The first time you walk, all we want you to do is a quarter of a mile. And again, you should be walking with a friend and you should have checked with your doctor. Most cities are built with eight blocks to the mile, so this would be one block out, and one block back.

We want you to walk one quarter of a mile the first day, rest a day, then two days of walking a quarter of a mile, followed by a day off. Essentially your walking prescription will be walk one day, rest one day, walk two days, rest one day, and repeat. After a week of doing this walk, you need to increase by a quarter of a mile. This may not seem like much, but remember—our goal, ten weeks after you start this program is to get you to walk four miles a day, four times a week, and to walk it in just under an hour.

11/4 mileRest1/4 mile1/4 mileRest1/4 mile1/2 mile
2Rest1/2 mileRest1/2 mile1/2 mileRest3/4 miles
33/4 milesRest3/4 milesRest3/4 miles1 mileRest

There—you can fill in the rest—you get the idea—a nice easy weekly pace.

There are a few things you need to do first—again, check with your doctor, and learn how to check your pulse, or get a pulse checking gizmo. Next, after you have walked half way, check your pulse, and if you have not reached your target, then you need to pick up the pace. Check your pulse again when you have completed your walk (sometimes you will need to check it more often—but again, consult with your doctor). Ten minutes after you have finished your walk your heart rate should have decreased and you should be able to catch your breath.

Warm up and Cool Down

Before you start your walk, you need to stretch. Here is where the physical therapist can help you with some simple stretching and breathing exercises. You need to get just a bit warmed up before you go marching off through the mall. When you are finished walking, you need to cool down a bit. Don’t just plop in a chair and looked dazed—cool down by slowing down to a gentle walk—go check out the men’s clothing store to buy a Dr. Simpson t-shirt. Warm up—cool down.

Contact your physician if you notice any of the following:

  1. Chest pain after or during your workout. This might indicate some heart trouble.
  2. Lightheadedness
  3. Heart rate which decreases during your workout
  4. Joint pain

But doctor, my joints hurt

Water aerobics are a great workout and is gentle on the joints. An exercise bike is great. You can put it in your living room or den (or wherever you want to put it), where it doesn’t rain or get too hot. I had a Nordic-trac once; it was a great place to hang clothes. The key to using a piece of exercise equipment is to workout with a buddy or a group. So, instead of spending the money on some home equipment, join a gym. If you live near a city, go to the mall and walk. Many malls open a couple of hours before the stores do just so people can walk and exercise. Also, you will meet a lot of interesting people there getting their laps in before the stores open. There is always some place to workout.

If you cannot workout, then you probably cannot, or should not, have weight loss surgery. There are some notable exceptions to this, but again—if your doctor gives you an excuse, then share it with your weight loss surgeon. It will help him or her decide if you really are a good candidate for weight loss surgery or not, and if so, which type of bariatric surgery you should have. Weight loss surgery is major stress to your body, more so than any walking or exercise program, and if you cannot take the stress of walking or some other exercise, then you cannot, or should not, have weight loss surgery.

What you should expect from working out

  1. Your heart rate should increase during the workout and then return to normal within ten minutes.
  2. You should feel some fatigue and soreness in your muscles, which will improve over the next day or two.
  3. You should feel a sense of “accomplishment” or improvement as the weeks go by.

Exercise will make you feel better. Many weight loss surgery patients find that once they start exercising, they enjoy doing it and they enjoy the results. You will find that your clothes fit better, and you have more stamina to do things you enjoy (yes, those things too).