Cardio for Weight Loss

It is crucial to exercise after weight loss surgery. Cardio is a form of exercise that can help promote weight loss if paired with a healthy diet. Here is some information to help better your knowledge of cardio.

Why Cardio?

It is important to improve your overall health and weight loss after bariatric surgery. Doctors will recommend a change in physical activity to help you achieve the goals you want. If paired with a proper diet, optimal weight loss can be achieved. Be sure to consult with your health professional before starting any rigorous exercise regiments. Most patients are allowed to begin working out three to six weeks after surgery.

Cardio is considered one of the ideal forms of exercise that promote weight loss and builds endurance. According to the Cleveland Clinic, cardio and other forms of physical exercise improves your overall health and promotes weight loss. Cardio provides extensive benefits to all parts of the body including brain, muscles, heart, and lungs. It also provides the body with a release of endorphins, which make you feel good and provides energy. 

It is important for patients to participate in cardio for 20 to 30 minutes every two to three days a week. Depending on your stage of recovery, it is best to start slow and work up your endurance to prevent any injuries. According to Bariatric Surgery Source, after the sixth week and with consultations with your doctor you will be able to intensify your regiment. Remember considering a diet when becoming more physically active. What you put into your body fuels your performance during your workouts.

Types of Cardio

It is important to know the choices you have when starting cardio after surgery. You can’t start running up mountains just yet. Baby steps for now until you are given the okay from your health professional to do more. Here we compiled a list of low-intensity levels of cardio that can help you get started.


Slow and steady wins the race. At the second to the third week of the recovery stage, you are allowed to walk as a form of exercise. Remember your body is still recovering and is not ready to start anything too crazy. According to Ramsay Health Care UK, it is strongly encouraged to start building a routine of physical activity for your body to get used to. Walking 10 minutes a day for two to three times a day can meet the criteria set by doctors and nutritionists to help start the weight loss.


Depending on the stage of recovery, most patients take to biking as a fun form of exercise. This form of cardio also works out all other major muscle groups as you pedal. According to Better Health Channel, cycling is also a low pact form of physical activity. Meaning you can cut the chance of physical injury, as long as you know how to ride a bike. This is also great for the beginning stage of cardio intensity. It can be used to slowly develop the level of endurance. Other benefits of cycling include improved joint mobility, improved posture, and decreased body fat levels. It is something enjoyable for the kids as well, biking as a family can strengthen the family ties.


After you’ve been given the permission to by doctors, swimming is another form of low-intensity cardio that can help. Remember to make sure that your doctor approves of this physical activity and that all wounds are healed before jumping into the deep end. According to the Huffington Post, swimming is particularly beneficial for seniors and those with arthritis who are looking to work out their bodies. It is also considered a great form of resistance training which help build strength and support muscle growth. It also helps increase lung capacity.

Low-Intensity and High intense intervals

Once you’ve passed the sixth-week point of recovery and have been given the permission from doctors you can increase the intensity of your workouts. You can begin to lift weights, jog, run and maybe even participate in Zumba. The most legitimate option if you don’t possess the best endurance is to begin to establish it through interval training. You will alternate low-intensity cardio with brief bursts of high-intensity cardio. For example, if you are speed walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes, two minutes out of the 10 you will increase the speed and jog or run. You will then lower the speed down back to where you were at before after completing the set time. This allows your heart rate to speed up which promotes weight loss.

Why is it exercise important? 

Exercise, especially cardio is essential for the promotion of weight loss. Exercise in general also brings further health benefits to the body besides weight loss. It can boost your metabolism, diminish your risks of cancer and lower the risk of heart disease. Exercise has even used as a form of stress relief. This promotes a healthy lifestyle and prevents emotional eating. Instead of finding yourself at the nearest drive-through, going to the gym instead will make you feel better. 

Participating in physical activity can also help you sleep, control blood sugar, and decreases the chances of erectile dysfunction in men. It has been said to also enhance the arousal for women. Doctors highly recommend participation in at least 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week to promote healthy weight loss.


There are often common misconceptions about cardio that everyone should look out for. Here we found some myths about this ideal form of exercise. 

Just Cardio 

There is a common misconception that just cardio will aid you in losing weight. While it is true it promotes weight loss, it also can make you lose muscle mass as well. Most people who participate in cardio as a form of exercise will also pair it with other strength building workouts as well. Lifting weights, squats, and lunges are other strength building exercises used to retain muscle mass on the legs and arms during a workout. Be cautious at the number of weights you try pushing, start light and slowly add on more weight as you go along.

Taking nutritional supplements after a work out a great way to retain muscle mass. Protein supplements and protein shakes help support and prevent muscle loss after a workout.

Check out some of our bariatric friendly products.

I can eat anything.

Not true especially after bariatric surgery. You will have to stick to a strict diet after surgery to ensure you do not gain the weight back. Exercise is not enough to keep the pounds off and often you will have to watch what you eat. Providing the proper nutrients for your body cannot be found in a greasy burger or processed foods. Ensuring the proper meal plan with daily exercise will help you lose the weight and keep it off.

Check out our choice of meal plans that can help you lose weight and keep it off. 

I can only do cardio at the gym.

You don’t need a gym membership to exercise. Running, jogging, and walking in your own neighborhood is the best way to build endurance. If you live near a beach or have a pool, going for a dip can also help provide you with the cardio you need. While gyms do have the fancy machines that can track your calories lost and your pace, you can do it yourself with fitness tracking apps or with a Fitbit.

Working out on an empty stomach.

This is a dangerous way to try and lose weight. Skipping a meal before a workout can lower your blood sugar drastically and may even cause you to pass out. Your body is like a car and a car cannot run if you have no fuel. Your fuel is food. The right food that is. Always eat something light and healthy before a workout and have a protein shake after as a post-workout snack. 

If it hurts it works. 

Please remember that being a bariatric patient you have to move slowly due to your healing process. If something ever feels too painful or uncomfortable it is okay to stop for a few minutes. Do not push yourself until you know you can do it. If you were sore from a workout the previous day, do not work out the same muscle again. After each workout you should give your muscles a chance to repair itself and build, it is recommended to give a 24-hour recovery time.

Sports Drinks 

As cool as those commercials look, stick to water and avoid sports drinks. Your newly constructed stomach and smaller and more sensitive to added sugars and sodium that are in a sports drink. Drink plenty of water during exercise to prevent dehydration.


When it comes to cardio and exercise in general, one has to have the proper motivation in order to reach their goals. Remember you are choosing this change in pace to improve your overall health. Raising your cardio, endurance, and yourself up from nothing is going to be hard. But you have to find the proper motivation to keep you going. When exercise seems too much of a hassle, try changing your view on it. Make working out into a game with family and friends to make it seem less like a chore and more like something you enjoy. Re-evaluate your goals and lifestyle to help you better yourself. Once you’ve established your weight loss goal, tell yourself every day that you can and you will meet it.