mWhen fighting cancer, increasing your activity level with exercise carries many benefits. It helps to promote energy, build stamina, and improve self-confidence and mood. While many cancer centers offer free exercise classes for those who need encouragement and social support, home-based exercise programs can be just as effective in building strength and reducing the fatigue that comes with radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Exercise is emerging as being extremely beneficial in the fight against all types of cancer. In fact, a study by The National Cancer Institute found patients were actually averaging 12,000 steps a day, while those without cancer were recommended to try for 10,000. These results came from using resistance bands and walking. Participants were asked to work on increasing the number of steps they took per day and perform one set of 15 repetitions with the bands for three days per week. Gradually, participants increased their band exercises to include three or four sets.
What the study showed was that these small initial efforts to exercise by those with prostate or breast cancer gave the participants more strength and stamina to handle their radiation treatments. Those who didn’t exercise showed a marked decrease in their muscle strength. Since increased mobility, better balance, and improved physical functioning is essential to quality of life, even those with aggressive cancers such as mesothelioma or pancreatic cancer need to remain active in order to improve or maintain their current energy levels, strength and wellbeing.
Exercise shouldn’t be seen as a burden. That’s why patients who participated in the study were simply asked to try to improve the number of steps, repetitions or sets they performed per day. That’s extremely doable even for those who have difficulty breathing or who struggle with nausea. You aren’t competing with anyone else other than yourself. The beauty of exercise is that no matter how small you start out, there is always room to improve. If you can only walk two blocks today, try to walk two blocks plus a few more steps tomorrow. If you can only do a single repetition with a resistant band today, then try to do one and a half repetitions tomorrow.
Above all, don’t focus on what you can’t do. The purpose of exercise isn’t to make you feel bad about yourself. The purpose of increasing your activity is to give you the tools and increased sense of wellbeing you need to fight the cancer and improve your chances for survival.
Protein has been deemed by the World Health Association as “essential for optimum growth in children.” They also suggest that newborn infants require complete dietary proteins that contain about 37% of the weight in essential amino acids, while adults on the other hand, require about 15%.
Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and can be broken up into two different groups; Essential and Non – Essential. Essentials are not produced by our bodies so we must get them in the form of food or supplementation whereas the ” Non-Essential” can be produced by the body are no less essential than the “Essential.”
Protein is often a “Hot Topic” with all of the fad dieting going around; Atkins, South Beach, Medi -Fast and even Smoothie Diets to name a few. A lot of these diets are very high protein, low carb and high fat. Some are so extreme as to tell you not to eat Fruits and Vegetables, while others swear that no protein is the way to lose weight! While you may lost weight it will probably be water, gastrointestinal bulk and lean muscle tissue which should not be your goal…..
Tsk, tsk, tsk! Even if you aren’t an athlete your body still needs Proteins - aka (amino – acids), Carbohydrates - aka (Glucose) and Lipids – aka (Fat) These are your major Macro – Nutrients your body (including your brain) need in the right amounts to optimally function.
Now the that being said the nutritional requirements of any individual are directly based upon that person’s activity level, conditioning and goals. We could throw a few more variables in there, but you get the picture - your specific needs will be different from your neighbors and so on.
So how can you tell if you are gettting the right amount of Protein? Nitrogen! The answer lies in the structure of the amino acids. In addition to their composition of carbon and hydrogen atoms, amino acids have the unique characteristic of containing nitrogen as part of their molecular structure, which gives us the ability of measuring the nitrogen balance of an individual.
Rule of thumb is if you are looking to maintain the body mass you have you want equal nitrogen in and equal out. If you are looking to add lean muscle mass (such as an athlete) you want a nitrogen surplus. If you are deficient - you may want to bump up your protein intake.
Nitrogen can be measured by testing urine and there has been a test developed to test the amounts to give individuals and athletes a rough idea of their nitrogen balance. While it may take some time and tracking every day to measure, it should allow you to combine and test different protein sources and come up with your own individual protein regimen that is right for you.
Old age, repetitive movement, and genetic predispositions towards arthritis are all things that can cause severe joint pain and damage. I first heard about Hyaluronic Acid from one of my clients who had a lot of scar tissue and loss of cartilage in his knees from working for years under cars and doing tape and texture work – a lot of repetitive movement and stress on the knees. Before using the Hyaluronic Acid my clients knee joints would grind so bad that you could literally hear it – after just couple applications the grinding went away completely along with the pain!
Hyaluronic Acid is good for both your skin and joints. It is found and extracted from Cocks Comb ( that is the thing on top of a roosters head ) It is a key component in cartilage itself and is also found in Synovial Joint Fluid. Your joints are surrounded by a membrane called the synovial membrane and inside the membrane itself is the synovial joint fluid. This fluid acts not only as a lubricant for the joint cavities but a shock absorber as well. So if your body is depleted of this fluid or of cartilage itself it would only make sense to replenish it right? Did you know that our bodies are actually made up of different kinds of cartilage? The most abundant type of cartilage in our bodies is called Hyaline Cartilage. Hyaline Cartilage is what allows our bodies to move with flexibility and gives our joints support and strength. Our Cartilage is fed nutrients from the synovial joint fluid surrounding it, diseases like osteo arthritis depletes our Synovial Joint Fluid stores and the result is a further depletion in cartilage stores. So the next time those joints start giving you trouble instead of reaching for the Motrin go down to the local health food store and pick up some Hyaluronic Acid. It comes as a topical cream and as an oral supplement.
Its great to know your body fat percentage for many reasons – the main one being health. While knowing what your exact body fat percentage level is can be motivating, unless you are training for a sport specific goal that requires a certain percentage to compete, it isn’t necesary to know your body fat before starting a fitness regimen. Most people that have unhealthy levels of body fat – know by looking in the mirror specifically at the waist line area if they have a higher than desired body fat percentage, no brain surgery there. But when getting your body fat tested there are several different methods of doing so and they are not all equal:
SKIN CALLIPER – USES MEASURING THE SKIN FOLDS OF 3 OR MORE POINTS ON THE BODY 2-3 TIMES AND THEN CALCULATED USING A METHOD THAT COMPARES YOUR MEASUREMENTS WITH THOSE OF A SIMILAR GROUPS % LEVELS. THIS METHOD IS 2-4% ACCURATE AND IS MEASURING THE SUBCUTANEUOS FAT UNDER THE SKIN.
THE UPSIDE: WHAT MAKES THIS METHOD ATTRACTIVE IS THAT IT IS CONVENIENT, CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE ANYTIME AND IS LOW COST.
THE DOWNSIDE: IS THAT IF YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSON DO THE MEASUREMENTS EACH TIME OR THEY DO NOT MEASURE THE EXACT SAME SPOT OR PINCH THE SKIN DIFFERENTLY YOUR MEASUREMENTS WILL BE DIFFERENT EVERY TIME – LESS ACCURATE. IT DOES NOT TELL YOU HOW MANY POUNDS OF YOUR BODY MASS ARE MUSCLE VS. FAT.
BIOELECTRICAL IMPEDENCE – A LOW VOLTAGE CURRENT OF ELECTRICITY IS SENT THROUGH OUT YOUR BODY EITHER BY HOLDING ONTO A MACHINE WITH METAL PLATES OR STANDING ON ONE. BECAUSE FAT IS NOT A GOOD CONDUCTOR OF ELECTRICITY AND WATER IS THE MORE FAT YOU HAVE WILL “IMPEDE” THE CURRENT – SO THIS REALLY IS MEASURING THE AMOUNT OF TOTAL WATER IN YOUR BODY AND THEN YOUR FAT IS CALCULATED USING BODY WEIGHT, GENDER AND HEIGHT. THIS FORM OF MEASUREMENT IS +/-3% ACCURATE IF DONE WITH THE CORRECT GUIDELINES, MOST PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE THAT THERE ARE GUIDELINES TO GETTING AN ACCURATE RESULT WITH THIS SO HERE THEY ARE:
1. ABSTAIN FROM EATING AND DRINKING FOR 4 HOURS BEFORE THE TEST
2. AVOID EXCERCISE WITHIN 12 HOURS OF THE TEST
3. MAKE SURE TO EMPTY YOUR BLADDER COMPLETELY BEFORE THE TEST
4. DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL BEFORE THE TEST
5. AVOID DIURETICS PRIOR TO TEST UNLESS PRESCRIBED BY YOUR DOCTOR
UPSIDE: THIS IS A VERY COVENIENT PORTABLE FORM OF MEASUREMENT THAT REQUIRES LITTLE OR NO TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE TESTER OR TESTEE SO BASICALLY ANYONE WITH A MACHINE CAN DO IT.
THE DOWNSIDE: THE ERROR RATE IS HIGHER THAN OTHER METHODS A TOTAL OF 3% ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, AND IT TENDS TO OVERESTIMATE LEAN PEOPLE AND UNDERESTIMATE THOSE OVERWIEGHT AS FAR AS BODY FAT%, NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT UNLESS THE PERSON KNOWS ALL THE GUIDELINES BEFORE THE TEST AND FOLLOWS THEM EACH TIME THE RESULTS WILL NOT BE ACCURATE.
HYDROSTATIC WEGHING: THIS IS HAVING YOUR BODY FAT MEASURED BY BEING WEIGHED UNDERWATER AND IS THE GOLD STANDARD OF BODY FAT MEASUREMENTS. BASICALLY THEY DETERMINE HOW MUCH BODY FAT YOU HAVE BY HOW HEAVY OR LIGHT YOU ARE IN THE WATER. THE HEAVIER YOU ARE OR THE MORE YOU SINK IN THE WATER, THE MORE MUSCLE MASS YOU HAVE. THE LIGHTER YOU ARE; OR THE MORE YOU FLOAT UP IN THE WATER THE MORE FAT YOU HAVE. THE PERSON IS WEIGHED OUT OF THE WATER FIRST AND THEIR VO2MAX IS MEASURED ( HOW MUCH AIR YOUR LUNGS CAN HOLD) IN ORDER TO GET AN ACCURATE MEASUREMENT YOU MUST BLOW ALL OF THE AIR OUT OF YOUR LUNGS WHEN YOU GO UNDER WATER SO YOU DON’T FLOAT UP BECAUSE OF THE AIR IN YOUR LUNGS.
UPSIDE: THIS METHOD IS ABOUT 98% ACCURATE AND IS THE GOLD STANDARD OF TESTING. EVEN THOUGH THE PROCESS ITSELF USES MORE EQUIPMENT AND TESTING PROCEDURES AND REQUIRES A KNOWLEDGEABLE FITNESS CONSULTANT TO PERFORM THE COST IS RELATIVELY LOW – I HAD MINE DONE FOR $25 IN SACRAMENTO, CA.
DOWNSIDE: IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO PUT YOUR HEAD UNDER WATER OR HAVE DIFFICULTY BREATHING NORMALLY OR RELATED RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS THIS MAY NOT BE THE METHOD FOR YOU.
MY FINAL THOUGHT ON THIS IS IF YOU ARE GOING TO GO AHEAD AND GET THE TEST DONE AT LEAST DO IT RIGHT AND GET THE MOST ACCURATE RESULT YOU CAN.
As I was going through this months Fitness Magazine I saw something that caught my eye. The article was about a study done on women who after exercising were asked to view a racy movie clip. The study then monitored the women’s levels of arousal. It turned out that the women who had cycled 20 minutes prior to watching the clip had a 21% increase in arousal verses those who did not work out before! The main reason for the increase was do to heightened nerve senstivity and better circulation throughout the body from the exercise. As if looking and feeling better weren’t motivation enough! More cardio anyone?
As we all know February is recognized as National Heart Health Awareness month. Show your support and help the fight against Heart Disease by wearing red this month. The American Heart Association holds Heart Walk A Thons every year in California and accross the nation. The 2007 schedule of events is still posted on their website at www.americanheart.org In our local area of Stockton and Sacramento they are held in September, plenty of time to gather a group of friends together and make a difference. The AMHA site offers many local events you can participate in to raise awareness through out the year.
February is also the kick start of the GO RED FOR WOMEN MOVEMENT. Many people don’t know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in America. Get educated and get heart healthy by getting to know your personal heart health. When is the last time you thought about getting your heart a check up? Many of us only go to the doctor when we are sick or something is wrong. Take preventative measures this month and get your heart a check up, by having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. Even those of us who work out regularly and eat right are at risk – it could happen to anyone. Heart disease doesn’t discriminate! Ladies I strongly urge you to get heart smart. Something as simple as 20-30 minutes of cardio a day can help you maintain a healthy heart – physical fitness isn’t all about appearances its about living longer and stronger!
Okay you guys get ready, this is a long one! This is the shortest simplest way I could think of to explain a really compex subject! The Human body is Amazing!
In order to give you a better idea of what lactic acid is itself we must first understand a little more about a few other things first like the energy your body uses during workouts and the recovery process after an intense workout. In order for your body to repair the tears made to your muscle fibers during training, you must provide it with the nutrients that are expended during your workouts. Along with protein and carbohydrates; enzymes are also depleted during workouts. Examples of enzymes are aerobic ( using oxygen) and non aerobic ( not using oxygen) These enzymes are a vital role to better workouts and recovery; they allow the muscles to produce and store more energy thus providing a better workout that can be maintained for a longer period of time and at a higher intensity. Enzymes are what determine your lactate threshold, or how efficiently your muscles use lactic acid for energy. Yes your muscles actually use Lactic Acid for energy! Your body has three ways of resynthesizing energy (ATP) in the muscles when it is depleted. They are PC ATP, Lactic Acid, and Aerobic.
In order for your body to utilize energy it must be able to provide the muscles with oxygen. You may have heard the term VO2max – what that is, is a measuring system or test that determines how efficient your cardio vascular system is at supplying your body with oxygen. The better your body can supply oxygen to your blood, organs and tissues the better you will be able to perform at any given sport or exercise. But our Lactic Acid energy source is different it actually kicks in when there is no oxygen available – meaning it’s an anaerobic energy source. That means there is a direct connection between your lungs and the burning sensation in your legs while doing extensions! The better your cardio the longer period of time you will be able to go without feeling that burn – or lactic acid! Who knew?
Lactic Acid when most people are asked what it is or when asked to describe it only know it as a “burning sensation”. One of the most common exercises’ where people really feel this and complain about it is during leg extensions, and followed by the “O’h my god this hurts so bad, my legs are on fire” comments is the same question, why? Common answers you will get from most people are “You want the burn the burn is good, those last few reps where it burns means you had a good workout”. Again what is it, what does it do, and why?
Well the answer isn’t just that simple; in order to understand lactic acid you first will need to know about ATP. ATP is short for Adenosine Triphosphate when your body needs energy to move or exercise it uses ATP. During bouts of intense exercise your body can quickly deplete its stores of ATP, so to keep you from running out of gas it has 3 ways it can replenish those stores; ATP-PC, Lactic Acid and Aerobic.
When your body breaks down carbohydrates for energy the process is called glycolysis, because carbohydrates in their simplest form are sugars or glucose. Now when the sugar is broken down further it makes pyruvate and hydrogen which are released into the muscles and blood for energy, in order to utilize that energy your body needs OXYGEN. If there isn’t enough oxygen to break down the pyruvate (anaerobic glycolysis) happens which is what produces the lactic acid. (Anaerobic – without air) The lactic acid then surrounds and fills the muscle tissue to help replace the energy (ATP). Now your lactate threshold, how much you feel that burn and how quickly is directly affected by your VO2 max. So lets say for example you feel an intense burn in a very short period of time, it would be said you have a very low lactate threshold which in turn means that your body is not very efficient at supplying your blood, tissue and organs with oxygen. The more oxygen you can get throughout your body the higher your VO2 max will be and the higher your lactate threshold will be – because remember lactic acid is only created for energy when there is no oxygen available. Aerobic or oxygen is one of the three main sources that replace the energy stores emptied in your muscles while exercising. So now that you know what lactic acid is how it works and why take the information and run with it! Literally!
I have new found motivation to get that cardio workout in along with my weight training – they go hand in hand! Push yourself to go further! Increase that lactate threshold and intensify your workouts and build your best body this year! –