Cancer and Exercise

Cancer and ExerciseCancer and Exercise: Best exercises for Cancer Patients?

In my health coaching practice, I consult with women who want to exercise but have health issues that make them uncertain as to how much they should do. Recently I had a client who said, “I am recovering from breast cancer. I finished my chemotherapy a few weeks ago and though I still feel weak, I was wondering if I should start exercising again?” And this is what I told her.

If your doctor says you’re up to it, you can get started. Best Exercises For Cancer Patients: according to ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)

Cancer and Exercise

The best exercises for cancer patients is a combination of the three major components of fitness: Cardio, Strength and Flexibility. These types of exercise can have a positive impact on cancer patients and survivors. Easy aerobic exercise for cancer patients, has been shown to increase hemoglobin levels, reduce inflammation, lessen fatigue, keep muscles in shape for better every day activities, increase self confidence, reduce depression and aid in recovery of surgery.

Other research has shown strength and flexibility exercises to be good exercises for cancer patients helping them return to a normal activity level sooner.

Exercise and social support seem to increase the life expectancy of breast cancer survivors, preventing recurrence.

At the beginning, gently move a few minutes at a time, and build up at your own pace. Try walking, light aerobics or swimming. As you get stronger, add a couple of days a week of light resistance training. On days you feel more tired, try doing a few stretches.

Personal Note: It has been my privilege and joy to use my skill as a Certified Health Coach & Exercise Physiologist Specialist to help women manage their cancer with the healing properties of movement and exercise. It is from my own experience, that exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy food and reducing your stress can help prevent and/or manage cancer and many other life threatening diseases.

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Bernadine’s Crusade

My mother died in 2005 from Ovarian Cancer. Here is a poem I wrote about her.

Time it was when she found out how sick she was.

Like a Gladiator she got in her wheel chair and with her cane she fought against her illness.

Month after month she strived and relished every peach, every plum.

Moment by moment from lunch to lunch, she road the streets and shopped for food, clothes and jewelry as if she would live forever.

Her doctors were amazed at the way she road into their offices waving her cane
in stylish hats.

For her it was just the way she lived.

Opinionated, visually acute; her sense of aesthetics keen.

Expressive, she once cooed for me like a bird then clicking her teeth like a sparrow eating a tiny meal.

So it went.

Until the last, she raged with her cane beside her in the bed.

Little sips of ice mocha and chocolate malts

Slowing down.

Barely breathing,

her eyes flew open, to take one last peek

getting ready for the next to come.

mwh©

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Clicking Joints: Should I Worry?

Clicking JointsClicking Joints: Should I worry? What are those clicking, popping and crackling sounds in my joints? Is it Arthritis? Have I overdosed on breakfast cereal? No, it’s probably Crepitus. Sounds like a precursor to decrepitude, but it’s not. Crepitus is just the word used to describe the clicking sounds.

In fact, in most cases, if there’s no pain associated with those sounds, it’s nothing to worry about. Many people live their whole lives with some clicking joints and popping without any ill effects.

 Clicking Joints?

Clicking Joints have closed bags of synovial fluid, called bursa, between them. They cushion joint movement so we can walk and work painlessly. That fluid has a little bit of air or gas dissolved in it. Through our daily movement, that gas can form a bubble or cavity in the bag. The fancy term is Cavitation.

When you move your knee, elbow or shoulder, the bubble bursts and makes a click or popping sound. Cracking your knuckles is a good example of breaking those bubbles on purpose. So, the rule of thumb is: no pain, no problem.

Snapping however is another story. That rubber band-like sound is often accompanied by pain. It’s a sign you have an injury, or that some muscle, nerve or connective tissue is out of place.

In this case you should see your doctor. A good way to promote healthy joints in general is to strengthen the muscles around them. Regular strength training can make a difference at any age. If you haven’t been exercising in a while, start slowly and build up. Last thing you want to do is hurt the joints you’re trying to strengthen.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, next time your friends have clicks and pops in their joints, you can tell them they probably have Crepitus!

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Exercise Outdoors: Cross Training & Hydrate

Exercise Outdoors Exercise outdoors when its hot can be a challenge. Cross training exercises are a good way to mix up your workouts and give yourself time to cool off, drink water and stay hydrated in summer heat.

Although I’m away from home, in the mountains, and not as affected by this huge triple digit heat wave, I did get a wake-up call of my own that I thought would be important to share.  I was shooting an exercise video this week in 90-degree heat. It was hot, but I got on a roll and forgot about the time. Less than an hour in, I started to swoon. Not a good shot on an exercise video. I realized immediately what had happened; I’d gotten so involved, I forgot to drink water between takes. I can say from experience that it creeps up on you. So you need to take steps to keep yourself cool and well-hydrated when you exercise outdoors. Cross-train with strength exercises mixed in with your cardio gives you a lower intensity interval so you can drink water, stay hydrated and cool off.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine losing more than 2 percent of your body weight through dehydration puts your body at risk for heat illness. This is serious business. We’ve all read the stories of team athletes who have actually died.

When you exercise in the heat you can lose up to five cups of water per hour. So it’s important to drink water before, during, and after vigorous exercise. The rule of thumb is to drink 2 cups of water a couple of hours before you start exercising so you are fully hydrated. Remember to bring that water bottle with you and drink a cup of water every 15 minutes or so while you are exercising. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty. If you’re thirsty, you’re already getting dehydrated.

But you’re not done yet. You need to drink another 2 cups over a two-hour period after exercise.

Sounds like a lot of water. It’s not. It’s just making up for the water you lose when you exercise in the heat.

Pouring water over your head during exercise won’t help you rehydrate, but it does make you feel better. A study at Cal State Fullerton with trained athletes showed that athletes exercising in 92-degree heat in a controlled setting felt cooler and that the workout was easier to perform.

But you know what Noel Coward said about “mad dogs and Englishmen.” Give yourself a break. If you can, exercise outdoors when it’s cooler, early mornings or late afternoons when the sun is less direct. Try finding shady areas.

Instead of keeping up your brisk pace for the whole workout, break it up. Go at normal pace for a bit, do a short light interval and then pick up your speed again.

Another idea is when you exercise outdoors do cross training exercises. Add intervals of strength training between shorter bouts of cardio. You’ll get a chance to drink and pour some water over your head too! Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Exercise Outdoors Video

Here is an Exercise Outdoors video with some easy cross training exercises to tone you up, no equipment necessary. 

Exercise Outdoors: Strength Exercises Using Your Own Body Weight

With all these Strength training exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.

Standing Push Ups: Stand facing a surface with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back upright again. Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders

Calf Raises: Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again.
Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Squats: Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in, gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.
Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Wall Sit: Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs

Upper Back Squeeze: Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart. Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)

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Osteoporosis: Is Your Thigh Bone Like The Eiffel Tower?

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthMay, is Osteoporosis Awareness Month.I first became interested in bones as a young dancer (about 200,000 years ago, in the Mid Paleolithic era). I was studying body alignment and I became fascinated with the skeleton and the remarkable living tissue that makes up our bones. I was intrigued by the intricate architectural structure of bone.

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthThere’s the smooth, hard shell we see on the outside called cortical bone, and the amazing crisscrossed, honeycomb like structure on the inside called trabecular bone. The combination of cortical and trabecular bone make our skeletons, strong, light, flexible and efficient.

The structure of trabecular bone is the secret ingredient. The trabecular bracing structure is located at precisely the correct angles to absorb the maximum force.

So when you jump over a puddle or run for a bus, it’s the trabecular bracing that directs the force to the strongest part of your skeleton and prevents a bone from breaking.

Most of us aren’t aware of our beautiful bone structure. But, it hasn’t gone unnoticed or unutilized.

The structure of trabecular bone was copied by the French bridge builder Gustave Eiffel, who wanted to build the tallest man-made structure in the world. When he built the Eiffel tower in 1889, he calculated the positioning of the braces in the curves of the legs to direct any force like high winds on the entire structure to the strongest area; the four legs. This is why the Eiffel tower continues to stand the test of time.

That’s fine for an iron tower. If part of it becomes weakened you can see it and fix it. But what happens to weakened or damaged areas of our skeletons?

I was astonished to find out that bones are pretty smart. They don’t grow to adult size and then stop.

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthOur skeletons are constantly getting rid of old weakened bone tissue and replacing it with new healthy bone. Osteoporosis Awareness MonthIn a process called remodeling, old weakened areas are broken down and replaced with new well-formed tissue. Our bodies replace about 10 percent of our bone each year.

Osteoporosis Awareness MonthIn bones with osteoporosis, the remodeling process has gotten out of whack.Those sturdy crisscrossed structures disappear and bones get weak and start to fracture. Fractures occur most often where there is the most trabecular bone.

The three areas most at risk for osteoporotic fracture are the spine has the most trabecular bone. So, if you have osteoporosis, the vertebrae start to squash under the weight of the torso. The thighbone at the hip is next. It can break just stepping off a curb. And the wrist will likely break if you put out your hands to catch yourself in a fall.

Osteoporosis Awareness Month

But there’s a lot you can do to prevent osteoporosis and maintain bone health. Weight bearing exercise like walking, jogging, aerobic dance and weight resistance training, stimulate the remodeling process and promote bone growth.

Exercise should be site specific. Do weight bearing and resistance exercises for the whole body but pay special attention to the areas most at risk; the spine, the hip and the wrist. Calcium and Vitamin D are also important.

Remember your bones are living tissue. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

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Better Sleep

Better SleepLooking to get better sleep? We all love a good night’s   sleep. But did you know that not getting one not only makes you dull and stressed, it can also make you pack on the pounds.

Health experts recommend eight hours of sleep a night for most adults. Yet so many of us get fewer than six-and-a-half hours during the work week.

Too little physical activity is clearly part of why we’re overweight. But a lack of sleep may make weight loss and weight control more difficult by altering your metabolism. It may also be changing your eating and exercise patterns.

In a Japanese study, children sleeping less than eight hours a night were almost three times as likely to be overweight.

Lack of sleep may change hormone levels and thus influence weight gain. Higher levels of the hormone insulin have been linked to a shortage of sleep.

Because insulin promotes fat storage and controls blood sugar, extra insulin could make weight loss more difficult.

Studies also show that a lack of sleep leads to lower levels of the hormone leptin, which can cause an increased appetite. Sound familiar?

A third hormone affected by too little sleep is cortisol, linked by research to stress. When people feel threatened or stressed, their cortisol levels rise in a “fight or flight” reaction. In one study, people whose cortisol levels rose highest in response to stress had more waistline fat – and fat at the waist is related to the greatest number of risks for heart disease and other ailments. So what can you do to get better sleep?

Better Sleep With Aerobic Exercise

Results from a Stanford University study show exercise, particularly aerobic exercise in the late afternoon or right after work can turn this all around.

The physical stress of aerobic exercise produces fatigue and a rise in body temperature. A few hours later, your body temperature drops. That coupled with the fatigue from your exercise triggers your brain to induce a deeper, longer better sleep.

Better Sleep

What time of day you do is as important as doing it. If you exercise too close to bedtime you may be up for hours climbing the walls. Getting a half hour brisk walk is all it takes.

If you belong to a Gym, get there and mix it up on the cardio machines.

Or get yourself a good cardio dance video by a certified instructor.

In any case quality zzzzzs equals quality of life and may even increase longevity.

For more health and fitness information and at home exercise programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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Enjoy Holiday Treats Without Weight Gain

Enjoy holiday treats without weight gainCan you really enjoy holiday treats without weight gain?

Well, when we think of the holidays the first thing that comes to mind is fear of weight gain. That’s because we always have a few treats up our sleeves. And we do gain weight.

But, preventing this phenomenon is not as hard as you think. You don’t have to starve, deny yourself favorite holiday dishes or do heavy-duty compensation workouts.

Enjoy Holiday Treats Without Weight Gain: Some Pointers

If you are the one cooking, you are more in control of what is going to be placed on the table.

So you can choose equally delicious lighter recipes. But, if you are visiting friends and family all bets are off and your radar needs to be on. It’s all about portion control.

Don’t wait till the second piece of pie gets offered. Pre-planning is key. In some cases you’ll know from past experience what the menu will be. Even if you don’t, assume there will be a barrage of excess temptations. Excess is the operative word. Enjoy but not to excess.

Whether you count calories, points, or eyeball your portions, eat half of what you think you should eat. If you are not sure of a particular food or treat, pass on it, or just take a bite to see if it is worth the calories. If you find yourself hungry after all of this, you can eat a little more or maybe you’ve actually saved room for that dessert.

You can visit, enjoy the company, make merry and have a smug sense of self-assurance that this whole season will pass without you gaining even a pound. Who knows, you might lose weight.

That brings me to your insurance policy. If you don’t exercise regularly this is definitely the time to start and get a jump on your New Year, New You. If you do, make time for it. You don’t have to do extra but don’t make the excuse you’re too busy at this time of year.

Cardio exercise is great calorie burner, and we all know that a half hour of moderate aerobic exercise a day can reduce one’s chance of heart attack by a whopping 50%.

See how I snuck in my pitch for exercise? I am not suggesting anything that I don’t do myself. It works for me and I bet it will work for you.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. And let me know if you were able to enjoy holiday treats without gaining weight.

Happy Holidays!

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Fab Over 40 Hosts Fashion Flash Blog

Fashion FlashFashion Flash is hosted this week by Fab Over 40.com. Creator Kari gives you the straight skinny on honest 40 plus beauty maintenance options without injectables or surgery.

The rest of our Fashion Flash bloggers are up to our necks in Fashion, Beauty Health & Fitness and Pre-Holiday Deals. Click in, Read up, Find out..

 

 

Menopause and Weight Gain: What You Can Do About It

hike-2006A study from the Mayo Clinic has revealed that menopause and weight gain are linked because proteins that store fat do it better when estrogen is lost after menopause.  They also cause fat to be burned by the body more slowly so weight gain after menopause is hard to fight. Something else happens too.  A study in the Journal of Obesity points out that post menopausal women gain about 12 pounds following menopause. And even women that don’t see weight gain after menopause experience a shift in body shape that expands their waistline.

