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Family Day 2017 – Keep Them Exercising

Family Day 2017 – Making it About True Love – Exercise

For family day 2017, make it a true celebration of family love. Show each other how much you want to keep them alive and vibrant, for as long as possible. Make exercise a family affair.

I truly hope this true story, hurts you to action…….make this the most meaningful Family day…

Two and a half years ago my dad had fluke accident in our home, at the age of 87 he fell and broke his leg. Well, my dad is an avid tennis player, gym enthusiast, has a Nordic Track in his bedroom, and takes bike treks with his buddies (the ones 20 years his junior) for hundreds of kms. Even at his age, he had a fabulous recovery, blowing the minds of all health professionals who worked with him. Because he was (and still is at 89) an incredible athlete and remarkably fit, he had a full recovery, Thank God.

When this happened, as can be expected, my mother who is 8 years his junior, freaked out. She has always been, since I have know her, to be a chronic Jewish mother. Being the diligent, brilliant wife, she stood by his side, panicked with every movement, ache and pain. Let me mention a few minor details.
There is a live in housekeeper to help
There are 3 major exercise machines in that house: the Nordic Track, a treadmill and a recumbent bike. There are weights, resistance bands, lots of stairs connecting the 3 levels of the home ….zero excuse not to exercise
At this time, my mother also had a gym membership to a club 4 km from their home. She and my dad have a bicycle built for 2 that they regularly attracted smiles and coos from all, seeing a couple at their age, riding together. They actually looked like the hottest couple you could imagine.

I encouraged my father to continue to do exercises from his bed, knowing that irrelevant of his injury – his body was still depending on all that physical activity, and will not respond kindly if he just quit. Mom stood vigil by his bedside….worrying, nagging….as could be expected. I got after her to continue going to the gym – she loved her zumba class and had a few favourite machines. She refused to leave my father at all. He pleaded with her to go and look after herself (I think he also wanted the break!), being without any doubt the most stubborn person that ever walked this planet – she still refused. We all reminded her there are exercise machines in the house, multiple ways to exercise at home. BTW, my mother gets on a home machine, and suddenly 3 minutes converts to 30 minutes in her mind.

That was the beginning of the end, and nobody can convince me otherwise. Her physical activity came to a screeching halt, and since then she has had sporadic, at best, exercise and physical activity.

I begged, pleaded, showed her the studies on exercise against aging body and mind, chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, osteoporosis….we know the list goes on and on. She would try and convince me she exercised, I knew what she called a workout, I saw it many times. This is why I loved her taking the classes – it kept her going. I live 500 km from my folks, still,I skyped and spoke about it constantly with her. I got her to the gym when visiting me in Toronto, when I was in Montreal shamed her on to her home machines…. my dad was always after her – she always had a pathetic excuse….busy (really ?!?!?), tired (tired because she didn’t exercise) waiting for a phone call, the grocery delivery…..”I will exercise tomorrow!” – yes we all know what that means.

I have always said – there is one bad thing about exercise – that is, if you quit – your body has spiteful, retaliatory measures beyond the most devious, diabolical mind. Whether you have a broken leg, flu, busy schedule – your body does not care – it needs to circulate, refresh, respect and pamper that precious muscle mass……and yes of course modifications are necessary for every circumstance and condition. Exercise and physical activity are just as vital as breathing, eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth. Never quite exercising….if your child went missing, you would search with every breath inside. If you are short on time, have an injury,……You MAKE the time for physical activity. Not getting to the gym is NO excuse.

“The fitter you are, the harder you fall.”
– Harry Pino, a senior exercise physiologist at the Sports Performance Center at NYU Langone Medical Center

My mom had been a diabetic for about 30 years. She is a colon cancer survivor (23 years ago) – she is one of the great stories. Regular exercise, including both strength & cardio respiratory, are vital to diabetes and colon cancer prevention and recovery.

Family Day 2017 Celebrate with family exercise Best In Health Radio
Me and My Mom

Over the last 2 years, I have watched her fall apart, mentally and physically. It is now happening at a gasping speed. The neurodegeneration is devastating, clearly evident to all eyes. She cannot climb stairs, her biomechanics are so wonky that her walking is atrocious, destroying joints and causing intense pain. She is popping pain killers now, which my dad controls. She cannot get in and out of a bath, get off the toilet alone, her ability to remember, calculate, function is heart breaking. She was always the Scrabble queen…..that has gone with the muscle. Use it or lose it is a guaranteed fact about muscle mass. We have to use it much more (more does NOT have to mean intensity)  as we age……

This is not a necessity of “old age”.  A gentleman in my gym is in his late 90s and he runs up the stair master and makes us all feel like slack offs. Look at my dad. Sure, many of us know it gets more challenging as we age to keep fit, and the term fit is going to evolve and be defined differently as we age.

We don’t have to go to a gym to exercise. If you have time to breathe, you have time to exercise. If you have time to watch television or a social life, you certainly have time to exercise. Instead of that movie marathon on family day 2017, see how long you can all keep physically active together.
Someone keeps you on the phone? Get up and walk while they blab. You’re a busy mom? The very best gift you can give your child is you.

Ya know, my mom use to tell me all the time when my kids were young and I had to earn the living and raise my kids, I was terribly sleep deprived….she always told me:

“Shira you are no good to anyone dead.”

Author, My Mom

This is so unnecessary. Again, there is zero doubt in my mind this avalanche started when she quit exercising. I don’t believe in coincidence. My Rabbi once told me “coincidence was God’s way of remaining anonymous”. Maybe the exercise was staving off impending doom, we do not know. But I do know that this was the beginning of all of our heartache. I cry multiple times a day, as I work with people that were stricken by disease, and I watch the magic of exercise. I know I’m being a bit spoiled here – I am in my mid 50s and have my mom, unlike many of my girlfriends. This disintegration of her mind and body, was completely unnecessary – dare I say with my own mother – lifestyle induced. Then again, the CDC does tell us 80% of chronic illness could be prevented with appropriate lifestyle choices.

Exercise is truly our BFF in life. If you think “I tried exercise and it didn’t work” please think beyond the superficial. Think about muscles, bones, blood, heart, kidneys, liver, DNA, telomeres, cholesterol, immune function, brain, cognitive function, prevention of carcinogenesis, how many medications would be irrelevant with exercise……even if you don’t know what some of those are. Think about the very best possible Anti aging serum – we can all appreciate that.
I believe every miserable situation must have a silver lining that we have to seriously dig to learn. I am writing and publishing this with the hope it can be a silver lining to many people, and give them a massive kick in the … to exercise irrelevant of their excuses, or be successful in getting their loved ones to exercise.
Breathe life, exercise faithfully, be loyal to yourself and all those that you love. Exercise is beyond any shadow of a doubt, life’s breath.

The very best way to show love for another is by nurturing their health. Truly celebrate family day 2017 – celebrate your lives together as a family with exercise! I am spending family day 2017 with my mom  and dad and all grown up sons…there will be exercise (and Scrabble)!

I can’t make this stuff up – Check out the science….have a wonderful, meaningful family day!

https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/preventing-alzheimers-disease/search-alzheimers-prevention-strategies

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917219/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8282588

http://www.livestrong.com/article/555339-the-effects-of-stopping-exercise/

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host
Health & Fitness Educator

Shira Litwack – founder Best In Health Radio & Cell-Being – Best in Corporate Health, family day enthusiast

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator|Speaker

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Fitness Clubs of Canada, Medical Fitness Network, Recovery on Water, Willow (Breast Cancer), Sirius XM Doctor Radio, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Cancer Exercise Training Institute,  Urban Poling for Breast Cancer Recovery,

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions With Mindfulness

New year’s Resolutions – Making them Mindful

Unfortunately, New Year’s Resolutions are often made flippantly – maybe we really do have

New Year's Resolutions with Mindfulness

the best intentions, but no plan goes into integrating them into our busy lifestyle. Let’s face it – we are all masters of resistance to change. Change can very often be good.  Personal growth comes from change.

 

Now is the accepted time to make your annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~ Mark Twain

We all know what a new year’s resolution is – but let’s first talk about mindfulness – I think its become more of a cliche – rather than appreciating it for its full worth – kind of an oxymoron.

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. Focusing on this moment or topic, pushing aside other distractive thoughts. When we’re mindful, we observe our thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting our life pass us by, mindfulness means living in that moment learning  and awakening to experience.  In our world of priding ourselves on multitasking –  mindfulness, focus and most of all planning are tossed aside.

