Tag Archives: Exercise

You Have the Time to Exercise

I saw a quote from Nike on a friend’s daughter’s website:

“A one hour workout is 4% of your day”

Do you really not have time to exercise?

Advertisements

Exercising can Help During and After Cancer Treatment

The following article was written by a fellow blogger,  Melanie Bowen.  Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Benefits of Exercising During and After Cancer Treatment

Whether your diagnosis is mesothelioma, leukemia, lymphoma, or any of the other forms of cancer, fitness can make a difference. While exercise alone may not cure you, it can aid your body’s natural healing abilities. There are many reasons a fitness program can help you during your battle with cancer.   
Creating a Positive Mindset

One of the most important things you can do for your body is to develop a positive mindset. When faced with a scary diagnosis, this may seem difficult to do. However, there is a lot of evidence that our mental state affects our ability to heal. This is called mind-body medicine and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there is a measurable correlation between mood and health.

Exercise is one of the most efficient ways to improve your mindset. During exercise, the body is flooded with oxygen and the brain releases endorphins that naturally improve health and mood. You do not need to spend hours in the gym each day. In fact, you should start out with just short sets so that you do not become overly tired or injure yourself. Speak with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program. Other medical issues you may have can determine what level of exercise is suitable for you.

Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gong

Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Gong are all known for their mind and body benefits. Practicing these increases oxygen in the blood, increases range of motion in the extremities, and contributes to a calmer mind. No matter what your current fitness level is, these exercises can be adapted to your needs. Some Yoga and Chi Gong forms may even be performed while lying down.

Aerobic Exercise

Energy levels often plummet during cancer treatment. Aerobic exercise raises energy levels by flooding the body with oxygen and strengthening the heart and lungs. Low-impact aerobic activities are easiest on the joints – these activities include bicycling, using a rowing machine and walking.

Strength Training

Many have trouble eating during some cancer treatments. This can cause rapid weight loss, which may include a loss of muscle. Strength training helps prevent some muscle loss, and strengthens both the bones and the muscles. Examples of strength training include push-ups, squats, working with resistance bands, and using weights.

Start your fitness program as soon as possible. During treatment, it will help you feel better both physically and mentally. After your cancer treatment, exercise can help you regain your strength and energy.

Three Years of Health and Blogging

Today this blog is 3 years old!  Cool, I’ve never managed to keep a journal for more than a few weeks, and I’ve been pretty faithfully posting here for 3 years.  I started this as a means of motivating myself to get back into shape (which you might have guessed from the name of this blog!)  For most of my adult life I was physically active and health conscious, but then I had a 2-3 year lapse while I was dealing with some personal issues.  I ended up gaining about 20 pounds, but even more troublesome was that my cholesterol and triglycerides went up to unhealthy levels.

Bench pressSo in February 2010, I took the first step…I went to the gym.  I also started this blog with this post   The goal of the blog was to 1) keep me motivated to get back into shape and 2) to share my journey and hopefully motivate others.

One year later, in February of 2011  I reported that I had lost 12 pounds, and had gone from barely fitting into the size 8 clothes I had to buy when I gained weight, back into my size 6 clothes.  I had also started making smarter food decisions and eating better.

In my birthday post in 2012 I proudly stated that I had lost most of the excess juicerweight I had gained, and more importantly that my cholesterol numbers were moving back down.  My objectives were to eat healthy are to buy (and use) a juicer and start buying organic vegetables.

Now, three years later, I am doing great!  I am exercising regularly, either running, weight training or practicing yoga. And over the past year, (as you may have noticed in my posts), I have completely changed my dietary habits.

fruits-vegetables-298x232 I am now eating a plant-based diet and have eliminated all dairy products.  If you want to know why I have eliminated dairy, you can check out my earlier post on dairy!  I did indeed buy a juicer and I use it regularly, and I eat mostly local organic fruits and vegetables.

I feel great; my running has improved, and since changing my diet my cholesterol has dropped 34 points and my triglycerides dropped to less than half of what they were!  I attribute this completely to my vegan diet.

My physical fitness goals for the upcoming year are to improve my running times to run a 5K in 24 minutes and a 10K in 50 minutes, to improve my flexibility so that I can stretch out over my legs and get my chest to the floor, and be able to 20 military push ups.

Phew, I have a lot of work to do, stay tuned…

A Tremendous Yoga Class

I’ve had a great week of yoga.  Since the Yoga Mala, I’ve been to class 3 times this week.  The first time was OK, I was a bit tender in the shoulders and legs so I took it easy.  Yesterday’s class was tough as  my shoulders and wrists were really feeling every Down Dog, Plank and Chaturanga.  I had to modify every move!

Today I was thinking maybe I should just rest (one of my favorite  mantras), but I really like Marla, the instructor who leads the Friday morning  class at 3 Bridges Yoga so I went — and it  was wonderful!  I was in the groove; my breathing was good, and my shoulders and wrists felt fine.  My big accomplishment is that I was able to get up into a forearm stand!

Happy 2nd Birthday!

My blog is 2 years old today!  I started this blog as   motivation to help me get back into exercise and healthy eating after a lapse in both.  I am very happy to report that I have been successful in terms of exercise, healthy eating, and blogging.

On the exercise front I manage to go to the gym a few days a week and workout with weights.  I am on a good program and have gotten stronger.  I also practice yoga 2-3 days a week and it feels great!  Last spring I got back into running and ran some 5k and 10k races and even ran a half marathon.  My times certainly weren’t what they once were, but I DID IT!

My eating has improved greatly. I even lost some of the excess weight I had gained.  I would be very happy to lose 5 pounds more, but as I have heard more than once, “it’s only a number”.  More importantly I managed to bring my cholesterol numbers back in line.  My next steps in my quest to eat healthy are to buy (and use) a juicer and start buying organic vegetables (more on that later).

Taking Care of Your Knees

I read a great blog post today, “Baby Boomers, You Kneed your Knees” It talks about the drastic increase in knee replacement surgery, and what we can do to protect our knees. While the article is aimed at older adults, the advise is relevant for everyone:

— keep a healthy weight,
— warm up before exercise and cool down afterwards
— use proper form and equipment
— exercise on a consistent basis, preferably 30 minutes a day 5 days a week
— don’t increase exercise intensity more than 10% a week
— mix in cardio, strength training, and flexibility

A New Season…A New Exercise Program

I had a great week of workouts. First of all, I decided that even though it is tremendous exercise (physically and mentally), I can’t continue with Bikram Yoga as it is all consuming. It truly requires a lifestyle commitment. While the class is an hour and a half, I have to plan to eat your meals at least 2-3 hours ahead of time; then to make sure I get a good spot in class (not in the hottest part of the room, near enough to the mirror to see yourself, but not in the front row), I have to get there about 1/2 an hour ahead of time. After class, my body doesn’t stop sweating for about 2 hours! So let’s see that is a 6 1/2 – 7 hour time commitment per class! Not to mention I didn’t have the time or energy for any other exercise.

So good-bye to Bikram (for now). I did however find a nice, calm, not too sweaty Vinyassa yoga studio. I went 3 times this week already. It isn’t anywhere near as intense as Bikram, but I felt good none the less. This yoga is a good complement to my weight training and running.

Next, I signed up for a running training program that culminates in the Market Square 10k in June. I know I could run my own training program, but as with anyone, motivation is an issue! I hope that by signing up for a program (and paying for it), I’ll stay on track. The group meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings with an optional run on Saturday morning. I should be able to fit that into my schedule just fine. And with spring weather coming sometime soon, it should be very enjoyable!

And lastly, I’ve stepped up my weight training program. I found that while I was practicing Bikram Yoga, I had to reduce my weights as it was too much to do both! I went to the gym and really worked hard twice this week, weights and cardio.

As I said, all in all it was a good week, 3 yoga classes, 2 days of cardio and weights. Next week we’ll add in some running…