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Does Walking Burn Off Belly Fat?

Let’s get right to it, walking is a great exercise for anyone, at any age, with just about any ailment. The exercise guidelines that we as a practice provide, include a significant amount of walking, which will start immediately after the surgical procedure. In fact, while you’re still in the hospital recovering, you will be encouraged to get up and walk around the hospital floor to get blood moving. This helps avoid blood clots and minimizes the risk of infection.

View of sneakers walking down road with desert background walking to lose belly fat. VIPSurg logo in top right.

This walking will continue in the early recovery stage once you are home. You will be asked to walk progressively further each day. This will increase your mobility, help your medium-term recovery and ultimately kickstart you are postoperative exercise plan.

But some patients are concerned that longer-term, walking will not be sufficient to get rid of the fat that they had surgery to eliminate. This is not necessarily true. First, a lot depends on how far you intend to walk. Once you are fully recovered and able to perform normal activities, you will be able to walk quite a bit. The longer the walk and the brisker the walk, the more belly fat you will be able to burn. Walking for about an hour can burn between 200 and 400 calories depending on your weight and pace. If you consumption remains the same, this can lead to a half a pound of weight loss, or more, each week.

But isn’t running better to melt off the fat?

To be sure, running will burn more than walking – about 25% more over the same distance. However, running comes with some potential pitfalls. For patients who have just had surgery, running may place undue strain on knees and ankles that have already been weakened by years or decades of obesity. Especially those who may be suffering from osteoarthritis, should not run until they have lost a significant amount of weight and their bariatric surgeon or orthopedic surgeon have cleared them to do so.

Running also can be concerning if you do not have proper form or if you are not running with appropriate shoes. If you intend to start a running regimen and you have been cleared by your medical team, it is important to visit a running specialist who can help you improve your form and find running shoes that are appropriate.

Possibly most concerning about running is the fact that we may enjoy it a little bit too much. Why? As we begin achieving bigger and better goals, we tend to overdo it. This may mean not resting enough between running sessions or ramping up too quickly. Either can cause injury which can sideline you for weeks with shin splints, sprained ankles, torn ligaments or tendons.

We are here for you and can help guide you on the appropriate post-operative exercises including walking and running.

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