Only 8% of people who make resolutions attain their goal and  24% of people who make Mindful New Year's resolutions Best In Health Radioresolutions year after year never reach their goals. So this year – let’s be our own anomaly  – impress ourselves – and come up with a systematic plan – rather than flying by the seat of our pants.

For that decision to become a reality, it requires us to develop a series of habits, activities and supporting behaviors  that become second nature to us, and that will keep us moving in the direction of the goal.

1) Reality: we need to make them realistic – please no “I will learn to hate eating chocolate” or “I will lose 30 pounds by March.” So please make new year’s resolutions  realistic, sustainable goals. No setting ourselves up for failure.  Write out your plan – make sure it is realistic.

2) Choosing Our Best Support System:  I believe one of the most important of all is choosing carefully who we invest our time with. Example: Say we are really serious about quitting smoking this year. We know being around those who smoke is going to make it more difficult – for many reasons. Very often those people will try and talk us out of our resolution, as it makes them feel less guilty. Don’t go there. But share your new year’s resolution with people you know will support you, not lecture you, and cheer on your successes.

3) Ritualize: Psychology tells us on average it takes 2 months to form a new habit – of course this will fluctuate. Example: Let’s say we want to be physically active every day.. OK fine – we might not make it to that run, or the gym every day – but on those days we do not have a “workout” find something else to keep you in the activity mindset.  March in place standing at your desk, work with a resistance band while sitting down – pay respect to that resolution in some way every day, even if the activity isn’t for as long or as intense.

4) Expect to Hone Your New Year’s Resolutions: No my way or the highway – you might have to hone and modify your goal.  In the modification – add a timeline – how each month we can add a little something to fully reach or exceed the goal.

5) Inventory your Life: Take a good hard look at your life – what time zappers we can eliminate. No hoarding – clean up any clutter – emotional or material in your life.

6) Track and measure progress: It is well known and accepted that people who keep food and/or exercise journals have far more success with their goals. If the behaviour is worthy of a mindful resolution – it is worth tracking. Adding a section to your daily calendar – an app – whatever will be the most accessible for you to commit to.

7) Word Your New Year’s resolutions is a positive way: Design it as something you really want to achieve – not another miserable task you know you should do.

8) Add a Monetary Commitment: aka put your money where your mouth is. If you want to get in shape – hire a trainer – don’t just get a gym membership or an exercise machine at home. You know what the number one use of the home treadmill is? Hanging laundry. A trainer will keep you dedicated to your resolution, hopefully be fun and help you really love your resolution and want to continue.

9) Make New Year’s Resolutions You Actually Want to Achieve:  Only commit to a New Year’s resolution if it is something you want to do – not because you should do it. If it is something you should do – you first need to analyze it – and turn it into something that you mindfully – feel the worth and value outcome of the commitment. Change your mindset.

10) Identify Rewards: How do you know – how will you recognize you are achieving this New Year's Resolutions identify rewardsgoal? Will you feel physiological rewards? Example: Quitting smoking: focus on the reward of getting rid of the smoker’s cough, the self pride, visualize your lungs healing. Get those pictures of the smokers vs. non smokers lungs. Look up all those steps about how your body recovers from 1 day without a cigarette to 1 year and beyond. Add the mindfulness – know the rewards, track them, pat yourself on the back.

A healthy, happy 2017 all of us. Let’s remember, keeping healthy requires a mindful commitment, it does not just happen. May we become more mindful about ourselves, and the world around us. May we achieve all of our mindful New Year’s resolutions.

 

 

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host
Health & Fitness Educator

Shira Litwack – founder Best In Health Radio & proudly speaker at the International Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit December 2016:

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Fitness Clubs of Canada, Medical Fitness Network, Recovery on Water, Willow (Breast Cancer), Sirius XM Doctor Radio, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Cancer Exercise Training Institute,  Urban Poling for Breast Cancer Recovery,

Breast Cancer Awareness = Alcohol Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Necessitates Facing the Realities of Alcohol

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The truth is drinking alcohol is a game of Russian Roulette for breast cancer.

Fuel to the fire, alcohol to estrogen..… Alcohol is a cause of breast cancer. There is no such thing as a little poison, poison in moderation. Poison is poison. Alcohol is NOT our friend. One in eight women will get breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness:

All major cancer institutions agree – the 3 most influential lifestyle choices paramount to maintaining breast health are:

  • controlling body fat level
  • limiting alcohol
  • Being physically active

They are all important – being vigilant about 2, does not ease the burden of onus on the  third.  All 3  of these lifestyle factors have a common theme – they all either add to the estrogen load, or estrogen exposure (body fat and alcohol) or they ease the hormonal strain from estrogen (physical activity).

