Bariatric Surgery Statistics and Facts to Know

It’s hard to miss. Seventy-three percent of American adults are overweight with a body mass index (BMI) over 25. And forty-two percent of adults have obesity – a BMI over 30.

It’s clear people are trying to lose weight – each year, 33 billion dollars are spent on weight-loss products. People often lose significant amounts of weight with diet and exercise. However, it is rare to keep the weight off – the odds are less than 3%. What’s going on? There is a disconnect somewhere.

Even while eating a modest number of calories, the body’s powerful mechanisms cause it to return to its set-point weight. It’s discouraging. Time, energy, and money are invested into what seems to be a solid nutrition plan, exercise program, or medication. There are results. But then, leptin (the satisfaction hormone) decreases, and ghrelin (the hunger hormone) increases. The person is powerless as the scale creeps upward – often past the starting weight.

Obesity isn’t as simple as carrying around extra weight. It is a complex metabolic disease – stressing and straining every system in the body. As time passes, obesity-related conditions crop up, health deteriorates, and quality of life decreases.

There is an answer and an effective treatment for obesity – bariatric surgery. In contrast to diet and exercise alone, bariatric surgery causes a change in hormones, reducing hunger and promoting fat loss. It typically results in long-term weight loss. (2)

If you’re considering bariatric or weight loss surgery, you have questions. Here are some bariatric surgery statistics and facts to know as you look into options for treating and resolving your obesity.

How Many People Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Over 250,000 people had bariatric surgery in 2021. (1)

How Much Weight Can I Lose With Bariatric Surgery?

Success after weight loss surgery is defined as losing at least 50% of excess weight and keeping it off for five years or more. About 90% of people reach that goal. Many people lose more. The amount of weight that is lost and kept off depends on several factors:

  •   Age
  •   Amount of extra weight to lose
  •   Other health conditions and medications
  •   Type of bariatric surgery
  •   Physical ability to exercise
  •   Following nutrition/lifestyle recommendations
  •   Support of family and friends

Weight Regain After Weight Loss Surgery

Even those most successful with weight loss surgery can experience some weight regain. Weight loss surgery overcomes the robust systems the body has to return to its higher set point. But, after surgery, many things have not changed. Jobs are still sedentary. Fast food is still convenient. Large sums of money are spent to market obesity-promoting foods, while virtually no money is spent promoting lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits. A high priority on health must stay in place to overcome daily temptations. In simple terms, maintaining a healthy weight takes work.

Up to 1/3 of people will regain more than 15% of their initial weight loss within 2-5 years of surgery. (5) This can happen for several reasons:

  •  Change in anatomy – enlargement of the stomach or stomach outlet
  •  Physiological – altered fat metabolism resulting in easy fat storage and reduced fat burning
  •   Psychological – depression, lack of self-efficacy, binge eating, alcohol or drug dependence
  •   Behavioral – inactivity, not following eating guidelines, grazing (unplanned and repetitive eating of small amounts of food)

To prevent regain, stay in close contact with your bariatric team after surgery. At Barix Clinics, follow up appointments are scheduled with the surgeon (or physician’s assistant) and the nutritionist 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months and then annually after surgery.  We help you put behaviors in place that support a healthy weight for the long-term.

If you do start to regain weight, reach out to your nutritionist and your surgeon’s office right away. We are here to help. You may be a candidate for weight loss medication or benefit from more structured nutrition guidance.

Does Weight Loss Surgery Help People Live Longer?

Yes, it’s estimated that people without type 2 diabetes will live 5.1 years longer with weight loss surgery. Those with Type 2 diabetes increase their life expectancy even more – by 9.3 years. Both gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery provide this astounding result. (3)

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe?

On its website, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery shares that weight loss surgery is safer than gallbladder or knee replacement surgery. There are short-term and long-term risks from any surgical procedure. To determine if your individual benefits outweigh potential risks, attend a consultation with a bariatric surgeon and discuss with your primary care physician.

As a result of a long-term commitment to patient safety, Barix Clinics in Ypsilanti, Michigan, has earned the CareChex® 2022 Patient Safety Award for bariatric surgery, recognizing them as the safest hospital in the Midwest. State-of-the-art technology, experienced surgeons, and decades of caring for weight loss surgery patients set Barix Clinics apart from other providers.

Is Type 2 Diabetes Cured with Weight Loss Surgery?

In the first few weeks after surgery, 90% of people with type 2 diabetes see improvements in blood sugar control and are able to reduce or eliminate medications.

Although many people have normal blood sugar levels and no longer require medication, weight loss surgery isn’t necessarily a cure for type 2 diabetes. Perhaps remission is a better description because there is the potential for relapse over time.

Even if it’s not a cure, bariatric surgery is more effective in treating type 2 diabetes than medication. Researchers of one study stated, “Bariatric surgery is believed to be the only reliable means of achieving diabetes remission.” (4)

Do Other Health Conditions Improve with Weight Loss Surgery?

Effectively treating obesity with weight loss surgery brings about remarkable improvements in many weight-related conditions.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Within six months of surgery, more than 70% of those taking medication to control high blood pressure have normal blood pressure readings without medication.

Heart Disease

There’s an 83% lower risk of heart disease after weight loss surgery. It’s no wonder since bariatric surgery improves many of the conditions that lead to heart disease:

  •   High cholesterol – 80% resolved
  •   High blood pressure – 70% resolved
  •   Sleep apnea – 74-98% resolved
  •   Type 2 diabetes – 90% improved

Breathing Problems

Shortness of breath, experienced by many with obesity, improves quickly with weight loss seen in the first months following surgery. Sleep apnea, where breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping, is resolved in 74-98% of people. Asthma is improved or resolved in 82% of people. Oxygen once again circulates freely through the body, boosting energy, helping to replace worn-out cells, and supporting the immune system.

Aches and Pains

Relief to the aches and pains of the hips, knees, feet, and lower back is swift. It often begins the first month after surgery as inflammation cools and then more relief comes with additional weight loss. It’s tremendous – each pound of weight loss takes six pounds of pressure off the knees. With less pain, there is a greater inclination to get out and enjoy life more.

Other Medical Conditions

Those undergoing bariatric surgery see marked improvements in other medical conditions:

  •   Pseudotumor cerebri – 96% resolved
  •   Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease – 90% improved stenosis
  •   Metabolic Syndrome – 80% resolved
  •   Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – 79 -100% resolved
  •   Venous Stasis Disease – 95% resolved
  •   Gout – 77% resolved
  •   Depression – 55% resolved
  •   Degenerative Joint Disease – 41-76% resolved
  •   Migraines – 57% resolved
  •   Stress urinary incontinence – 44-88% resolved

Does Insurance Pay for Bariatric Surgery?  

Insurance coverage is a necessary consideration for most people. Fortunately, many commercial insurance plans, Medicare, Blue Cross, and BlueCare Network, will cover bariatric surgery if specific criteria are met. The majority of insurers require:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 without an obesity-related condition**
  • A BMI of 35 or greater with an obesity-related condition
  • Past attempts at weight loss
  • Pass a physiological exam
  • Some insurers may require smoking cessation
  • Some insurers require you to work with a physician to change eating habits before surgery
  • Some insurers require a nutritional evaluation with a registered dietitian

**Medicare requires everyone to have an obesity-related condition (comorbidity) regardless of BMI.

The out-of-pocket cost for the patient depends on the co-pay and deductible amounts of the insurance plan.

The Bottom Line

When patients start to lose weight after surgery, they feel more energetic, have less pain, and are more enthusiastic about getting out and experiencing life. Weight-related health conditions improve and a better quality of life is achieved.

