Key Messages

Mind-Body

I need to move to feel good, for both my mind and my body.

Finding Joy

Starting where I am and finding realistic, enjoyable ways to be physically active is key to my long-term health, weight loss, and pain reduction.

Surgery Preparation

Being able to walk for at least 15 minutes nonstop before my surgery is essential to a safe and successful recovery.

Importance of Movement Before Surgery, During Recovery, and After Surgery

You know that movement is important to stay healthy, but did you know that it can help you feel better right away?

Movement:

  • Boosts your mood
  • Sharpens your focus
  • Reduces your stress
  • Improves your sleep

It also plays an important role before surgery, during recovery, and long after.

Movement Before Surgery

Starting a regular physical activity routine that you enjoy before surgery can do three main things:

  • Help you lose weight, which makes your surgery safer
  • Increase rates of good surgery outcomes
  • Improve overall well-being

Being able to walk for at least 15 minutes nonstop before surgery is important and a marker for good surgery outcomes.

Movement During Recovery

Being physically active in the hours and days after your surgery is very important for two key reasons:

  • Reduces the risk of infections such as pneumonia
  • Prevents blood clots from forming in your legs, which can be life-threatening

While you are recovering in the hospital, your surgeon will recommend that you get up and walk as often as you can to help reduce the chance of blood clots in your legs (a life-threatening condition if clots travel to your lungs).

Movement After Surgery

Movement is key to losing weight after surgery and maintaining it long after. More importantly, physical activity is linked with long-term happiness because it improves overall health, which allows you to do more of the things you love.

To prevent weight gain and reduce disease risk factors, try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise/physical activity every week (about 30 minutes at least 5 days a week). However, the more physical activity you get (up to 250 to 300 minutes a week), the more weight you’ll lose.

Benefits of regular physical activity after surgery:

  • Less depression and anxiety
  • Better overall quality of life
  • Reduced disease risk
  • Less weight regain

Types of Movement

Physical Activity

What is it?

Physical activity is movement that’s part of your normal day. Examples are normal walking to and from places, gardening, chores at home, or leisure bike riding.

Why is it important?

  • Increases energy
  • Helps with weight loss and weight management
  • Improves mood
  • Decreases risk of heart disease and high blood pressure

How can I get more physical activity?

You have many chances to increase physical activity in your daily life. The key is to choose activities you’re likely to do and commit to doing them regularly.

Flexibility

What is it?

Flexibility is stretching the muscles and tendons of the body.

Why is it important?

  • Improves joint range of motion
  • Helps with stability and balance
  • Reduces muscle soreness and helps with tissue repair when done after exercise

Where to start

Try to stretch at least 2 to 3 days a week, targeting different muscle groups. You can do this after cardio or strength training. Hold each stretch to the point of tightness or slight discomfort for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 times (for a total of 60 seconds for each stretch).

Resistance Exercise (Strength Training)

What is it?

Resistance exercise enhances muscular fitness. It’s important after surgery because you will likely lose muscle mass as you lose weight. You can do it using free weights, resistance bands, weight machines, or even no equipment at all.

Why is it important?

  • Increases the rate at which your body burns fat (metabolic rate), which helps you lose weight and keep it off
  • Improves blood sugar levels and decreases insulin resistance
  • Increases energy
  • Improves mood
  • Improves blood pressure
  • Builds lean body mass
  • Increases bone mass and strengthens bones
  • Can reduce pain and disability from joint disease like osteoarthritis
  • Makes everyday tasks easier, like putting away groceries or climbing the stairs

Where to start

  • During your first week of resistance training, start with a small amount of resistance (like 2- to 3-pound weights, small water bottles, or soup cans). Make sure you can move it for about 15 to 20 reps before your muscles tire.
  • Work toward strength training at least twice a week. For a muscle group to recover well from training, it needs at least 48 to 72 hours of rest between sessions. Try to avoid doing strength training for the same muscle group two days in a row.

Cardiovascular Exercise (Cardio, Aerobics, Endurance)

What is it?

Cardiovascular exercise raises your heart rate.

Why is it important?

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Improves heart health (increases “good” HDL cholesterol)
  • Improves blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity
  • Increases energy
  • Improves mood
  • Burns fat and calories
  • Improves sleep

Where to start

Work up to getting 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise 5 days a week or more. The 30 minutes may be broken up into 10-minute segments.

Getting Started

First things thing first: All movement counts! You’ve probably heard about lots of different types of movement that you should be getting, and they are important. But it’s also important to start where you are, slowly build up, and find an active routine that you enjoy.

Getting started with fitting more movement into your life doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, even picking just one of these 6 ways to move more is a great start.

Check out a few tools that can help you get started with a physical activity routine that you enjoy today!

Exercise Videos:

Daily Lifestyle Log:

Weekly Planning:

Sleep

Key Message

Sleep

Good sleep habits are just as important for weight loss as eating healthy and staying active. For my safety, it’s important to identify and address any sleep problems I have before surgery.

Sleep has a major influence on your overall health, especially your weight. The amount of sleep you get can change the hormones in your body that drive you to eat more and/or choose less-healthy options. Treating sleep problems before surgery is very important. Starting and sticking with healthy sleep habits after surgery is important for long-term weight loss and overall health.

What do I need to know about sleep disorders before surgery?

The most common type of sleep disorder that many people have before surgery is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during the night. If you snore loudly, wake up at night, and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea.

Why do I need to treat sleep disorders before surgery?

Having untreated sleep apnea before surgery increases the risk of death during surgery recovery.

How can I get help for my sleep disorder?

The good news is that there are a lot of ways to treat sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, you must be actively treating and showing improvement before you’ll be able to have surgery. As part of your pre-surgery evaluation, you may have a sleep study, which will help find resources to treat the condition.

Healthy Sleep Habits Checklist

Looking for More Support?

Explore more resources offered by Kaiser Permanente to help support your physical activity and sleep, including sleep workshops, exercise videos, self-care apps, one-on-one coaching, and more.

Exercise Videos:

Center for Healthy Living:

Wellness Coaching by Phone:

Self-Care Apps: