tell you what to do? Do you like to be outside? Think about what kind of setting will give you the most motivation.
- Recruit a friend. Most things are easier if you have a buddy, including exercise.
Step 2: Get Moving
- Start by stretching. Stretching helps loosen up muscles and joints, making it more comfortable to exercise. It also keeps you from getting injured.
- Start small. If 30 minutes a day seems like too much, start with 15 minutes, broken up into 5 minute chunks, and gradually add 5 minutes a day.
- Make a muscle. Adding muscle mass will help you burn calories even when your body is at rest. You don’t have to be a body builder, but try to work some muscle-building activities into your routine.
- Know that you’ll have good days and bad days. Some days exercise just seems harder than others. Then the next time, we’ll feel like we could go for an hour. Know that these ups and downs are all part of the way your body is adjusting to weight loss and exercise.
- Find your groove. Studies have shown that people work out harder and longer when they listen to music! Make yourself a workout mix that will inspire you to keep moving.
- Stretch again. Stretching again after exercise can help you be less sore.
Step 3: Keep it Up
- Gradually increase your activity level. As your body gets comfortable with exercise, you’ll be able to do more.
- Challenge yourself, then reward yourself. Set a goal, such as doing a race, exercising for 5 days in a row or doing something you couldn’t do when you started. When you reach your goal, reward yourself with a new song for your workout mix or a new piece of exercise clothing.
- Change it up. After a while, you’ll probably get bored with your exercise routine. This is a great opportunity to try something new!
Need some exercise inspiration?
- Walk 10,000 steps a day
- Park farther from the door
- Go for a hike
- Take the stairs instead
- Swim like a fish
- Run down the street yelling “Zombies are coming!”
- Learn to salsa, tango or two-step
- Take a walk after lunch or dinner
- Join a boxing gym
- Have a dance party in the living room
- Try a yoga class or video
- Walk backward around the block
- Do a scavenger hunt
- Take a self-defense class
- Copy the dance moves from your favorite movies
- Do tai chi in the park
- See if your on-demand cable channels have any fun workouts
- Try aqua jogging
- Give geocaching a try