References

(1)   Long-term Study of Bariatric Surgery for Obesity: LABS https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/research-areas/obesity/longitudinal-assessment-bariatric-surgery

(2)   Bariatric Surgery FAQs: Patients: ASMBS https://asmbs.org/patients/faqs-of-bariatric-surgery

(3)   https://www.jwatch.org/na53611/2021/05/25/bariatric-surgery-associated-with-longer-life-expectancy

(4)   Arterburn, David, et al. “Comparative effectiveness of bariatric surgery vs. nonsurgical treatment of type 2 diabetes among severely obese adults.” Obesity research & clinical practice vol. 7,4 (2013): e258-68. doi:10.1016/j.orcp.2012.08.196

(5)   Firat, Ozgur. “Weight regain after bariatric surgery.” Annals of Laparoscopic and Endoscopic Surgery [Online], 6 (2021): n. pag. Web. 15 Jun. 2022

 

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Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet: What To Eat After Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a game-changer. It disrupts the body’s powerful mechanisms that have kept you from a healthy weight in the past. The metabolic changes that occur with weight loss surgery allow your body to work with your diet and exercise efforts rather than against them. The immediate results will motivate you to build positive habits – including eating a well-balanced bariatric diet.

What to Include in Your Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet

  • Ample Fluids

Sip on at least 64 ounces of calorie-free, non-carbonated beverages between meals each day. Water is always a good choice. However, add in packets like True Lemon, Mio, or Crystal Light if you like flavor. Bottled drinks like Gatorade Zero, Powerade Zero, Vitamin Water Zero, and Bai Water are also popular options. Consuming high-calorie fluids throughout the day can limit weight loss, so keep fluids very low in calories or calorie-free.

  • Lean Protein

Your body needs the right amount of protein for a healthy weight loss. You’ll get an individual protein goal from your Barix Clinics Nutritionist. Eat protein-rich foods like low-fat meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products to reach your daily protein goal. Use protein supplements if you’re not able to meet it with food alone. Proper protein will promote a healthy weight loss and safeguard lean muscle tissue.

  • Colorful Vegetables

Raw or cooked, include a variety of fresh vegetables in your bariatric surgery diet. Vegetables are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help your body thrive. Include at least two servings daily.

  • Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits are a naturally sweet treat. Fiber slows the digestion of fruit’s naturally occurring sweetness, so it doesn’t impact blood sugar to the same degree as added sugar. Be sure to include 1-2 small servings each day.

  • Whole Grains

Bread, pasta, and crackers made from whole grain are part of a healthy post-bariatric surgery diet. Include 1-2 small servings a day.

  • Heart-Healthy Fats

Include two small servings of heart-healthy fat:

  • monounsaturated fat (from olives, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, almonds, peanuts, and avocados)
  • polyunsaturated fat (from corn, soybean, safflower, cottonseed, and fish)

What to Avoid or Limit in Your Post-Bariatric Surgery Diet

  • Alcohol

Avoid alcohol for the first six months following surgery and then limit it. The calories in alcohol can slow or stall weight loss. It’s important to note that you may feel the effects of alcohol very quickly after surgery. If you choose to drink, educate yourself on the alcohol and calorie content of the beverage and have a non-drinking designated driver for safety.

  • Highly Processed Foods

Highly processed foods have been significantly changed from their natural state. Detrimental changes, like adding, sugar, fat, additives, preservatives, and artificial colors, have been made. Highly processed foods are often devoid of naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Over the years, food manufacturers fine-tuned processed foods, making them more desirable than ever. So much so that most of the food the average person eats is highly processed – 60% or more. It’s understandable – ready-to-eat meals and snacks fit our lifestyles and budget.

So, what’s the problem? Unfortunately, there are a lot of consequences to eating a diet of mainly highly processed foods. They are often calorie-dense, decrease feelings of fullness, encourage faster eating, cause inflammation, raise cholesterol, and slow weight loss.

Examples of highly processed foods to limit include snack crackers, granola bars, soft drinks, chips, chocolate, candy, ice cream, most breakfast cereals, packaged soups, chicken nuggets, hotdogs, fries, and more.

Must-Have: A Bariatric Meal Plan

A bariatric meal plan will pull together all of the foods into an easy-to-use, balanced diet. It will also help you avoid the trap of highly processed convenience foods. After all, we all tend to eat what is most accessible at the moment. Armed with a plan and some prep-work, healthy meals and snacks will be readily available – making them the easy choice.

The Bottom Line

Build your bariatric diet plan on minimally processed foods. Start with lean protein; add fresh vegetables, fruits, and a little whole grain. A well-balanced bariatric surgery diet will keep you well-nourished as you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

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5 Best Tips When Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

After meeting your surgeon and learning more about bariatric surgery, you are likely excited and maybe a little nervous. It is exciting! Surgery is a powerful tool that will help improve your health and quality of life as you gain control over your weight. When you use the time between consultation and surgery to prepare, you’ll feel more confident and ease those pre-surgery jitters.

What to Do Before Bariatric Surgery?

Taking 5 simple steps as you prepare for bariatric surgery will help you implement a lifestyle that enables you to reach and maintain a healthy weight after bariatric surgery.

Tip 1 ) Take Vitamin Supplements

Preparing for bariatric surgery should include vitamin supplementation. After all, even the healthiest eaters rarely choose a daily diet with all of the vitamin and minerals they need. You will want to include multi-vitamin, calcium citrate, and vitamin D3 supplements.

Multi-Vitamin

Start with a multi-vitamin. After surgery, this will be in chewable form – at least for several weeks. The most popular supplements are Flintstones Complete or Centrum Chewable. Multi-vitamins made explicitly for bariatric surgery are also available. Look online for companies such as Celebrate Vitamins, Bariatric Advantage, Bariatric Fusion, and others. Before weight loss surgery, you can try out a chewable supplement or take a multi-vitamin in pill form.

Please note that gummy multi-vitamins are NOT recommended. They are missing essential B vitamins that your body needs.

Calcium Citrate

Many people do not meet their body’s need for bone-building calcium. If you consume 3 cups of low-fat milk or yogurt daily, you’re getting enough. If not, you may want to start a calcium citrate supplement (1500 mg). Tip: calcium citrate pills are large, you may prefer a chewable supplement, and in this case, gummies are okay. Look for the citrate form of calcium (it’s better absorbed after surgery) and keep added sugar to 2 grams or less per serving.

Vitamin D3

Many calcium citrate supplements also contain vitamin D3. Check the label. If not, you can get a separate vitamin D3 supplement. Look for 1000-2000 IU or International Units and take daily.

To prepare for bariatric surgery, take a complete multi-vitamin/mineral supplement (pill or chewable, but not gummy), calcium citrate (1500 mg), and vitamin D3 (1000-2000 IU).

   Tip 2) Increase Your Activity

Regular exercise is crucial for good health before and after surgery. Even if you have physical limitations, there are safe ways to increase activity. Check with your primary care physician before starting an exercise program. Your doctor may even be able to refer you to a physical therapist if you have particular concerns, such as a bad back or injured knee. It is tempting to wait until after surgery to increase your activity, but starting an exercise routine before surgery has many benefits.

  • Exercise raises the “feel good” hormones – dopamine and serotonin. It also lowers stress hormones. Feeling better and less stressed can decrease food cravings and help you make better food choices.
  • Increasing activity will get your heart and lungs in the best shape for surgery.
  • Exercise can help you shed a few pounds prior to surgery.
  • You will establish a healthy routine that will help you reach and maintain your weight goal.

Work time into your daily schedule for exercise – a consistent time works best for most. Start slowly from a comfortable exertion level and build from there. Increase time or exertion in small increments. Avoid strenuous exercises that may cause injury.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Walk to better health. Track steps to get a baseline of your current step count, then work to build in more steps throughout your day. Tailor your step goal to your fitness level. You aren’t competing with anyone else, just getting in your best shape.
  • Hop in the water. The buoyancy of water cushions your body and adds resistance for a dynamite workout. Check with your local school district, YMCA, or health club for a water aerobics class or swimming opportunities near you.
  • Search for chair exercise videos online.
  • Dance, clean, mow the lawn, walk to the store -just get moving.

Tip 3) Eat Six Small Meals

Eating small frequent meals throughout the day has many benefits.

  • If healthy food choices are made, this eating pattern can promote pre-surgery weight loss – getting you that much closer to a healthy weight.
  • This eating pattern helps blood sugar levels stay even throughout the day—keeping your energy high and preventing mood swings.
  • Appetite is kept in check—allowing for satisfaction with smaller portions.
  • Metabolism is enhanced.
  • Having healthy snacks available minimizes trips to the vending machine and stops at the convenience store.
  • A healthy habit is developed that will be beneficial post-surgery—one more thing you already have in place.

How Do I Eat Six Small Meals?  

The easiest way to eat six small meals is to take meals and snacks with you. You will save money and studies show that you will eat better.

Start with the Barix Clinics Meal Planning Guidelines. It’s balanced to includes all food groups. Increase portions before surgery to prevent hunger. Use the planning guide to develop your own personal meal plan like this sample. Don’t expect perfection – you can tweak your meal plan as you go along.

Tip 4) Avoid Added Sugars

After surgery, it is recommended that you limit added sugars to prevent dumping syndrome (flu-like symptoms) with gastric bypass surgery.  Limiting added sugars also helps maximize weight loss with any bariatric surgery. Learning to recognize foods and beverages with more than 2 grams of added sugar and finding alternatives is a healthy lifestyle habit that you can start now.

What Are Added Sugars?

Added sugars don’t occur naturally in a food or beverage but are added for sweetness. Look for these added sugars on the ingredient list:

  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • sucrose
  • brown sugar
  • dextrose
  • maple syrup
  • honey
  • cane juice
  • rice syrup
  • brown rice syrup
  • invert sugar
  • molasses
  • sorghum molasses or syrup
  • turbinado sugar
  • raw sugar

New food labels make it even easier. Now there is a separate line for added sugars. Choose foods and drinks with 2 grams of added sugar or less.

Naturally Occurring Sugars are Different

The sugars naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are generally well tolerated after all kinds of bariatric surgery. They typically do not impact blood sugar levels to the same degree as added sugars.

Sugar Substitutes

Enjoying an occasional sweet-tasting treat is easy. Look for no-added-sugar cookies, pies, and candy, or replace the sugar in your favorite recipes with a sugar substitute. Keep in mind that no-added-sugar or sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie-free. Favorite sweeteners include monk fruit sweetener, Stevia, Splenda, and erythritol.

Tip 5) Choose the Right Fluids

What to Drink

Most beverages should be calorie-free and non-carbonated. There are many options beyond simple water – Gatorade Zero, Powerade Zero, Mio, Crystal Light, Vitamin Water Zero, Bai Water, and iced tea (zero or unsweetened) – just to name a few.

You may also like to infuse water with fruit, vegetables, or spices. Protein drinks, milk, or fruit smoothies count as a meal/snack.

How to Drink

A smaller stomach means that beverages need to be sipped rather than gulped. Sipping throughout the day works best to ensure you get in enough fluid. Prepare for bariatric surgery by getting into the habit of carrying a drink bottle. Strive to drink 64 ounces of liquid each day.

When to Drink

To keep from overfilling the small stomach created with gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, you’ll want to drink between meals rather than with meals.

Beverages to Avoid

Drinking carbonated beverages can be uncomfortable after surgery. Gas bubbles in a small pouch or sleeve can cause a lot of pressure. Let diet pop go flat or wait at least six months after surgery before trying it.

