DALLAS—Nicole Calhoun weighed 315 pounds before she had weight loss surgery three years ago and got down to 265 but that was it. Recently she heard about a post bariatric exercise study at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
She signed up--but found even the qualification test to be difficult.
Dr. Meena Shah was the lead researcher with help from UT Southwestern associate professor Dr. Peter Snell.
Dr. Shah and Dr. Snell followed 33 volunteers--some in an exercise group--others in a control group.
After 12 weeks all lost about 10 pounds--but the exercise group increased cardiovascular fitness by 10%.
"Well, you just can't rely on the surgery to do it for you," Dr. Snell said. "You also have to increase your energy expenditure; I think that is the bottom line."
Dr. Shah, who is also a professor at Texas Christian University, said the goal was to simply find out if bariatric patients could exercise vigorously.
"We only looked at that they can actually do this much exercise," Dr. Shah said. "The next thing we'd like to look at is once they start exercising this much can it actually help them to maintain that weight loss."
Nicole and others in the exercise group were able to burn 2,000 calories a week--that's about an hour of exercise five days a week.
Researchers were surprised to find that the volunteers after exercise step count went up from 5,000 to nearly 10,000. Nicole said has newfound spring in her step.
"I noticed it wasn't so hard to walk up the stairs at work," Nicole said. "I actually wanted to walk up the stairs instead of the elevator."
Nicole lost 20 pounds during the 12 week study--and is a case study that not only can post bariatric patients exercise vigorously--they will.
"It's really neat, a lot of people think I'm a lot smaller than I really am but I'm still 185," Nicole said. "I'm very happy at 185."