Women who are carriers of any of the inherited defective genes, BRCA, PALB2, HBOC… have a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Minimizing, even better eliminating alcohol would be an  outstanding prophylactic choice. Alcohol is also associated with an increased risk of recurrence of breast cancer.

 

Shira Interviewed on Rehabilitative Medicine, Doctor Radio Sirius XM, Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2016

A few myths to dispel and annihilate immediately:

  • A glass of wine a day is NOT good for you – not for your heart, not for any part of you
  • The health effects of alcohol start with the very first glass
  • Alcohol does not reduce stress, it causes physiological stress, oxidative stress, inflammation, cellular dysfunction.

“Moderation”, social drinking, are vague concepts perpetuated by those marketing alcohol       ….they are not representative of guidelines supported by  health professionals.  These are concepts people want to believe, and many health professionals believe they encourage people to drink more. True breast cancer awareness means we cannot hang on to old myths but must heed to current scientific research.

One drink equals:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

The National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. In 1988, the IARC (International Agency for Cancer Research) declared alcohol a carcinogen

The fact is that alcohol is a contributing factor to all of our major illnesses…heart disease, at least 7 types of cancer, liver disease, obesity, mental health issues, immune dysfunction,  with inflammation being at the root cause. I feel compelled to mention here heart disease kills more women each year than breast cancer, in fact, more women than all cancers combined.

According to the CDC, alcohol costs  each year:

  • 88,000 lives. According to the American Journal of Public Health, 20,000 cancer deaths in the US per year are attributed to alcohol. 15% of those deaths were breast cancer. This equals 6,000 breast cancer deaths per year in the US attributable to alcohol. What is even more shocking, studies in New Zealand showed that the majority of women whose breast cancer was attributed to alcohol, drank no more than “a glass a day”. A real slap of breast cancer awareness!
  • $223 Billion Dollars: health care costs, lost productivity at work, motor vehicle accidents, criminal justice system
Breast Cancer Awareness - Alcohol and breast cancer Best In Health Radio
The Many Health Effects of Alcohol: An interview with Cardiologist Dr. Holly Andersen, Surgical Urologist Dr. Andrew Siegel, Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Diamond & Public Health Physician & Author of the July 2016 study “Alcohol Causes Cancer” on Best In Health Radio

In July 2016, New Zealand Public Health Physician and Epidemiologist Dr. Jennie Connor released an extensive study commissioned by the Center for Addiction. The study was a compilation of thousands of world wide meta analyses studying the relationship between alcohol and cancer. The conclusion was that alcohol causes cancer in at least 7 sites in the body. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Connor twice. Once on her own, and the second time with a panel of 3 other health professionals I assembled, discussing the many health effects of alcohol: Dr. Holly Andersen, Cardiologist,  Dr. Michael Diamond Psychiatrist, & Dr. Andrew Siegel, Surgical Urologist.

Breast Cancer Awareness……..There are a number of ways in which it is thought that alcohol causes breast cancer.

  • Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
  • Girls aged 9 to 15 who drink three to five drinks a week have three times the risk of developing benign breast lumps,  which are associated with a higher risk  (500% higher risk) of breast cancer later in life. One particular of these studies from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr Graham Colditz study author states ‘“If a female averages a drink per day between her first period and her first full-term pregnancy, she increases her risk of breast cancer by 13 percent”. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 40% of college age women admit to binge drinking…..those that admit.
  • Alcohol (ethanol) is converted into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde in our body, damaging the DNA, in a number of possible ways and preventing cells from repairing this damage
  • Alcohol causes rapid regrowth of liver cells, which frequently have altered DNA
  • Alcohol is a solvent. When someone consumes alcohol and smokes they exponentially increase their risk for cancer as the alcohol enables the mutagenic chemicals in the tobacco to be better absorbed into the body
  • Alcohol is a cause of oxidative stress, producing ROS – Reactive Oxygen Species which alter the DNA
  • Alcohol encourages the body to store fat. It provides the body with almost  as many calories as fat, yet there is no benefit to the body, only burden. We know body fat cells can be thought of as active endocrine glands, secreting hormones upsetting hormonal balance. Hormonal balance is critical in disease prevention.
  • Still being studied…alcohol interferes with folate metabolism – which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer
  • As I try and mention in every article I write, our muscle mass is our BFF – Best Friend Forever – protecting us from illness in numerous ways, their great looks is merely a reward for good effort. Muscles are critical for immune function, sugar regulation, metabolism…just to name a few. Alcohol lowers testosterone levels (critical for both men and women to build muscle and as we mentioned earlier raises estrogen levels.  Alcoholic Myopathy – Alcohol destroys muscle mass AND interferes with protein synthesis, not allowing the body to build more muscle mass. In an alcohol free body – studies have shown us people have the ability to grow muscle mass well into their 90s. Alcohol also depletes the body of many vitamins and minerals critical to muscle growth.
  • Alcohol dehydrates, proven in numerous studies hydration is a key step in cancer prevention