Limit caffeine for the first few weeks immediately after surgery.  Caffeine can pull fluid out of your system, increasing the chance that you may become dehydrated. If you are drinking at least 64 ounces of fluid, you can add caffeinated products back into your diet after a few weeks.

As you prepare for bariatric surgery, start to enjoy calorie-free non-carbonated beverage options.

Other Things to Do Before Bariatric Surgery

  • Once you’ve attended a consultation at Barix Clinics, be sure to join our Facebook Support Group.
  • Tobacco use increases the risk of surgical complications. If you smoke, stop.
  • Take pictures and measurements. The scale won’t show progress every day. Having other measures of success will be very motivating.
  • Plan for time off from work to recover – discuss the time you’ll need with your surgeon. Arrange for childcare during and after surgery.

Use these 5 tips as you prepare for bariatric surgery. You’ll feel confident and ready with a lifestyle that, along with weight loss surgery, will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

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5 Steps to Beat Stress and Reclaim Peace

 It may seem that you just can’t catch a break, and stress is overpowering you. These five steps can help you learn to manage the stress in your life and come through feeling more peaceful and in control.

Download Healthful Tips: 5 Steps to Beat Stress and Reclaim Peace

Step 1: Identify

List all of the stressors in your life. Family, work, money, living conditions, and the state or direction of our country are typical stressors. Don’t forget to dig a little deeper and look for how your behaviors and thoughts contribute.

You may want to keep a log before making your list to identify stress patterns. You can track:

  • The cause of stress.
  • How it made you feel.
  • How you responded.
  • What you did do to feel better.

Step 2: Avoid

It is surprising how many stressors you can simply eliminate. You may be surprised how many stressors can simply be eliminated. A friend who always brings unnecessary drama – don’t answer the text and cut back on time spent with them. An awful work commute – plan to find a job closer to home or one that allows you to work from home.  The news can be downright scary – turn it off. Too much on your plate – say no to things that don’t have to be done or increase stress.

Step 3: Alter

If avoiding a stressful situation isn’t possible, you may be able to alter it.

The drama-filled friend – answer the text with a positive message and refuse to get caught up. Alter your work commute – go in 30 minutes early to miss the rush. Do a quick scan of the news headlines – don’t delve into the specifics. To free up more time, set tighter boundaries – I only have 10 minutes; what can we get done in that time.

Be proactive about building a balanced life with time for the things that matter. Learn to express your needs in a clear, calm manner and allow others to do the same.

Step 4: Adapt

When it isn’t possible to avoid or adapt to a stressor, it may help to change your expectations and perspective.

Take a step back and look at your friend’s drama as her drama – not your drama. Use your work commute to listen to some uplifting tunes, an audiobook, or an inspiring podcast. Before scanning the news headlines, remind yourself that the media uses shock to raise ratings. And that busy life – be grateful you have a family, a job, and can contribute to society.

Step 5: Accept

When a stressor is out of your control, the best way to cope may be to just accept it for what it is. You cannot control the weather, the behavior of others, the death of loved ones, a diagnosis of severe disease, the economy, or war. Nothing is helped when we stress over things beyond our control, but our physical and mental health suffers.

As you work to maintain a peaceful outlook amid a stressful situation, it may help to talk to someone about your feelings, forgive and let go of anger and resentments, look for any potential upside, and keep your focus on those things in your control.

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You Can Beat Stress in 10 Easy Moves

Stress is a part of life. In short spurts, it can boost alertness and performance. But constant stress can have a significant downside. Luckily, there is an easy natural way to beat stress through exercise.

Download On Track with Barix: You Can Beat Stress in 10 Easy Moves

Exercise is, in fact, one of the best ways to combat stress and improve your mood. It works by:

  • Increasing blood flow and the body’s ability to use oxygen.
  • Producing more endorphins – giving you a natural mood boost.
  • Enhancing quality sleep – vital for replenishing your body.
  • Taking your mind off your worries.
  • Improving your health, fitness, and confidence – giving you fewer reasons to stress.

How Much Exercise?

Set an exercise goal that works for you, and then adjust it. Things to consider when you create your goals:

  • Take into account current fitness level, physical limitations, injuries, or other restrictions.
  • Start small, be consistent, and build slowly.
  • As you lose weight, it takes less work to move your body. That means the same exercise uses fewer calories. You’ll want to continuously bump up your effort to account for a shrinking body weight during the weight loss phase.
  • The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week and at least two well-rounded strength training sessions.
  • Tracking steps can also be an effective way to ensure enough overall movement in your day. Build to a daily goal of 10,000 steps a day or more.

10 Moves to Meet Your Weekly Exercise Target

Any exercise can reduce your stress. It’s always best to choose an activity you enjoy. Working out with a friend or family member can also add stress-busting benefits. After all, if you’re having fun, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. If you enjoyable and exercise don’t seem to work in the same sentence, branch out to some new activities. You’re sure to find something doable.

Move 1

Brisk Walking. It’s simple, flexible, and almost everyone can do it. Even a quick 10-minute walk can restore calm. Take frequent walks throughout your day or go for one longer walk – both strategies work. Whenever possible, get out in nature to multiply the benefits.

Move 2

Swimming or Water Aerobics. Easy on joints, swimming provides a soothing full-body workout. For added social fun, try a water aerobics class.

 

Move 3

Dancing. You can do it in your living room, take a class, or head out for a night of music and dancing- what a great way to enjoy life and get into relaxation mode.

Move 4

Cycling. Indoors or out, bike riding is a joint-friendly workout. Recumbent bikes offer a comfortable seat and back support. Combine indoor cycling with some great music or lose yourself in a drama-packed movie. Outdoors, enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as you work out the stress.

Move 5

Yoga. The stretching and breathing combination in yoga practice is an incredibly effective stress zapper. You can warm it up with hothouse yoga, get intense with aerobic yoga, or opt for a gentle approach. 

Move 6

Tai Chi. Slow, purposeful movements and breathing provide a mind-body connection in tai chi. It’s an exercise that almost everyone can do.

Move 7

Gardening. Think of all the movements you make when gardening – stretching, bending, digging, lifting, and carrying. It works a full range of muscles. You can produce food or beautify your environment and regain calm simultaneously.

Move 8

Boxing. Boxing is a great way to burn off stress while getting a heart-pumping workout. Hang a boxing bag in your basement or garage, or find a nearby class to learn the basics.

Move 9

Strength Training. The rhythmic motion of weight lifting is soothing. The fast results help you feel strong and in control.

Move 10

Non-Exercise Techniques. Exercise is necessary for a healthy body and great for stress reduction. Combine it with other calming habits for even better results.

  • Get organized. If you are constantly running late and feeling overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list, get organized. Cut out non-essential activities and have a daily plan for your time.
  • Prioritize sleep. Sleep is your body’s time to recover. Getting a healthy dose of sleep each night can help you better tackle stress.
  • Eat right. Limit highly processed foods; instead, opt for whole, fresh foods, including lean protein sources, fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. Eating right helps you have the nutrients and pep to feel your best each day.
  • Include a daily meditation practice. You may want to start with a guided meditation – there are many to choose from on the internet. Also, consider breathing exercises – very helpful for in-the-moment stress reduction.
  • Connect with others. The human connection triggers hormones that both calm and lift us up. Make time to be with others who make you feel safe and understood.
  • Have fun. Carve out time to simply relax and have fun. Nourishing yourself in this way will put you in a better place to handle the stress that comes your way.
  • Be grateful. Take time each day to focus on all of the good in your life. It’s easy to get so caught up in the things that are wrong that we lose sight of all of the things that are right.

Bottom Line

Keep your overall ability to fight stress with a good daily exercise routine. Practice a variety of stress management techniques. Then when stress hits, you’ll be able to stay cool and calm by using the tools that work best in that situation.

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