Low-Impact Workouts for Bariatric Patients

Low-Impact Workouts for Bariatric Patients

Alex Brecher

Exercise after weight loss surgery can help with weight loss. It has tons of other benefits, too, such as improving mood, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, and supporting bone health. Low-impact workouts can be more appropriate than high-impact workouts after bariatric surgery because they are gentler on the joints. 

These are some low-impact workouts for bariatric patients that can burn calories, make you feel better, and keep you focused on your weight loss goals. Of course, always check with your healthcare provider before taking on any new workout challenge!

Getting Started

The ultimate goal may be to do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity on most days, but that is not a realistic starting place after weight loss surgery. Instead, just getting in a few minutes of light movement at a time can 

Your workouts can start as soon as your surgeon allows, which can be within hours or a day after your bariatric surgery procedure. Walking while you are still in the hospital can help the blood circulate and may even reduce the amount of pain you feel from the procedure.


Walking is still a great low-impact workout after you get home, plus it requires no equipment besides good shoes. Staying in your driveway or backyard until you feel more confident can let you move without putting too much pressure on yourself to go fast or worry about what the neighbors think. You can always work up to walks that are longer or more brisk, or that are on hills or using the incline feature of a treadmill.


Stationary cycling is safest, but regular bicycling can work too, provided that you are in a designated bike lane and have proper safety equipment and training. Bicycling can give your heart and legs quite a workout without much impact. Recumbent stationary bikes can be easiest for beginners to use, and upright cycles can give you a chance to get your heart and breathing rates way up.


Swimming can be a total-body workout without putting much stress on your joints. Different strokes work a variety of muscle groups and give you a good aerobic workout. If you have never mastered actual swimming or you want a change, water aerobics and similar workouts, such as aqua jogging and water zumba, can give you a fun and challenging low-impact workout.

More Workouts

As you progress, there are other low-impact workouts to consider. An elliptical machine lets you feel like you are running without pounding the pavement, while low-impact aerobics give you the benefits of group exercise and some agility training.

Proper Nutrition

Getting enough protein is critical after weight loss surgery, and a post-workout protein snack can help you meet your daily goals. A protein shake can be a delicious recovery treat to look forward to after a workout. Absorption is maximized in the first 60 minutes after you finish working out, so you might want to have your shake prepared before you start your workout. The BariatricPal Store has a wide range of quality products to support you on your journey every step of the way, and ensure that you're meeting and keeping your weight goals.

Working out after bariatric surgery can help you get to your goals, and there are plenty of low-impact workouts that keep injury risk low. From walking and cycling to swimming, you and your healthcare provider can develop an interesting and effective workout plan that can keep you on track as you recover from bariatric surgery.

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