Abstaining from alcohol for periods of time and binge drinking (defined as 4 or more glasses of alcohol per sitting (see measures of a glass above) is associated with pancreatic cancer.

A glass of wine a day is not good for the heart. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 500mg of Resveratrol ( used as the rationalization that wine is healthy) are necessary to provide health benefits. A glass of red wine has 12.5mg of resveratrol. To meet the potential health benefits of resveratrol would require drinking 40 litres of wine per day. Older studies which tried to claim that a glass of wine a day was good for you have been dissected, proving what was thought as a benefit of the alcohol, has been attributed to other factors, not the alcohol. The scientific methods in these studies was painfully loose. I think we can all think of a number of heart smart activities!

The bottom line is: Alcohol is a carcinogen and increases our risk of cancer, especially breast cancer. Breast Cancer awareness necessitates accepting the realities of alcohol on breast cancer. It increases our risk of most chronic diseases. We can still engage in the many social aspects of drinking alcohol, we can substitute the alcohol with other choices…….save our money and our health!

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host
Health & Fitness Educator

Shira Litwack – founder Best In Health Radio & proudly speaker at the International Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit December 2016:

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Fitness Clubs of Canada, Medical Fitness Network, Recovery on Water, Willow (Breast Cancer), Sirius XM Doctor Radio, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Cancer Exercise Training Institute,  Urban Poling for Breast Cancer Recovery,

Genetic Counselling BRCA Testing

Genetic Counselling BRCA Testing

Knowledge is Power. Now our job is to prove this to the world. Seeking genetic counselling BRCA testing could empower you to live a healthier lifestyle.
We so often want a crystal ball to gaze into our future. We have a number of crystal balls. These are crystal balls based on science and research, customized to our own unique DNA. I am referring to genetic testing, specifically BRCA testing.
With all of our many loves, accomplishments, dreams…they are all for not without our health – health is the very greatest wealth of all. There is a cliche out there – but it is most unfortunately Oh so true….Youth is wasted on the young, which goes hand in hand with hind sight is 20/20. My plea here is that none of you fall into this abyss, and you opt for earlier genetic testing.

If you were cruising along on a mountain road just beckoning us to speed, would you slow down if you knew there were a cliff with a 500 foot drop around the next bend? Of course you would.

genetic counselling BRCA testing
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host

My #1 goal of this article is to empower people to take charge of their health’s destiny – speak to health care professionals – every one of us can prosper from a good MD and ND. Open dialogue with a number of health care professionals, and determine if genetic testing is right for you.

We have the power for genetic screening for BRCA1 BRCA2 and PALB2. All three genetic mutations are associated with a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

A breast cancer, BRCA gene test is a blood test to check for specific gene mutations that help control normal cell growth. Finding changes in these genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2, can help determine the chance of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

The BRCA gene is a tumor suppressor gene. The BRCA gene mutation is also associated with male breast cancer, fallopian tube cancer, peritoneal cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer. BRCA1 & BRCA2 are responsible for producing a tumor suppressing protein. Tumor suppressor proteins help prevent cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or uncontrollably. When there is a mutation in these genes, they do not produce the protein, or it does not function properly, therefore threatening the stability of the cells by the cell not being able to repair damaged DNA. Our cells take hundreds of hits daily from oxidative stressors in our lives, our bodies must be equipped to repair, otherwise, serious illness results.

