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Healthy lifestyle choices

There are several long-term habits that you should adopt to get the most out of your surgery. The first post-operative year is a critical time that must be dedicated to changing old behaviours and forming new, lifelong habits. You need to take responsibility for staying in control. Lack of exercise, poorly balanced meals,  constant grazing and snacking, and drinking carbonated drinks are frequent causes of not achieving or maintaining weight loss.

To maintain a healthy weight and to prevent weight gain, you must develop and keep healthy eating habits. You will need to be aware of the volume of food that you can tolerate at one time and make healthy food choices to ensure maximum nutrition in minimum volume. A remarkable effect of weight loss surgery is the progressive change in attitudes towards eating. Patients begin to eat to live; they no longer live to eat.

Obesity cripples the body. As weight is lost, the burden on the bones, joints and vascular system is decreased. Given proper nutrition and physical motion it will rebuild its broken framework. The most effective way to heal the body is to exercise. People who exercise daily, successfully maintain their weight.

Following laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery, exercise is extremely important to help you lose weight and maintain that loss. You can generally resume higher impact exercise 6 weeks after the operation. Prior to this, you can take walks at a comfortable pace and progress at your own pace. Exercise improves your metabolism. Both regular exercise and attending a support group can boost your confidence and help you stay motivated.

A physiotherapist will see you while you are in hospital. They can give you initial advice regarding exercise. Your GP can give you information about exercise groups or programmes in your area. There is a lot of support around you; ultimately it is up to you to make use of it.

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Benefits of exercise

  • Improvement in heart and lung function.
  • Increased blood supply to muscles and ability to use oxygen.
  • Lower heart rate and blood pressure at any level of exercise (a measure of fitness).
  • Improved glucose tolerance and reduced insulin resistance.
  • Fat loss, increased energy and strength.
  • Improved mood and ability to cope with stress - reduced anxiety and depression.
  • Increased mental focus.
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis.

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Types of exercise to consider:


  • Daily walking programme.
  • Gym based exercise programme.
  • Swimming or water walking/aqua jogging.
  • Cycling or exercycling.
  • Tai Chi / Yoga / Pilates.
  • Physiotherapy home exercises.
  • Playing sport with family and friends.

It is important to build exercise into your daily routine. This way you are more likely to stick with it. A referral for a Green prescription prior to your surgery is recommended and can be organised by your Doctor. This prescription gives you access to Sports Bay of Plenty. This will give you support to be more physically active and to improve your health.

We encourage the use of a pedometer or Fitbit device to help with motivation and goal setting.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the physiotherapy department on (07) 579 8441 between 8am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

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Home exercise program

Try to do these exercises once a day.


Stand straight holding onto a support

Lift your leg sideways and bring it back keeping your trunk straight throughout the exercise. You may add resistance with a theraband or ankle weight.

Stand straight against a wall with your knees slightly bent.

Place a ball between your knees. Squeeze the ball between your knees as you gently mini squat down the wall.


Stand in front of a 20 - 40 cm step.

Step up with one leg leading, and then repeat with the other leg.


Stand facing a wall with your arms straight and your hands on the wall.

Do push-ups against the wall keeping your body in a straight line.


Stand or sit holding your hands on your chest with weights in your hands.

Briskly lift both arms up from your chest and slowly down.

  Tighten your stomach and lower back muscles to stabilize your lower spine and lift alternate arms up and down.

Sit or stand holding a hand weight.

Support the elbow of the arm to be exercised with the other hand.

Bend and straighten the elbow.



Crawling position. Hold a weight in one hand.

Lift the weight up to your armpit with elbow pointing towards the ceiling, then drop the arm down briskly.


Lying on the floor with knees bent and feet on the floor.

Lift your pelvis and lower back off the floor. Hold the position.

Lower down slowly returning to starting position.


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Last updated: August 29, 2018