Life's most extraordinary journeys often start with a single step. And when we think about our own bariatric journey, we had to take quite a few steps to make it to our surgery day! If you are post-op, you know that the real journey starts not on the day we have our procedure but every day after.
BariNation has three Pillars of Bariatric Success: Movement, Mindset, and Metabolic Wellness. If we can take action in each pillar every day, we will find more and more success before and after surgery. We often hear patients putting movement last on their “to-do” list because they think the only movement that matters are the regimented programs or an hour-long cardio session on a machine. This is simply not true; walking is one of the most powerful forms of movement we can perform, and it does not have to happen simultaneously to have massive holistic benefits. Walking is not a movement to discount, it is a movement to celebrate and participate in daily.
We encourage members to move every day; what we are challenging them to do is to move intentionally in ways that are accessible to them. You may not be ready for a Kettlebell routine or a Zumba class, but you can walk slowly for 5 minutes. AWESOME. We encourage you to walk for 5 minutes four times a day. If your mobility is limited, we encourage you to walk with assistance or with someone else who can help you stay stable on your feet. The movement that is right for you is the movement that is accessible and fun to you!
The power of walking goes far beyond just getting from point A to point B. Double-tie your walking shoes because we're about to embark on a fun and engaging journey to discover the incredible benefits of walking.
Boost Your Mood: The Happy Feet Effect
Ever notice how a leisurely walk in the park can turn a gloomy day into a cheerful one? That's because walking has a magical way of boosting your mood. When you walk, your brain releases endorphins, the "feel-good" hormones that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even symptoms of depression. It's like having a free and accessible happy pill at your doorstep! And when the bariatric life stresses us, the mental break from the worry helps us refocus on our Pillars!
Deeper Insights on the Move
Need to redesign a routine or figure out something that has been keeping you stuck? Lace-up your sneakers and hit the pavement! Walking has been proven to enhance creativity and problem-solving skills. The rhythmic motion of walking can stimulate your brain, encouraging fresh insights and innovative thinking. So, if you're ever feeling stuck, take a walk and let your creative juices flow!
Walking for a Stronger Body
Walking is a low-impact exercise that offers numerous health benefits without the need for expensive gym memberships or fancy equipment. Regular walking can help improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and even manage weight. It's the perfect exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. And recent medical studies have shown that walking 20 minutes a day at 2.5 miles per hour or faster can lower visceral fat levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve brain function. And we don't even have to do those 20 minutes simultaneously! Walking in 5-minute blocks has the same impact as walking for 20 minutes at a time!
Explore and Connect: Social Walking
Walking is a fantastic social activity. And we have never met a bariatric friend who has said no to an invitation to walk :) Grab a friend, family member, or even your furry companion, and take a walk together. It's a great way to catch up, bond, and strengthen relationships while enjoying the outdoors. You can also join walking groups or clubs in your community to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion for putting one foot before the other.
Mindfulness on the Move
Walking can be a form of meditation in motion. As you step into the rhythm of walking, you can let go of distractions, clear your mind, and practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your surroundings, the feel of the ground beneath your feet, and the sensation of the air on your skin. It's a peaceful way to connect with the present moment and reduce stress. This is a fantastic opportunity to answer those questions you have been asking yourself all day. “Why am I craving pizza? Am I really hungry or is it emotional hunger? Why am I so angry at eating so little food?” If these questions sound familiar, walking can be a wonderful opportunity to answer your questions!
The Gateway to Adventure
Walking can be your ticket to exciting adventures and discoveries. From exploring hidden gems in your neighborhood to embarking on epic hiking trails around the world, walking allows you to connect with nature, immerse yourself in new cultures, and make unforgettable memories.
Accessible and Affordable
Walking is an activity available to all of us, even in our homes. Walking is a free activity that doesn't require any new workout equipment. It can be done at any time of the day or night and in almost every place on the planet. Walking truly is a type of movement that is always available to us!
Ready to walk more? Listen to our latest podcast episode featuring Dr. Carl Pesta and Dr. Shannon McMann talking about the power of walking! Listen to it on your favorite podcast player or on our YouTube Channel! In this episode, Dr. McMann references a fantastic book that can help us all shift our thinking on walking! Check out her recommendation HERE!
Walking is more than just a way to get from point A to point B; it's a powerful tool we can use along our bariatric journey to improve our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Whether you walk for exercise, adventure, mindfulness, or simply to explore the world around you, every step you take brings you closer to a happier, healthier, and more connected life. So, lace up those sneakers, embrace the joy of walking, and become a better you today! LET’S MOVE!