Effects of physical activity programmes in severe obesity before and after bariatric surgery: a current framework

Manuel Moya-Ramón, Inés Picó-Sirvent, Adolfo Aracil-Marco


Bariatric surgery is considered the gold-standard therapeutic intervention for severe obesity, a form of obesity that is steadily increasing in Western societies. However, surgery must be accompanied by interventions aimed at changing the patients’ lifestyle, with special emphasis on increasing their physical activity levels. The optimal characteristic of physical activity programmes for bariatric surgery patients are largely unknown. This review summarizes the main effects on body composition and physical condition of physical activity programmes developed, both in patients awaiting bariatric surgery or after surgery. Recent research shows that in addition to moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise (the form of exercise commonly recommended for this population), strength training may help to avoid the loss of fat-free mass associated to surgery and the extreme dietetic restrictions usually prescribed to these patients. However, heterogeneity in: a) study design; b) components of the physical activity programme; c) sample characteristics; d) outcomes measured; and e) time of recruitment, still limits the possibility of obtaining a clear picture of the effects of physical activity programmes in this population.

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