Exercise Following Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a big procedure physically, emotionally, socially and psychologically.


Sometimes we are solely focused on the end result and then face the challenge of the recovery and long-term behaviour changes required to reach the desired end result.

Bariatric procedures include Gastric Sleeves, Gastric Balloon, Gastric Bypass and Lap-Band surgeries. All procedures will bring different side effects in the short term which may include, but not limited to, nausea, vomiting, burping, post-operative pain, discomfort and dizziness. This is something to speak to your surgeon and GP about if you are concerned or if it is prolonged.

Sufficient nutrition and hydration is imperative post surgery especially if you are exercising. Your body is adjusting to modified needs and quantities and it is important you consult with a Australian Practicing Dietician in addition to a tailored exercise program.

Exercise is a critical component in long term outcomes for individuals who have undergone a bariatric procedure. Physical activity is one of the most important factors which predict sustainable change, desired outcomes and improved health status for individuals who have undergone a bariatric procedure.

How does exercise play a role?

  • Improved muscle strength and toning.
  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease (i.e diabetes, heart disease)
  • Increased metabolic rate.
  • Improved mood
  • Improved bone mineral density.
  • Correction to changes in centre of gravity, joint loading and basic biomechanics of functional movements (such as walking).


Why is it important?

Exercise can help to reduce the severity or avoid certain side effect relating to the procedure you have had. Regular physical activity can also be integral in helping you to create a routine post
operatively to kickstart the formation of new healthy habits and goal setting.

Individually tailored exercise will ensure safety and effectiveness in helping you progress towards your individual goals.

Where do I start?

  • Find a form of movement you enjoy. If you enjoy it you will look forward to and stick to it!
  • Enlist in the right support from appropriate qualified professionals such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
  • Start small and build on it from there!
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Find a buddy (friend, family member or neighbour) to join you or just to check in on how you are going.


From the time you decided you were going to have a bariatric procedure until now there are no-doubt many things you have learnt about your body, your health and your goals moving forward.

If there’s one more tip it would be that in making a change to your health for the better you have committed to making a valuable investment in your future health.

Regular and tailored exercise is the insurance policy that you can utilise to support your efforts and promote your progress towards your health and well-being goals!