swimmerAfter undergoing weight loss surgery, your body needs a break from strenuous activity. Relaxation is the name of the game, and taking good care of yourself  is your number one priority. However, after a week or so of recovery time, it will become important to start moving again to strengthen your body and prepare for the exercise regimens you will eventually adopt.

Starting an exercise regimen, particularly if recovery has been difficult or if you were not accustomed to exercise prior to surgery, can be an adjustment. The following low-impact exercises provide excellent, strengthening workouts without taxing your body.

1. Walking: That’s right, using your feet and legs to get from point A to point B is stress-free, relaxing, and an excellent way to get your body moving, increase your heart rate, and gently strengthen muscles. Over time, you can incorporate ankle or wrist weights or dumbells to increase your strength and cardiovascular fitness.

2. Swimming: Making a splash is a great, low-impact way to get cardio and strength-building benefits. Swimming not only revs your heart rate but tones your shoulders and legs and improves your lung function, all without putting pressure on your bones and joints.

3. Water aerobics: Love the water but sick of laps? Try the pike scull or encourage your fitness center’s aerobics teachers to host one class per week in the pool. Add an aerobic element to your swim time by joining a friend in the pool and tossing a beach ball. “Running” to catch it is a low-impact challenge!

4. Yoga: It’s relaxing. It’s spiritual. It tones your butt. For the purposes of this list, it’s also low-impact and boosts strength. Originally conceived in the East, yoga is not merely a of sequence of movements that tones the body but a way of life that includes healthful eating, positive thoughts, and gentleness with oneself. One yoga class could change your life, as well as provide strength-building and mind-soothing benefits.

5. Golf: Nobody’s expecting Tiger Woods here, but getting outside and walking the course and even swinging a golf club combines the benefits of all of the above exercises: walking, lifting light weight, and fluid movement. Plus, learning the rules of the game provides an intellectual and competitive element that makes it fun and engaging.

Getting up and moving after weight loss surgery need not strain your body. Quite the opposite; gentle movement, as found in walking or swimming or even yoga, can increase your circulation, heart rate, and muscle strength, all of which will support more strenuous exercise efforts in future and help to shape and tone your post-surgical body right now. Which will you try today?