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Exercise For Life

Coastal Center for Obesity - Exercise for Life

Program Development: Matthew Rice, CSCS, NSCA-CPT

Forgotten Benefits of Exercise

  1. Reduces appetite
  2. Reduces high blood pressure
  3. Reduces the development of heart disease
  4. Reduces risk for colon and other cancers
  5. Reduces depression and anxiety
  6. Reduces stress
  7. Helps improve and maintain tone of all connective tissue to include muscle and skin
  8. Improves balance and independent living
  9. Improves digestion
  10. Improves self-esteem
  11. Improves flexibility
  12. Improves energy levels
  13. Improves sleep
  14. Improves sexual satisfaction
  15. Improves overall quality of life

Still not sold on exercising? Research has clearly proved that those patients who choose to maintain a moderate exercise program after surgery not only lost more weight, but at a slightly quicker pace.


If you are a “couch potato” this term should no longer be considered cute. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have begun to equate the absence of exercise as a health risk for heart disease in the same category as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cigarette smoking. The Surgeon General has added to this effort by stressing the importance of physical activity by stating that a sedentary lifestyle “is hazardous to your health.” You must realize that your sedentary lifestyle has become a serious health problem that must be dealt with. You must take responsibility for yourself, for all that you are and all that you can become. We must make time for physical activity. This translates into making physical activity a priority and scheduling it as any other important event, such as a business meeting. This will require planning and preparation, but no matter how proper the preparation or how enduring the motivation; we cannot add a new activity to our life without taking something else out.

My Final Sales Pitch! My Best Offer
  1. Fully open your right or left fist
  2. Then for one full minute make a very tight fist then open it as many times as you can
  3. Count how many times you can perform this activity in one minute

Is your hand sore, tired or numb? Imagine your hand being your blood pumping heart beating at 70 beats per minute. If that does not give your hand a workout, then relate it with how your heart beats at least 70 times per minute twenty-four hours of the day. That would be clinching your fist over 100,000 times a day. What does this mean to you? Exercise strengthens the heart, and over time with conditioning, it reduces the number of beats per minute, per day.

Whose heart muscle will most likely wear out quicker, a fit individual with a resting heart rate of 50 beats per minute or the average person’s heart beating at 70 beats per minute? This would be equivalent to 28,000 more heart beats per day for the unfit person. Adding insult to injury: the average severely obese individual has a resting heart rate of around 100 beats per minute or 144,000 beats per day.

Setting the Stage for a Successful Exercise Prescription

If you have been inactive for many years, it is likely that you are not ready to leap into an exercise program. Therefore, it makes more sense to identify your benefits that go along with starting an exercise program and then plan your course.

List your benefits for starting an exercise program:

1. ________________________________________________________________

2. ________________________________________________________________

3. ________________________________________________________________

4. ________________________________________________________________

Although there are many benefits to physical activity, list two benefits that are most important to you? (Be specific)

1. ________________________________________________________________

2. ________________________________________________________________

There are many roadblocks that can interfere with physical activity. Before you begin a program, check the following roadblocks that may interfere with your program.

I cannot find the time
I do not enjoy exercising
I am too overweight
Exercise is boring
I am too tired to exercise
No place to exercise
I am afraid of failing
Nobody to exercise with
Bad weather (too hot or too cold)
I never see improvement
Unsure of what to do

List the two biggest roadblocks that keep you from wanting to exercise.

1. ________________________________________________________________

2. ________________________________________________________________

The above roadblocks are only roadblocks. You must figure out ways to get around them, and having the answer before you start is the sign of an intelligent exerciser.

Roadblock #1 ____________________________________________________

Solution: ________________________________________________________




Roadblock #2 ____________________________________________________

Solution: ________________________________________________________




You are Now Ready For Developing Your Personalized Exercise Prescription

When an exercise prescription is developed for you, it should include your current level of activity and fitness level. In addition, it will consist of the following principle. It is call the FITT principle and represents the following.

F = Frequency of exercise, how many times or days per week
I = Intensity or how hard must the exercise be to obtain results
T = Time or how long should each exercise session last
T = Type or mode of physical activity, i.e. walking

F = Frequency

It has been determined that exercising on most or all days of the week will provide you with the greatest benefits. You should strive for at least a minimum, 4 days each week.

I = Intensity

This is the level at which you exercise to obtain benefits. The ideal exercise plan is individualized and begins with a lower level of effort, working your way up gradually. One of the best ways to gauge your level of intensity is by measuring your heart rate. In order to do this you must learn to find your heart rate or pulse.

Putting the numbers all together for your training heart rate!

For most bariatric surgery patients the following formula is ideal.

* Estimate maximum heart rate is equal to 220 minus (-) your age (_____) = (______)

Example: a 20-year-old person would have an estimated maximum heart rate of 200 beats per minute.

· Now let’s set up your exercise intensity workout by filling in the following blanks. (if you are currently taking beta-blockers or any other medication that slows your heart rate down, you must obtain advise from your physician.)

0.6 x _______(est. max heart rate)_______beats per minute (lowest level of workout benefit)

0.7 x _______(est. max heart rate)_______beats per minute (moderate level of workout benefit)

0.8 x _______(est. max heart rate)_______beats per minute (higher level of workout benefit)

T = Time

This means how long is the duration of exercise. New exercise guidelines have established that your program does not have to be all in one session, but that you can accumulate your time. This means the recommended 30 minutes on most days of the week can be done throughout the day. For example, you could do three (3) ten (10) minute exercise sessions throughout the day. Although this is the ideal, those who are not quite able to accomplish the above should do the best they can and slowly work up to these recommendations.

T = Type

There are multiple activities that can be preformed which increase our heart rate and strengthen our cardiovascular system. Post-operatively for a least the first month, walking should be your activity of choice. Although walking is probably the best exercise, there are many options

*Swimming (once your surgeon approves)
*Bicycling / Lifecycle
*Golf (without a cart)
*Mopping or scrubbing floors
*Gardening / mowing
*Tennis (doubles)
*Aerobic dance
*Cardio-kick boxing
*Race walking
Just to name a few.

Your Personalized Plan

F = Frequency of exercise, how many times or days per week (5)
I = Intensity or how hard must the exercise be to obtain results (60% to 80% Est. max heart rate)
T = Time or how long should each exercise session last (5 – 40 minutes)
T = Type or mode of physical activity, i.e. walking (Walking)

Initiating Your Exercise Prescription

Exercise has five physiological training effects. Exercise builds cardiovascular endurance, strengthens muscles, increases stabilization of the abdominal muscles, increases flexibility and burns calories. There are two basic energy systems trained, the aerobic energy system and the anaerobic energy system. For now you will focus only on aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise, with oxygen, can be defined as any exercise that increases the heart rate for long periods of time. Such exercises performed to achieve this goal are walking, stair climbing, stationary cycling, rowing, swimming and circuit training.

Following surgery you should begin to walk only, but before you dash out the door for your walk, don’t omit an important aspect of proficient exercise program – warm up. Just as you need to prepare your automobile’s engine for a trip (your heart is your engine); prepare it the same way. Always warm up before you begin your exercise. Ease into the activity with a few minutes of easy level activity such as walking or stationary bicycling. Your purpose is to slowly increase heart rate to your training level, warm the muscles and help prevent injuries. If this sounds more like a workout than a warm up for you, that is all right. Begin with something easier, like slowly marching in place with your knee-lifts. You could then add some should rotations going forward and back-wards. By performing these movements with your larger muscle groups, you will stimulate the blood flow throughout your body and prepare your muscles for action.