FITT Principle: Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type
How many days each week should I exercise? Physical activity guidelines put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that we should exercise most days of the week to see the benefits. Try to exercise 4-5 days a week at least. As a bariatric patient, exercise should be a priority and part of your daily routine. You must fit in fitness!
How hard should you exercise? The exercise you choose should allow you to maintain that activity for the duration you have chosen. If you want to exercise longer you may have to decrease the intensity of what you are doing. How to rate your activity can be done by the “talk test” and the “RPE scale” rating of perceived exertion.
- The RPE scale is used to measure exercise intensity. The Rating of Perceived Exertion scale targets how short of breath you feel as well as how much fatigue you feel in your extremities. On a scale of 0 – 10 the American College of Sports Medicine suggests levels to be worked at should be a “2” being light exercise, up to a “4” being more strenuous. These levels can be your target for aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, swimming, etc.).
The Talk Test is probably the simplest way to measure your workout intensity. The goal is to work at a level where you can answer a question but not comfortably carry on a conversation. In other words, you are working out too hard if you have to take a breath between every word you say. You should be able to speak understandably and with mild to moderate effort.
Note: Work at an intensity that allows you to breathe comfortably during all phases of your workout. This will ensure a safe and comfortable level of exercise. If you are working too hard, lower the resistance level or slow down. If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness, you may be overexerting yourself and should slow down or stop.
How long should you exercise? Each exercise session should last 30 to 60 minutes per day most days of the week. Set aside a portion of your daily schedule to perform your walking program. One thing to consider is that smaller bouts of 10-15 minutes several times a day adds up. When walking, three sessions lasting 10 minutes each are just as beneficial as one 30-minute session.
What type of exercise should you be doing? The main type of exercise for bariatric patients right after surgery is cardiovascular or aerobic exercise with the focus on walking. A few other types of aerobic exercise including cycling, swimming, or water aerobics may offer variety and / or be used in case of orthopedic limitations such as knee, hip or low back pain.
As you progress in your fitness program, adding in strengthening exercises will be very beneficial to increase lean muscle. This type of exercise is also beneficial for improving your balance by strengthening muscles that support your joints. If you are unfamiliar with safe and appropriate strengthening exercises seek out a qualified exercise professional for proper instruction.
source: Mercy Bariatric Center – Jefferson Home Fitness Toolkit
Disclaimer: This information provided in this content is not intended to be professional training advice. The information provided is for educational purposes only. Always consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any exercise regimen. All exercises you perform are at your own responsibility and your own risk. Heart of America Bariatrics is not liable or responsible for any injuries incurred during or after performing any exercises included in this content.