Post-Surgery Weight Regain: Physical Activity

sharma-obesity-exercise1Apart from nutritional, hormonal and mental health factors, our systematic review of the literature, published in Obesity Surgery, also identified the importance of physical activity in supporting post-surgical weight-loss maintenance.

Thus, inadequate physical activity was identified as a contributing factor for weight regain in a survey of 100 obese
patients post-RYGB. Patients who performed physical exercise on a regular basis (three or four times per week, 30 min minimum) showed the lowest weight regain.

One of the potential benefits of bariatric surgery is that it allows patients to become more active by reducing physical disability. On the other hand, biochemical studies have shown that efficiency of skeletal muscle increases as patients lose
weight, requiring a greater intensity of exercise the more weight the individual hopes to keep off. This remains a problem for many patients, as rather than increasing the intensity of exercise, regular physical activity levels tend to drop off over time.

Despite the importance of regular physical activity, it is seldom enough to compensate for excess caloric intake. Thus, even in inactive individuals who fail to lose or tend to regain weight, it is probably of greater importance to monitor and control excessive caloric intake than hope to balance this though excessive physical activity.

Importantly, as many successful post-bariatric patients are still well in the “obese” range, the risk of musculoskeletal injury remains high and it is therefore probably best to focus on non-weight bearing low-impact exercises.

Camrose, AB
Karmali S, Brar B, Shi X, Sharma AM, de Gara C, & Birch DW (2013). Weight Recidivism Post-Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review. Obesity surgery PMID: 23996349