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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for in home exercise programs for women over 50.

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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Wellness Mandala

WellnessWellness: Life is a balancing act.
So I started thinking about wellness. What is wellness anyway?
It’s the absence of disease. If you are not sick you are well.
But it’s more than that isn’t it? It’s quality of life and for some it’s a balancing act; the balance of all things. I like this balance concept so I dug out one of my favorite balancing act tools:

Wellness Balancing Act Tool

The Mandala: the wheel of life. I wrote down all the types of wellness I could think of and ended up with 6 categories that I stuck on my Mandala to enable us to live well.

Here they are:
Physical Wellness
· Taking care of your body, eat right, exercise
· Visit your doctor regularly

Mental Wellness
· Keeping an open mind and trying to see other’s point of view
· Allowing your curiosity to take you to new places and learn new things.

Emotional Wellness
· Trying to keep a positive state of mind
· Cultivating self esteem
· Reaching out to others for support

Spiritual Wellness
· Recognizing your beliefs.
· Allowing your core values to direct your actions.

Social Wellness
· Developing positive inter-personal relationships at home and work
· Allowing yourself to give and receive love: to and from everyone that means that much to you including animals
· Participate in social situations; try not to stay on the sidelines.

Environmental Wellness
· Making your home environment peaceful, pleasant, safe and comfortable.
· Choosing an occupation and a workplace that doesn’t drive you nuts.
· Try to have a positive impact on our natural environment.
Recycle more, pollute less.

When the wheel is in balance it spins evenly. When even one of these categories is out of whack, the whole wheel starts to wobble.
So as a certified health coach I respectfully suggest you get rolling, get your balancing act together so you can live well.

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Workout: Can You Gain Without The Pain?

WorkoutWorkout? Spring has sprung and I’ve been getting those emails for a month or so asking for advice on how to get on and stay on an exercise program. I get questions about commitment, pushing one’s limits, pain, and quick results. I go a little crazy at this time of year because I’m at odds with a very vocal segment of my industry about how to get started on an exercise program. They’re sincere, well-educated trainers, but I don’t think they remember what it felt like to be de-conditioned. They expect beginners to do to much too soon. I’m beginning to think that over-vigorous exercise dulls one’s sense of empathy.

Workout?

I’ve seen it time and time again: determined beginners pushing so hard and either getting hurt and quitting or just quitting because they couldn’t take it any more. If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault. We’ve heard no pain no gain all our lives. We’ve watched contestants push themselves to the brink of disaster on television. We’re inundated with infomercial promises of big results in no time. It’s enough to make anyone think ” I’ve got to beat myself senseless immediately so I can hurry up, get fit, have the body of my dreams and live happily ever-after.”

By the way, I’m not against vigorous exercise. On the contrary, I love vigorous exercise. But I wouldn’t have loved it nor would I have been safe doing it as a beginner. In my experience, that approach only works for a few stoic types and sets the rest of us up to fail.

I believe in moderation, easing in, starting with a little and building up to a lot, staying in your comfort zone. You may get to super-vigorous exercise eventually, or maybe you’ll like moderate exercise better. And moderate may be just as good as vigorous, maybe better. Really.
Just so you know this isn’t some favorite rant of mine, there are people, scientists even, who actually agree with me. Here’s study conducted at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health

I think, the best way to get fit and make exercise a part of your life forever is to keep it pleasant. If you haven’t been exercising in a long time, don’t start lifting weights right away. Don’t try to jog or even walk for a half an hour right away. Do something easy. Do something pleasant. If you enjoy it today you’ll want to get up and do it again tomorrow. It’s the pleasure principal. I believe in it. This study published in the Journal of Health Psychology believes it, too

So, how do you get started? I suggest starting by standing up and doing about five minutes of gentle limbering movements. Do the same for a few days in a row. You may be surprised at how good this feels and what a wonderful state of mind these simple, natural movements put you in. You may find yourself exercising longer than five minutes after a few days because you like it. Don’t question it. Simply do it. You may find the more you do it the more you’ll want to do it, and the more you’ll do.

You may want to go for a little walk, then a brisk walk, then a half hour brisk walk. Don’t rush it. It doesn’t matter if it takes a couple of weeks, or a couple of months. Listen to you body. You’re on nobody’s schedule but your own.

Once you’re enjoying a half hour brisk walk most days of the week, try adding light weight training for your major muscle groups a couple of times a week. Increase the weight, number of reps and number of exercise days only when it feels too easy. Build up slowly to weight training about three days a week with a day off in between sessions.

Remember to keep it pleasant. If it’s too intense, it ceases to be fun and there’s a good chance you’ll quit. This approach takes longer. But I’ve found it to be much more sustainable than those quick fix pump you up methods. Most of those intense immersion exercise programs remind me of the guy who beats his head against a brick wall. When asked why on earth he does that, he says: “because it feels so good when I stop”

Ease-in. Invest in your body. It will pay you back in quality of life.

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Aqua Ballet Lower Body Workout

We are filming for several hours a day starting at the crack of dawn. The weather is cooler but not for long. My only relief has been to strip off my workout clothes, which are almost pasted to my body, jump into a swimsuit and plunge into the pool. After about 45 minutes of laps back and forth (I’m so motivated from watching all these Olympic swimming trials on TV) I get an idea. What if I try some ballet barre exercises in the water, holding on to the side of the pool? Aqua Ballet Barre, not such a bad idea I’m thinking. So I try one of my on land favorites for my legs and butt. I like it! I can really feel it working. It may be even more effective with the water for added resistance.

Try it yourself.

AQUA BALLET WORKOUT:

Stand facing front, heels together, feet turned out. Hold on to the edge of the pool with your right hand. Slowly bend left knee, bringing foot up to right knee forming a triangle. Slowly stretch leg in front of body. Then bring foot back to the knee of the standing leg and return to the starting position. Repeat 4 times to the Front, Side, and Back.

Turn around and repeat exercise on the other leg holding on with your left hand.

Below are Aqua Ballet Workout Photos

Aqua Ballet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fight Upper Arm Flab

FIGHT UPPER ARM FLABFight Upper Arm Flab!

My inbox is trying to tell me something. I’ve gotten several versions of this question in the past week alone.
Q: I’m starting to feel that flabby arm anxiety again. Summer is here and I don’t want to face my sleeveless blouses with these 54 old arms a year flabbier than they were last year. Is there anything short of surgery for me to do to fight upper arm flab?
A: Sedentary women in general and women at a certain age in particularly are faced with this problem every Summer.  And it does get worst, as you get older.
In fact we can lose up to 40% of our muscle cells by the time we hit 70. This is called sarcopenia. Weight resistance exercise can reverse this process and can help you regain some muscle you have lost.
Here are two easy site-specific exercises that target those problem areas in your upper arm and fight upper arm flab.

Fight Upper Arm Flab: Two Exercises

Bicep Curl for the Front Arm:
FIGHT UPPER ARM FLABGrab a set up hand weights and stand erect with your feet about shoulder width apart. Weights down at your sides, palms forward. Remaining erect, bending only at your elbows bring the weights up towards you until they reach your shoulders.
Slowly return to starting position. Repeat 8-15 reps.
Pick a weight that will just barely allow you to complete the final rep in good form.

 

Triceps Extension for the Back of the Arm:
FIGHT UPPER ARM FLAB
You will probably need a lighter weight for this exercise because those muscles are often weaker.
Stand erect, weights at your sides, palms in towards your thighs. Remaining erect step forward with one foot and slightly bend the knee. Keeping arms straight, bring both arms behind you just at or above waist height. You should feel the contraction on the back of your arms. Gently lower down to starting position.
Repeat 8-15 reps.

Do these exercises every other day. You should expect some soreness. It’s common when you are building muscle. Doing the exercises every other day gives your muscles a chance to recover and grow. You should see results in about 3-4
weeks. You will be on your way to fight upper arm flab.

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Exercising With Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways. Bronchial passages become inflamed and narrowed in response to triggers like cold air, exercise, smoke, pet dander, dust mites and stress. Breathing becomes labored and difficult and in extreme cases, asthma attacks can be fatal. Asthma affects about 25 million people in the US according to the National Institutes of health, and 300 million worldwide.

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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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ShapeUp Outdoors

ShapeUpSHAPEUP!

I love to get out in the Spring after a Winter of exercising indoors. Even if you haven’t done much over the winter, the green smell of plants and flowers in the air and switching on to daylight savings time are great motivators.
Start with a duration you’re comfortable with and work your way up. I do some standing pushups and a couple of stretches at the end of my walk to round out the workout.

 

 

 

ShapeUp Exercises

No equipment necessary, just your favorite tree. Here is what I do:

Standing Pushups: Stand facing your tree and stretch arms in from of you, chest level and place hands on the tree a few inches apart. Keeping your body straight, slowly bend elbows until your chest is close to the tree and push back with a single thrust.

 

Work up to 20 reps. Works chest, and arms.

 

 

 

Back Extention: Stand facing your tree and stretch arms in front of you slightly below chest level.
Place hands on the tree a few inches apart. Keep arms stretched as you bend back lifting your head chin up while contracting your abs. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Stretches back.

Front Thigh Stretch: Stand facing your tree and hold on with your left hand. Grab your right ankle and gently pull heel towards buttocks. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Then switch legs. Stretches the front thigh muscles.

 

 

Shapeup and enjoy the process of getting and staying fit this Spring.

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FABULOUS FOREVER WORKOUTS

Fabulous Forever WorkoutsFABULOUS FOREVER WORKOUTS!

I’d like to remind you if you are still in that winter slump, to get moving again if you want to “live long and prosper”.

So to make it easy on you to spring into shape, do these 5 Most Important Workouts at least 4-5 days a week even if you begin with a little as 5 minutes a day working up to about 30 minutes.

Tip: Plan your workout:

Try to exercise as much as you can at the same time every day.

FABULOUS FOREVER WORKOUTS:

Have your workout clothes and accessories ready ahead of time so you can grab and take them with you or put on and go!

Fabulous Forever Workouts1. Aerobic Training

Feeling sluggish? Believe it or not a daily dose of aerobic exercise can help provide you with more energy and stamina. Aerobics is any activity that uses your large muscle groups like brisk walking, swimming, jogging, biking, climbing stairs, or low impact cardio dance. Starting out with as little as 5 minutes a day and building up to 30 minutes will help lower your blood pressure, increase your good cholesterol, HDL, improve your lung function, strengthen your heart, burn calories and elevate your mood.

Fabulous Forever Workouts2. Muscle Strength

Flab is one of those things we all really hate. What’s worse than wearing something that will reveal that little wiggle.

Studies show that if we do nothing we will steadily increase body fat as we get older.

So an inactive 25 year old woman may be at 23% (normal range of %body fat) but if she stays inactive by the time she is in her 60’s she can be as high as 43%.

The good news is this is completely reversible by adding some strength training exercises. And it doesn’t take much: just twice a week for 30 minutes or so.

Make sure you leave 24-48 hours in between for muscles to recover and grow.

Use your own body weight with push-ups (beginners can do them against a wall and modified squats or lunges. Start with a few and build up to 15 reps.

Or use resistance bands or hand and ankle weights. For this, you may need some professional help like purchasing an exercise video with a certified instructor, joining a gym or working with a certified personal trainer. Once you learn a simple routine you can do you can slowly increase the weight as you get stronger.

Tip: Start with 8 reps for each exercise. If you can’t finish the set the weight is too heavy. And if you can do a few more, you need more resistance. The key is to listen to your body.

Fabulous Forever Workouts3. Flexibility Training

When was the last time you could touch your toes? Or in the morning when you wake up do you feel stiff? If this sounds like you then doing a few stretches every day could help you move more freely and even reduce muscle aches and pains.

Here are 4 easy exercises that targets some those tight muscles:

Neck Stretch (try doing it in the shower when your muscles are warming up)

Back Stretch

Hamstring stretch

Calf stretch

Try holding the stretch for at least 10-20 seconds!

Try doing an easy stretch or yoga video or class even once a week can help increase your flexibility.

Fabulous Forever Workouts4. Balance training

Because we see in older adults a loss of balance, which results in more falls,” noted Holland.

— You can do this standing in line at the grocery store

— Stand on one leg and see if you can let go of the shopping cart

— Hold for about 10 seconds

— Also try standing on your tippy-toes and holding for a few seconds

— Balance should be done everyday — all you need is two to three minutes

Fabulous Forever Workouts5. Core training

“We see so many people as they get older avoiding their abs, which results in a bad back,” said Holland. “They’re not really supporting upper torso.”

— Try a few minutes of abdominal exercises

— Reverse curl while you’re lying in back and pull your knees into you

— Hold for five seconds and release

— Start with 10 reps a day and work your way higher

— Crunches are key — not full sit-ups — because some people can do more damage than good

— Keep back on the floor and don’t go all the way up

— Really concentrate so you can feel you’re abdominal wall contracting

— This will help support your back

 

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Fabulous Forever Health IQ Mirabai Holland

MIRABAI HEALTH-health-issuesReady to test your Fabulous Forever Health IQ?

As we are into a new year, it’s time to remind ourselves to be vigilant about our health and fitness. Test your Fabulous Forever health IQ with this at home quiz. Answers are at the end.

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Fabulous Forever Health  I.Q. Test Yourself Now!

Fabulous Forever Health IQ Self-Quiz
(answers at end)

1. What is the number one killer disease of women?
a. Osteoporosis
b. Breast Cancer
c. Heart Disease
d. Diabetes

2. What does osteopenia mean?
a. Low muscle mass
b. Low bone mass
c. Another word for osteoporosis
d. Strong bones

3. What is the normal % of body fat?
a. 15-20%
b. 22-30%
c. 25-35%
d. 30-35%

4. Which one of the following blood pressure readings is considered a risk factor for heart disease?
a. 110/70
b. 115/80
c. 120/80
d. 140/90

5.What helps to pick up metabolism?
a. Lean muscle mass
b. 1000 calorie a day diet
c. Sleeping 8 hours a night
d. Meditation

6. How much body fat does the average 65 year old woman have?
a. 30%
b. 37%
c. 43%
d. 50%

7. What is sarcopenia?
a. high muscle mass
b. low bone mass
c. high bone mass
d. low muscle mass

8. What is interval training best for:
a. Picking up the metabolic rate
b. Adding variety to your routine
c. Making it easy to get a drink of water
d. Both a & b

9. An optimal program for older people would include activities to improve:
a. strength, flexibility and coordination
b. eyesight
c. digestion
d. jogging

10. What body shape is the one that puts you at less risk for both heart disease and breast cancer?
a. apple
b. pear
c. banana
d. pineapple

11. To be at less risk for heart disease your total cholesterol should be:
a. Above 200
b. Below 200
c. Between 200-220
d. Between 220-225
12. Which is the “good” cholesterol
a. HDL
b. LDL
c. NDL
d. Margarine

13. How much exercise should you do?
a. At least 3-4 times a week, 30 minutes at 60-90% max heart rate.
b. At least twice a week, 60 minutes at 70-90% max heart rate
c. At least once a week, 60 minutes at 80-85% max heart rate
d. At least twice a week, 30 minutes at 70-90% max heart rate

14. What is the equation of finding your target heart rate?
a. 220-age x %
b. 200-age x %
c. 220 x age – %
d. 200 x age – %

15. What does aerobic exercise do?
a. Helps to stimulate metabolism and reduce LDL
b. Helps to develop stronger abdominals and back muscles
c. Helps to build a stronger heart muscle
d. a & c

16. What are the risk factors for heart disease that you can control:
a. Family history, age, menopause
b. Inactivity, excessive alcohol, and high blood pressure
c. Smoking, high cholesterol and triglycerides
d. b & c

17. How often should you weight train?
a. Every day
b. 3 days in a row, 2 days rest
c. 2-3 times a week, alternating days
d. None of the above.

18. How often should you perform a Breast Self-Examination?
a. every other week
b. Once a month (if still menstruating best time a week after the start of your period)
c. Once every week
d. None of the above.

19. When should you start getting annual mammograms?
a. After age 40
b. After age 45
c. After age 50
d. After age 55

20. What are the best types of exercise if you have had breast cancer?
a. Light strengthening and stretching exercises.
b. Walking and swimming.
c. High intensity strength training
d. a & b

21. 54 million Americans at risk for Osteoporosis; what % are women?
a. 60%
b. 70%
c. 80%
d. 90%

22. By the time women are 70 they can lose up to
a.15% bone mass
b. 20% bone mass
c. 30 % bone mass
d. 45% bone mass

23. As a woman goes through menopause what is the main factor that causes bone loss?
a. loss of estrogen
b. fatigue
c. hot flashes
d. light headed

24.What are the 3 areas at most risk for osteoporotic fracture?
a. Spine, neck, foot
b. Hip, shoulder, foot
c. Spine, hip, wrist
d. None of the above.

25. What type of exercise is not particularly effective for loading your bones
a. Weight training
b. Walking
c. Swimming
d. Jogging
ANSWERS: 1. c, 2. b, 3. b, 4. d, 5. a, 6. c, 7. d, 8. d, 9. a, 10. a,11. b, 12. a, 13. a, 14. a, 15. d, 16. d, 17. c, 18. b, 19. a, 20. d, 21. c, 22. c, 23. a, 24. c, 25. c

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