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Cardio vs. weightlifting: What’s better for weight loss?

February 10, 2022

After your Lap-Band® surgery, exercise will become an important component of your weight-loss journey.   The most important aspect to losing weight is the assistance from the Lap-Band to help limit your food intake and promote your feeling of fullness, healthy eating, and controlled portions.  However, exercise can help build muscle and maintain your level of weight loss. In addition, regular exercise can offer plenty of other health benefits, including improving cardiac health, lung capacity, and even reducing the need for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. 

All that said, especially if you’re new to working out, developing an exercise routine can be difficult. For those post-surgery, a common question is the type of exercise they should be focus on to assist in their weight-loss journey: cardio or weightlifting?

Cardio improves your health after bariatric surgery

Cardiovascular activities, like running, biking, swimming, walking, and climbing, burn a high number of calories. When compared to weightlifting for the same time commitment, cardio will burn more calories during your exercise session. In combination with healthy food choices, cardiovascular exercise is especially helpful for those trying to lose weight—the more you weigh, the more calories you burn during cardio. 

Cardio also has several additional health benefits, which can help reduce or prevent obesity-related comorbidities. These benefits include improving your hearth health, lowering your blood pressure, and boosting your immune system. Because cardio forces your lungs to work harder to provide oxygen, it also strengthens your respiratory function. 

High-intensity interval training 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of workout that alternates periods of intense exercise with periods of rest. By ramping up the intensity of your workout for a short time, HIIT workouts can help you burn the same number of calories as traditional cardio in a shorter amount of time. This makes HIIT ideal for Lap-Band patients who lead busy schedules and want to squeeze in a workout whenever they can.

Weightlifting helps build muscle after weight-loss surgery

Strength training activities, also called weight training or resistance training, might include free weights or weight machines. Weight training may burn fewer calories during your workout, but it has a few distinct benefits. In tandem with protein-providing foods, weightlifting helps change your body composition, decreasing fat and increasing muscle. While the Lap-Band Program results in a lower likelihood of loose skin due to gradual weight loss, strength training can help further fill out loose skin.

Building muscle increases your resting metabolism and your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you burn by performing basic vital functions. While cardio burns more calories during the workout, strength training also causes you to continue burning caloriesafter you stop working out.

Like cardio, weight training also helps improve your hearth health by lowering your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Additionally, the temporary pressure during weightlifting helps you build stronger bones. This increased bone strength, along with a higher level of muscle, lowers your risk of dangerous falls and injury, both in everyday life and during exercise.

Cardio and weightlifting after your Lap-Band procedure

So, what’s better for improving your health and assisting with weight loss after your Lap-Band procedure, cardio or weightlifting? 

Depending on your overall goals, you should incorporate cardio and strength training activities into your workout routine to reap the benefits of both. Not only can both help you lose weight, but they can help you make essential improvements to your overall health. 

However, note that exercise is just one component of healthy, sustainable, and successful weight loss. Healthy eating, portion control, sleep, hydration, and multiple other factors play an even more important role, as does your aftercare immediately after your procedure. 

The Lap-Band Program isn’t just about the procedure—it’s also about providing support after the surgery. The Lap-Band Program offers a comprehensive aftercare program, providing the resources you need to develop an exercise routine that can help you meet your health goals post-surgery.

Learn more about the Lap-Band Program, or find a surgeon in your area.

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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.