Exercise Is Not a Four Letter Word. Exercise is one of the four common traits (protein, portion, water, walk) of patients who get to their goal. It is difficult to consider exercise when you have a lot of excess weight. Now that you have had surgery it is time to begin an exercise program. Stuck on a plateau for the last few years? Walking is the fastest way to get the calories into the lost column.


Walking is the simplest of all exercises. Walking around your office at work during the day does not count. If you think you walk a lot during the day, purchase a pedometer and see how many steps you take. Again, if you do not measure it, you cannot manage it. The pedometer is a great feedback mechanism to see how you do on a daily basis. Charting your steps and watching the scale provides feedback that will be worth the effort.

The time you are walking provides you free time to think, allows your weight loss to proceed much faster, helps your bowels move better, and will give you an overall feeling of good health. Okay, initially you won’t always feel so great. In fact, the worst part of exercise is thinking about it. Once you do it, you actually feel better.

The goal is to increase walking until you are walking four miles in one hour and doing that four times a week. This is not a leisurely walk, this is a paced program, a fast walk that burns calories.

Before You Start:

First, talk to your doctor. Not just your weight loss surgeon, but also your primary care doc -tor or your cardiologist. Do not start without doing this. You doctor, or the nurse, will also show you how to take your own pulse because during this time you will need to monitor your pulse rate. Your doctor may even have some target goals for you. You will want to check your pulse because, as you become more conditioned, your pulse rate will decrease.

How to check your pulse

  1. First use the pads of your finger tips to check your pulse—use your second or third finger, not your thumb or your index finger.
  2. Feel the pulse on your wrist—with your palm up, feel the wrist just below the thumb. Also check your carotid pulse on your neck. DO NOT RUB YOUR NECK where your pulse is—just palpate it.
  3. You need a watch so you can count the beats for six seconds if you are walking or thirty seconds if you are resting.
  4. Count for six seconds then multiply the number by ten. Or count for thirty seconds then multiply the number by two.

Number of beats _________x 10 = _________pulse

Number of beats _________x 2 = __________ pulse


Target Heart Rate

220 – ________ (age in years) = _________________maximum heart rate

Maximum heart rate x 0.6 = __________ target heart rate

Your heart rate should not exceed 220 minus your age in years, so if you are 40 years old your maximum heart rate should be 180 beats per minute. Your heart rate should reach about 60 to 80 percent of the maximum. (For example, if you are 40 years old, then we want your heart rate to be 110 and 140 beats per minute). You should go over this with your doctor because some people will have different goals, and some medicines will affect the heart rate (beta blockers like propranolol). You should also visit a physical therapist. They not only can help you get started on a program, but can show you some simple things to do that will prevent injury. The best time to prevent injury is before your walk—by stretching properly—and after your walk, the cooling down phase.

One simple rule is that if you cannot talk, then you need to rest and catch your breath.

Check your pulse during your walk. You can learn to do from a nurse or your physical therapist. There are various watches that will do this for you, but the simplest way is to feel your pulse and count it for ten seconds and multiply by six.

Some Lap-band patients give themselves a reward as they lose weight by going shopping

If you are going to start this program, reward yourself by purchasing the right stuff for your walk. Start with a good pair of walking shoes. Almost any foot store or athletic foot store will help you with this. Shoes are critical. The last thing you want is a pair of shoes that won’t support you or don’t fit well. If you have a pair of shoes that work for you, great. But if you find that you develop blisters after walking, it is time to consider a new pair of walking shoes.

The only acceptable excuse for skipping your exercise is one from your physician. The key is to find a place to walk that is fun. Shopping malls are fun because they are air conditioned, and you can window shop for new clothes as your sizes change. Walking is just that, it is walking—it isn’t wandering, it isn’t a slow saunter, it is walking at a nice brisk pace.

Next, you need a walking buddy. Having someone go with you helps motivate you on days when you just don’t want to do it. In fact, it is best to get a few people together to walk. The more the merrier. Consider it a part of your new support group.