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Bariatric Surgery and Yoga

Bariatric Surgery and Yoga
Bariatric Surgery and Yoga

Two activities critical to the successful bariatric surgery patient after surgery are diet and exercise. Consistent exercise for bariatric surgery patients leads to greater weight loss success. Studies have shown that exercise is the single best behavioral predictor of weight loss post-surgery.

For the bariatric surgery patient though, exercise can be the most difficult post-surgery lifestyle change. It can be especially difficult to find the motivation after a long day at work or a rough week.

Because it is gentle and low-impact in nature, yoga is an ideal activity after gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery. But, just like with any other exercise regimen, you should check with your doctor before beginning and start off slow in order to reduce your risk of injury.  With a measured approach, you can take advantage of yoga’s benefits without pushing your body too hard.

It may seem like you need to be flexible and have great balance before even trying yoga, but the poses can be modified to fit your needs and your level of experience.  Eventually, though, you will become more flexible.  It is important to also familiarize yourself with various types of yoga including:

Hot yoga or bikram yoga which incorporates heat in yoga (it is very important to hydrate well)
Kundalini Yoga (Incorporates breathing or prana as well as working your core)
Hatha Yoga (More traditional with series of postures)
Vinyasa Yoga (Focused on the flow of various sequence of postures)
Restorative Yoga (Yoga which uses the assistance of props)

Benefits of exercise in the bariatric patient are not just physical.  Mental health improvements can be seen as well.  These benefits come from improved appearance and self image as well as increased concentration and libido. Yoga incorporates deep breathing, which can be of tremendous benefit when it comes to relaxation.  Many practitioners improve their concentration, mood and stress levels, largely due to the impact of yoga on hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

Yoga can also be helpful for people with heart disease.  Yoga lowers blood pressure and slows the heart rate.  Additionally it provides benefits for those with asthma, arthritis, back pain and insomnia.

Dr. Shillingford incorporates education as a vital element to post bariatric surgery success.  He encourages wellness programs including an exercise program which balances both cardio and toning exercises.  In addition, Dr. Kothari is a great proponent of yoga in helping her patients achieve their mental health goals as well.