That’s because lower estrogen levels cause fat to shift from hips and thighs to the belly. Belly fat has been linked to higher incidence of heart disease. So menopause and weight gain is a serious health issue, not just a cosmetic one.

So what does one do about menopause and weight gain?

The only way to get rid of that belly fat is to lose weight everywhere and sculpt your body with exercise. Let’s talk calories. 1lb of weight equals 3500 calories. So to lose 1lb a week exercise 200 calories off with about a half hour of moderate cardio a day and eat 300 calories less every day. That 500 hundred multiple by 7 days will get you on the track to lose one pound per week. What can make this process easier is combine cardio with strength exercises. Try this anti menopause and weight gain routine.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday do 30-60 minutes of moderate cardio exercises like Brisk walking, swimming, biking jogging, or dance exercise videos.

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It’s Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion FlashIt’s Fashion Flash Monday! Today’s host is Deb Chase from No Nonsense Beauty Blog. Deb combines her experience and latest research in both science and beauty to develop a no-nonsense anti-aging beauty plan for all women over 40. The rest of us Fashion Flash Bloggers give you the latest in fab fashion, beauty, and fitness info and deals so you can look and feel your best for Fall.

 

FAB LOGO 8qpNwg64_biggerHere is a Fabulous Forever Q & A:

 

Q: Is exercise just as effective for depression as Zoloft? Is this real?

A: It’s real all right. The study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, comes from Duke University. Professor of medical psychology, Dr. James Blumenthal led the research. 153 women and 49 men, suffering from depression were divided into four groups. The first did aerobic exercise in a group setting. The second got an actual antidepressant drug. The third group did aerobics at home. And the fourth group got a placebo that looked just like a Zoloft pill.

After 16 weeks everybody did better than the placebo group but here’s the kicker. While 47% of the real Zoloft group no longer had depression, 45 % of the group exercisers were also no longer depressed. Almost dead even!

It was found that aerobic exercise is the type that works best. It seems to affect the body’s levels of mood lifting neurochemicals like norepinephrine and serotonin.

So if you’d rather exercise your depression away, it’s worth a try. You may get fit in more ways than one.

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Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion FlashIt’s Fashion Flash Monday! I’m Mirabai Holland of Moving Free with Mirabai, your host this week. Our team of Fashion Flash Bloggers have a passion for Flashing the latest and greatest in 40+ Fashion, Beauty, Health, Inside Info and SHOPPING. All for your immediate consumption! You’re invited to the party right here, right now.

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Fashion Flash Fitness

As for me I’m enjoying the last few weeks of fall fitness outdoors; and I suggest you do the same.

But if you haven’t been exercising in a while, and you know you have to do something, but you hate the thought of it, I’ve got the solution. Ease-in! Getting fit shouldn’t feel like getting your teeth drilled.

It should be pleasant today so you’ll come back and do it again tomorrow.

MyFashion Flash Ease-in DVD gives you a chance to Ease-in to the best shape of your life starting with just 5 minutes a day. And get 15% off by using this CODE: AUTUMNFAB at Checkout! BTW and it will work on all of my other videos too! Come and visit me at www.mirabaiholland.com

 

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Triglycerides: Skinny On Your Hidden Fat

TriglyceridesTriglycerides Your Hidden Fat:

Triglycerides:  A too-thick waistline, plus high levels of a fat called triglycerides in the blood can greatly increase risk of coronary artery disease. Triglycerides are both produced by the body and ingested through the food you eat.

High triglyceride levels can increase your risk for heart disease and are more common among inactive people with larger waistlines. Normal triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL. The risk of developing coronary artery disease doubles when triglyceride levels are above 200 mg/dL.

Triglycerides are called the hidden fat because they are too often overshadowed by the highly publicized LDL bad cholesterol.

However triglycerides are above 200 mg/dL and “good” (HDL) cholesterol is below 40 mg/dL, a person is at four times the risk.

The good news is that a study at Duke University Medical Center has produced some surprising and encouraging results.

Triglycerides: How Aerobic Exercise Helps

Moderate aerobic exercise like walking a half hour at least five days a week can signicantly reduce the triglyceride levels in the blood as well as boost your HDL (good cholesterol). Burning 200 calories or so on that half hour walk doesn’t hurt either.

The study also showed that more intense exercise did help with belly fat but produced only half the triglyceride lowering results.

So my recommendation is: consult your doctor, find your triglycerides level and get clearance to exercise.

If it is elevated and belly fat is not an issue do moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking or cardio dance. If you also have extra belly fat, consider adding strength training exercise every other day to raise your metabolism and help your body burn more fat.

Don’t over do it. Ease-in. Start with a few minutes a day of something fun. Pleasure is the key to sustainability.

Couple this with a low fat diet and moderate alcohol consumption and you’ve got a recipe for better quality of life and maybe even a longer one.

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