We talk a lot about the importance of your gastric sleeve diet in losing weight. But what role does exercise play in your success? And how much exercise do vertical sleeve gastrectomy patients really need to get? For most, the answer is, “A lot more than you’re probably getting now.”
Times Have Changed
Remember when most jobs didn’t involve sitting all day? Whether you’re working at a computer, driving a taxi, or running tests in a lab, chances are pretty good that you sit most of the day. Sitting is so bad for our health that it’s been called “the new smoking.” We sit more now than at any other time in history, and that’s a very bad thing. We have more leisure time, which we usually spend in front of a television, phone, or tablet. And it wasn’t that long ago that people walked everywhere—or ride their bikes when it was too far to walk. That’s simply not the case for the vast majority of people who live in developed countries.
Convenient? Yes. But a Mayo clinic analysis of 13 studies has found that our sedentary lifestyles raise the chances of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease and, of course, obesity. The takeaway for VSG folks is that too much sitting around makes it much harder to lose weight and then maintain that weight loss. Many of the exercise recommendations we receive today are outdated because they don’t take into account that most of are generally sedentary. Formal exercise should be the icing on the cake of an active day. But if you exercise for 30 or even 60 minutes a day and spend the rest of your time sitting down, you’re not likely to achieve your long-term weight loss goals. The key is to increase both the amount of formal and informal exercise in your life.
How to Get More Movement
For all of the time that technology supposedly saves us these days, many would be hard pressed to come up with extra hours in the day to work out. But I promise that, for the vast majority of people, it’s possible to add movement.
• Make work more active. Even if you’re a desk jockey, there’s no reason you can’t move more. Standing desks are becoming more common, and if you work from home, look into a treadmill desk. Get a headset and walk around when you’re on calls. Set a discreet alarm to remind you to get up and move every 30 minutes (and maybe refill your water bottle). Go for a walk or do yoga over your lunch break.
• Get your kids involved. Kids don’t see being active as a chore; they see it as playing. Follow their lead by finding fun ways to be active together. Rather than watch television with them, ask them to accompany you on an after-dinner “scavenger hunt” walk. Who can count the most blue cars in your neighborhood? How about the number of yellow houses? If you have a gaming system, buy a dance program and challenge them to a dance off.
• Schedule more time for errands. If you think of errands as a chance to work on your VSG goals rather than as a chore, you’ll not only improve your mood but burn more calories. If you don’t live in a walkable area, drive to where you need to go, but park much farther away than usual. Like, half a mile away. Seriously. And you might consider a destination “too far” for you to take your bike, but check the actual distance on a platform like Google Maps. You might find that the library is only five miles away—a perfectly bike-able distance for most.
• Get moving during commercials. Even your downtime can be a chance to work in movement. Every time a TV program goes on commercial break, get off the couch and do something. Do jumping jacks during each break, or switch things up: squats during the first, push-ups during the second, planks during the third, etc.
After gastric sleeve in Mexico, it’s true that your diet has a huge impact on your weight loss. But the amount of exercise you get also plays a role, and that role becomes even more crucial when trying to maintain that loss over the long term.
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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.