One of the most important things you can do for your heart, your health, and your weight is be physically active. Exercise can help us feel better, get stronger, improve muscle tone and balance, improve sleep habits, improve weight, and even improve mental function. But, the hard part can be fitting it into your lifestyle in a way that you can easily do. Many patients who have had gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or adjustable lap band surgery may not have had exercise routines ingrained in their lifestyle before their bariatric surgery. However, in order to maximize success after bariatric surgery, exercise is key.
We have compiled a list of 5 ways to help you make exercise a habit.
Mark it on your calendar. Set an alarm on your phone. Do not make other plans for that time. Treat it like an appointment. Do not cancel your exercise appointment unless it’s for a good enough reason to cancel a doctor’s appointment. Your health is worth it.
Find what works for you
Many health professionals recommend exercising first thing in the morning after waking and before taking a shower. Wake up a little early to fit it in before the kids wake up if you need to. Another good time is after work. Take a change of clothes with you and exercise before you get home and settle into your nightly routine. It may even help you choose your dinner more wisely.
Meet a buddy
Make your exercise time your socializing time. Find a friend with similar health goals and fitness level. Meet at a mutually good location and time. Having someone to be responsible to makes you more likely to show up consistently and exercise. You also get the benefit of encouraging each other during the workout. If it feels more like time spent with a friend, the more likely you will be to enjoy it. You may even want to do it more often than you planned if you make it fun.
Identify how your body is changing
It may be that your muscles hurt less, you can exercise a few minutes longer without getting winded, your energy level is increasing, you can run for longer, you feel better, you look better, your blood pressure is lower, your blood sugar level is improved, or that you are sleeping better. These are all benefits of exercise and signs of progress. You may not hit your weight goal right away or even soon, but noticing other signs of improvement can keep you going and keep you wanting more.
When you’ve reached your first goal (which could be the number of times you’ve exercised, or how far you can run without stopping, walking 10,000 steps consistently, or hitting your first target weight), reward yourself. But not with food. Do something positive that makes you feel good. It could be buying new music, getting your nails done, getting a new exercise DVD, or new shoes. Whatever motivates you. Then, set a new goal!
This list of ways to make exercise a habit is offered by the staff of Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in affordable adjustable lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass surgeries. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric weight loss practice is located in Boca Raton, Florida and serves patients from all over South Florida including Coral Springs, Delray Beach, Miami, Wellington, Naples, and Fort Lauderdale. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric patients often ask about ways to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle.