Exercise

Fitness and Nutrition Plans Key to Cancer Survival and Recovery, Says New Report

Newly diagnosed cancer patients that place an emphasis on their physical and psychological wellbeing have a better chance of survival and recovery, according to a report published by a group of charities. It could also help them access treatments which would have otherwise not been tolerated. 

“People are less vulnerable to the side effects of cancer treatment if they are as healthy as possible, physically and psychologically,” read the paper. 

The report by Macmillan Cancer Support, the Royal College of Anaesthetists, the National Institute for Health Research Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration, supported the notion of preventative action and “prehabilitation” as soon as possible. The charities suggest that cancer patients should seek out personalized recommendations to optimize their lifestyle, so maximize their resilience to treatment and improve quality of life. 

Prehabilitation includes quitting unhealthy habits, like smoking, intaking excess alcohol, sugar, and drugs, and adopting a more active lifestyle. Specifically, the new report says that those diagnosed with cancer should increase the percentage of fruits and vegetables in their diet, limit alcohol to a maximum of 14 units a week, maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking, and exercise at least 150 minutes per week. 

The report was backed by a series of studies showing that exercise can reduce chances of survival. For example, Yale University researchers found that a daily brisk walk of just 25 minutes lowered the mortality rate among women with breast cancer by nearly 50%. 

While the mental and physical weight of a diagnosis may make it difficult for people to jump to change their lifestyle for the better before treatment, the study offered expert advice for exercising with pain. 

Recommendations include “knowing your boundaries,” which means stopping before you feel significant stiffness and pain, and being okay with moderate soreness. For pain that will not resolve itself, it is important to connect with a physiotherapist or a personal trainer. 

To get all of the benefits of your workout while staying safe, you must also know the correct form. “Learn the right way to do big moves such as squats and deadlifts, as these are the moves where you can injure yourself or feel more pain,” said chartered physiotherapist Joseph Moore, from the Center for Human Performance. He recommends giving your body a 48-hour wait period between heavy or high impact muscle work. Within that period, you can do exercises that work other muscles, such as swimming.

Moore emphasizes the importance of stretching, which is vital for recovery and also lengthens and builds up muscle. 

“It takes the muscles through a full range of movement and helps blood flow, which flushes out the waste products such as lactic acid that might build up from your exercise programme.” He recommends yoga or Pilates once or twice a week.

“We want to see prehabilitation implemented soon after diagnosis so that people living with cancer feel empowered to improve their health and get the personalised care they need,” added Moore.


The Health Benefits of Kayaking

From Health Fitness Revolution

Excerpt: "How about taking a look at the world from a whole new angle? Grab a kayak and go exploring. Kayaking is great exercise and gives you an intimate view that really immerses you in nature. Its health benefits include:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Reduces stress
  3. Upper body workout
  4. Mental health
  5. Community
  6. Great source of vitamin D
  7. Builds positive self-image
  8. Core strengthening
  9. Tones legs
  10. Improves heart health

For more detail on the many benefits of kayaking, click here.

 


Why Do Muscles Shake After a Workout?

While it may feel alarming to experience muscle shakes after a workout, most of the time it is completely normal. Involuntary muscle shaking is typically caused by muscle fatigue or low blood glucose.

Muscle trembles after a workout can indicate that you are just not used to the level of intensity of your previous exercise, and therefore your body is not yet able to support that level of exertion without experiencing fatigue.

The means by which your muscles move efficiently is through different motor units, a group of muscles and a motor nerve in the spine, that work together to create a smooth muscle contraction. When you work out when you are tired, malnourished, or exerting above your ability level, some of the motor units simply cease to function and lead to shaking, as explained by Dr. Loren G. Martin, professor of physiology at Oklahoma State University, as cited by LiveStrong.

This is why we tend to get the shakes in or after a barre or Pilates class. Contrary to popular belief, our muscles don’t tremble during these exercises because we haven’t used them, but because we are isolating them more than we do in other forms of exercise, and therefore they become fatigued more quickly.

Working out on an empty stomach could also be the culprit. If your body does not have enough nutrients to fuel your muscles, your level of glucose, or blood sugar, will be depleted. This condition is known as hypoglycemia, and may lead to muscle trembles.

“This is the same concept as the blood and muscle glucose availability,” explains Lauren Kanski, a NASM-certified personal trainer based out of New York, as cited by Mind Body Green. “Working out fed versus fasted can make a huge difference in glycogen depletion. With regards to muscle fatigue, some muscle fibers tire faster than others, which causes irregular contractions, or shaking."

When muscles eventually rest, the shaking should stop.

So while the shakes may feel off-putting, they may actually be a sign of a successful workout and may indicate that we are growing stronger. Kanski notes that the idea behind strength training is to damage our tissue so that the body can regenerate new, stronger, and more durable tissue. That is the reason our bodies become sore.

If you wish to stop muscle trembling, the easiest way would be to lower the intensity of your workout until you are able to strengthen your muscles to a higher level. Another option would be to consider lowering the number of reps you perform per set, or increasing the length of time between your sets.

Eating a nutritious meal at least an hour before your workout can also help prevent muscle shaking. In particular, snacks high in carbohydrates or natural sugars, such as peanut butter or a glass of orange juice, can ease muscle shaking from hypoglycemia.

Other factors that may contribute to shaking after exercise include consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, alcohol withdrawal, caffeine intake, or other medications. Individuals experiencing stress and anxiety may also see it manifested in their body through trembles. In rare cases, a medical disorder that affects the nerves, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, can be behind muscle trembles.


Beach Volleyball: Fun and Fitness in One

From Health Fitness Revolution

Looking to get outside in the sun but need to make time for that workout? You may want to try beach or lake volleyball. There are many benefits to this fun outdoor exercise that you might have not even realized.

For starters, beach or lake volleyball can help improve hand-eye coordination, muscle tone, agility, flexibility, balance and increase energy. Along with all of that, you are getting outside, absorbing some of the sun’s health-giving vitamin D.

Playing volleyball on the beach or lake actually delivers more health benefits than a regular indoor game. The sand adds resistance, prompting your muscles to work harder which leads to greater strength and endurance. You’ll also burn more calories and expend more energy than running on the road which means you’ll get the same return on your workout in less time.

According to Health Fitness Revolution, “Sand volleyball offers the same energy-boosting benefits as all other physical activity in addition to being invigorating because the workout is outdoors and extremely social.”

For more on the many benefits of beach volleyball, click here.

 


Foundation Training: Laying the Groundwork for Health & Wellness

If you suffer from chronic back pain or want a way to boost your energy while minimizing your vulnerability to pain and illness, consider Foundation Training. It’s beginning to make a lot of noise in fitness and wellness circles. Here’s why: Our lives today come hand in hand with much hunching, slouching and sitting, an unhealthy mix of poor posture and inactivity that can add up to painful, life-limiting joint compression. Often, we don’t even realize we are putting ourselves at such a physical disadvantage or how it is impacting our mental health as well. Foundation Training is the effective antidote.

Foundation Training is a simple sequence of movements and breathing techniques designed to reverse the effects of joint compression. It can even minimize, if not eliminate, chronic pain from past injuries or illness.

According to FoundationTraining.com, “Through a series of postures, poses and movements, Foundation Training activates your posterior muscle chain, anchors the hips, decompresses the spine, and teaches you to take the burden of supporting the body out of your joints and put it where it belongs: in your muscles.” This workout relieves chronic pain by strengthening the muscles in our bodies that hold us upright every day, in other words, our foundation.

"Foundation Training enables one to reach, achieve and experience incredible health and wellness."

For more information, including where to find Foundation Training instruction, click here.

 


Kickboxing Your Way to Health & Fitness

Looking to improve your balance, power, agility and flexibility, all while increasing your fitness? Consider kickboxing.

It may sound intimidating at first but it is accessible to people at every level – from beginner to expert. Best, it offers health benefits to all, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you may be.

Kickboxing focuses on power over strength. As reported by ​Time​ in “How Kickboxing Can Change Your Body and Your Life,” power is more about force and speed and not as much about how much weight someone can lift. With its short intensive periods of activity, it burns more than eight calories a minute. It also improves coordination, even in extreme cases. Among people with multiple sclerosis, for example, kickboxing strengthens neuromuscular control which helps with balance, mobility and dual-tasking activities.

It is an incredible workout. It also helps people who do it avoid injuries caused by the dynamic motion required in sports such as pickup basketball or skiing. For more information on kickboxing, click here.

 


In the Swim

From WebMD.com | By Kara Mayer Robinson

Excerpt: "If you are looking for a great aerobic and total body-strengthening workout, then look no further. Swimming can provide all that and more.

"Also, if you don't love working up a sweat but do love the benefits of a cardio workout, swimming may be your ideal match. The water keeps you cool, even as your heart gets a great workout.  You'll probably be able to keep yourself going for a longer time than if you were running. That's because it's fun and gentle on your joints and muscles. The water can also feel relaxing.

"Note: If you have been a couch potato, or you have heart disease or other medical problems, check with your doctor first to see what kind of swimming program is right for you."

For the complete article including more on the areas swimming targets and additional benefits, click here.


Why Cross Training Matters

From WebMD.com | By Stephanie Watson

Excerpt: "Cross-training is ideal for anyone, whether you're a beginner who wants to get in shape or an experienced exerciser looking to take your fitness to the next level. It's the backbone of any well-developed exercise program. The wide variety of activities means you can choose what works for you.

One of the most common mistakes people make with exercise is repeating the same routine week after week. To continue to improve your fitness level and reap all the benefits of regular exercise, you need to keep your body guessing. Cross training does this for you. When you do the same activity over and over, you also set yourself up for overuse injuries. Cross training helps solve this problem, too.

Check with your doctor if you're new to exercise. Once you get the OK, cross training should be where you start."

For the complete article including more information on target areas, intensity levels and types of workouts, click here.


3 Low-Impact Exercises for a High-Intensity Workout

High impact workouts such as running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and boxing are a great way to quickly boost your heart rate and build strength and endurance. They also can put pressure on the body due to repetitive movement like jumping and pounding, and surely aren’t the only way to get a sweat-inducing workout in.

Low-impact exercise, while having a reputation for being “easier” or more gentle, can actually offer the same benefits, especially for those who need to avoid high-impact workouts. Some reasons individuals may want to take a break from traditional high-impact exercise include injuries in the joints, bones or connective tissue and chronic issues such as arthritis, osteoporosis or stress fractures.

Jump roping

While jump rope may look low key, the activity turns out to be one of the best cardiovascular workouts out there. Plus, it’s easy to incorporate into a daily or weekly fitness routine given it requires no additional equipment other than the rope itself and can be performed anywhere. According to the American Council on Exercise, jump rope reduces the chance of knee and lower-leg injuries, as cited by mindbodygreen. For those interested in burning more calories per minute, jump rope is a top exercise. A 160-pound person burns roughly 730 calories in 60 minutes of jump roping, per Livestrong.

Rock climbing

Looking for an exercise that will challenge and humble any beginner? Try out climbing. For those who don’t live close to an outdoor bouldering spot, or who would like to start out in a controlled environment and rent the right gear, there are a growing number of bouldering gyms across the country. Since rock climbing is significantly different than other types of exercise, it helps sharpen the mind, and can serve as a meditation. The nature of the movement builds precision, strength and balance. Climbing is also a very social sport, as there are often long periods of rest in between each climb, making it an ideal exercise for those seeking to meet new friends and build their community.

Rowing

Rowing, either indoors on a rowing machine or outside on the water, is a highly efficient workout that involves the entire body. Given your feet never leave the ground, the low impact exercise is great for those with problematic joints in the low body. For individuals who crave the competitive aspects of high-impact exercise, rowing is a non-contact sport, which means that you can still get the thrill of competition without the risk of getting hurt. It’s important to learn good technique, either by taking a rowing class or asking a trainer at the gym for a quick instruction.