WLS Post-Ops—Beginning a Lifetime Exercise Habit: Part 3 of 3
by guest blogger and author Dagny Kight
Ready to start exercising after weight loss surgery? Got clearance from your surgeon? OK, time for a plan. Hold on! Don’t rush out to a gym! For most folks who have WLS, it’s probably been awhile since you got any significant physical activity. Maybe you’ve never really exercised at all. That’s OK. I’ve created a Three-Part Plan for getting started with effective exercise.
1. Develop a regular habit.
This is the challenge of getting started! Even if you begin with a minute of exercise, doing something every day at the same time each day is the best way to establish that critical habit. Saying they’ll make time during the day is how most people find their plans fall apart. Pick a time of day that works for your schedule and stick with it. I highly recommend going for first thing in the morning! If you don’t already have to get up before dawn, get up a little earlier, have your clothes and equipment laid out from the night before, and kick start your day! Even if you’re only able to do a minimal workout at first, prepare as if you’re putting in a full session. Those details will be integral to establishing the routine.
2. Connect with your body.
A lot of us who live many years at a high weight become disconnected from our physical presence. Becoming aware of your body and connecting with how it responds can be a powerful component of your overall transformation. A heart rate strap will not only give you a quantifiable means of learning how your body is functioning, it will guide you to gauge the intensity of your workouts.
If exercising has previously felt like a chore or worse, an ordeal, simply exhausting yourself or feeling reminded of your physical limitations, connecting with the beating of your heart and the rhythm of your breathing will allow you to put the focus on improving your fitness. Using a heart rate strap lets you see improvement by the numbers. You’ll feel the changes and you’ll be able to track quantifiable proof it’s happening and that’s so exciting!
Connecting with your body will begin to influence how you feel about your physical self. It gets really difficult to hate your body when you experience improvements and feel your ability expanding!
3. Challenge yourself.
You achieve results when you continually push your limits. Whether you start with thirty seconds or thirty minutes of physical activity, tracking your heart rate will guide you to identify how to challenge yourself. Working with a heart rate strap, you’ll be able to see how quickly your heartbeat pops up with exertion and then recovers to a normal pace. You can make note of your heart rate when you reach the point that your body and breathing are telling you to stop. As time goes by, you’ll feel your breathing become deep and rhythmic and you’ll see proof in the numbers, confirming that you are achieving an improvement in your cardiovascular efficiency!
So how should you begin an exercise regimen? Any way you can! For my clients who have not exercised in a long time or for those who wish to keep it simple and develop a sense of physical confidence, I start them with a High Step. This is an inexpensive piece of equipment with a small footprint. Place it anywhere in your home where you want to step and adjust the height. Then just step! Step forward, step backward, go side to side, add a little jump, modify your speed to do intervals, add a riser—The High Step lets you mix it up while getting your heart pumpin’! You could even place it next to something sturdy to hold for balance if you need to, at first.
A High Step and a heart rate strap represent a minimal investment to start building a regular exercise habit aimed at conditioning your heart. Once you’ve developed a sense of physical confidence and feel connected to how your body is changing, I hope you’ll want to be adventurous! Get out of the house to walk, get a bicycle, play a sport, jump in a pool, or give a gym membership a try if you think you’ll make the time to go consistently. I highly recommend that you choose a locally-owned independent gym where the trainers are less likely to be pushed to sell class packages. Be sure to ask about any trainer’s certification. NASM is the top certification required by the best gyms; ACE is popular among trainers who lead exercise classes. If you’re interested in trying kettlebells, get the proper instruction from a trainer certified by RKC or IKFF.
Powerful Hunger by Dagny Kight
Visit the Equipment & Tools page at PowerfulHunger.com to find well-priced heart rate straps and the High Step.
BOOK BONUS for Diva Taunia Friends & Fans! Download an excerpt from the book, Powerful Hunger, to get detailed information about baselining your heart rate to begin an exercise regimen.