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    Weight Loss Exercise Guidelines

    The first weeks
    Start when you first get home by taking short walks several times a day, preferably outside. Increase the distance and pace of your walks each day, but expect to tire easily at first.

    Walking promotes wound healing, circulation, bowel function, weight loss and healthy heart and lungs. Exposure to fresh air and sunshine can help relieve depression, anxiety and food cravings. Do not engage in heavy exertion, bending or lifting anything over 10 pounds. If any activity or position causes pain around your incision, don't do it. Don't sit in one place for long periods without getting up and changing position because inactivity increases the risk of blood clots forming in your lower legs.

    If you are progressing as expected, you should be able to resume driving after two weeks and return to work two to three weeks after laparoscopic surgery or four to six weeks after open surgery. Consult your surgeon to determine when you may resume these activities.

    Adopt a regular exercise routine
    When your surgeon says you are ready, adopt a routine of regular exercise a minimum of 30 minutes at least four days a week. Studies of people who succeed in reaching their goals after gastric bypass surgery indicate that over 75 percent exercise regularly to help maintain weight loss. Not only does regular exercise burn calories, but it also helps you avoid becoming weak and losing muscle mass as your body loses fat.

    Effective exercise programs include walking, swimming, water exercise, low-impact aerobics or dance classes, biking, use of exercise cycles, treadmills and stair machines.

    In order to tone your muscles and maintain strength as you lose weight, engage in floor exercises such as abdominal crunches (starting eight weeks after surgery), leg lifts, weight lifting or yoga. Most people report that exercise becomes easier and more enjoyable as they lose weight and build endurance. Support group members can provide information about fitness clubs, walking groups and programs you can join.

    Mills-Peninsula exercise programs
    Mills-Peninsula offers a wide range of exercise options. You may purchase a consultation with our exercise physiologist, who will provide a fitness evaluation and an individualized exercise program.

    Memberships in the Fitness Center are available for a monthly fee. The Center features exercise machines, treadmills, weightlifting equipment, free weights and space for floor exercise.

    If you are interested in water exercise, Mills Health Center in San Mateo features a large, indoor pool and a variety of aqua fitness programs. Aquatic exercise specialists can design an individualized program for you.

    Exercise classes such as Ease Into Exercise, Water Ease, Aqua Lite and the supervised Walking Program are available at the Mills Health Center, and are highly recommended for those who are not accustomed to a regular exercise routine.