Many people are tempted to overlook strength training after having weight loss surgery. After all, if the goal of working out is to burn calories, it would seem the most effective workouts would be aerobic activities like walking, swimming or cycling. Besides, pumping iron is what you do to pack on muscle weight, not lose excess fat, right?
After weight loss surgery, some people make the mistake of viewing strength training in this way. The reality is that skipping out on the weight room will cause you to miss out on many health benefits. Strong muscles are the basis of a healthy, physically fit body. Strength training can help you avoid injuries and enhance your weight loss efforts among other health benefits.
Not convinced enough to pick up the barbell? Here are a few ways that strength training is good for your health after Lap Band surgery:
- Fight bone and muscle loss. After puberty, your body naturally begins to lose bone and muscle mass at the rate of about one percent per year. Strength training can prevent and even reverse that trend. Transitioning to a healthier, fitter body means more than just losing body fat—you need to build up lean muscle mass to keep your body strong, and strength training can help with that.
- Improve balance and coordination. Strength training reduces the risk of falling by as much as 40 percent in those who have poor flexibility and balance. As you build your muscle strength, you’ll find yourself more capable of performing physically-demanding activities.
- Burn even more calories. Building muscle won’t just burn calories as you’re lifting weights—calorie burning continues even after the workout is over. Muscles burn more calories than fat and require constant fuel to grow and recharge, meaning they’ll continue to burn a few calories even as you rest. Though the caloric effect of strength training is relatively minor, it can make a difference when combined with an aerobic workout.
Before heading to the gym to lift some weights, talk with your bariatric surgeon to make sure you are ready for the intensity of strength training. Most weight loss surgery patients can begin basic resistance training with dumbbells, weight bands and gym machines within six months following surgery.