Let’s consider some data on BRCA and breast/ovarian cancer. (cancer.gov)

  • 12% of women in general population get breast Cancer
  • 55%-65% of BRCA1 carriers will develop breast cancer before 70 years of age
  • 45% of BRCA carriers will develop breast cancer before age 70
  • About 1.3% of general population will get ovarian cancer
  • 39% of women with BRCA1 and 11-17% with BRCA2 will develop ovarian cancer before 70
  • Mayo Clinic: BRCA gene mutations are responsible for about 5 percent of breast cancers and about 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers.

Most women with breast cancer and/or a family history of breast cancer do not have an abnormal gene, and not all women who have inherited one of these genes will develop cancer.

Genetic testing is a subset of genetic counselling. I am NOT a genetic counsellor…but I do know the incredible power of proactively planning lifestyle choices over reactive planning. Genetic counselling is the process by which we can learn and understand relevant aspects of our own genetics, offering us assistance in clarifying options available for any decisions that might be necessary with the newly acquired genetic insight. The psychological component is emphasized equally to the physiological aspect – blood sampling. However, it is equally important to research where you would like to do your genetic counselling. Many doctors offer testing, however, please seek out in your community genetic centers, which can often offer more in-depth consultations by genetic counsellors.

There are a number of choices available if the BRCA1 or BRCA2 tests are positive. And I feel very compelled to remind everyone here, testing negative does NOT give you a get out of jail for free card. A life to prevent cancer is the healthiest lifestyle of all.

If the genetic tests are BRCA positive a genetic counsellor will help you plan and make decisions. Again, various options are available:

  • Prophylactic mastectomy -removal of both breasts,…has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women by about 90%. However, people need to be alerted breast cancer testing changes after a mastectomy. To be discussed with your counsellor.
  • Prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy, or removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes, reduces breast cancer risk up to 50% if done before menopause, as it takes away the body’s main source of the hormone estrogen. It also can greatly reduce ovarian cancer risk.
  • Hormonal therapies
  • Discuss pros and cons of modified screening procedures
  • Opt to modify lifestyle choices
  • A combination. a woman who is tested in her early 20s might decide to modify lifestyle choices, and opt for prophylactic surgery later….this is what genetic counsellors will discuss with you.

One of the many perks of having genetic testing at a younger age, is having the knowledge and power to make lifestyle decisions that can impact your life. These lifestyle choices will not only help prevent breast and ovarian cancer, but are guidance to prevent all of our chronic illnesses.

Please remember, screening does NOT replace a proactive lifestyle and vice versa.

Some of the well documented choices to prevent breast cancer include:

  • Limiting alcohol. Even one drink a day increases risk of breast cancer, and it takes very little more to dramatically increase the risk.
  • Don’t smoke, and this includes “vaping”
  • control body fat levels
  • Exercise and physical activity. However, I feel compelled to mention that excessive, strenuous exercise can be a source of oxidative stress. This is where you need to consult with a qualified exercise professional – specialized in cancer and medical fitness. Many exercise professionals are completely unaware of this. Our outer being does not necessarily reflect our cellular health.
  • Breast feeding: Many women choose not to breast feed. Another potential reward of earlier testing is making the choice to breast feed. According to the Mayo clinic breast feeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer. The longer we breast feed, the greater the reduction.
  • Far too overlooked – learn about potential oxidative stressors, mutagens, viruses, toxins in your life that could potentially lead to DNA damage. Every one of us need to evaluate our level of oxidative stress.Genetic counselling BRCA testing could give you that push to learn about one of our greatest threats to our cellular health.

Most unfortunately, in this world we must consider legal implications of genetic testing. One more aspect of genetic testing I urge everybody to look into in GINA….Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, prevents your insurance company from denying coverage or changing premiums on the basis of your genetic testing results. It also protects from discrimination by employers on the basis of the test or its results. However, it is not as clear cut with other insurance policies, such as life insurance. I urge everybody, as part of planning to look at:

United States:  Cancer Legal Resource Center’s national Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC)

Canada: May 3, 2016 – Bill S-201: An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination was tabled in the House of Commons. A number of provinces already have legislation – best to check with your MPP office to see where the genetic discriminatory laws stand.

The “deer in headlights” refers to being caught off guard – eyes opened wide and forcefully, but no ability for motor response. A terrifying thought. Genetic counselling BRCA testing can prevent the deer in headlights. There are many of us who can live longer, happier, healthier lives, more confident lives, my consulting with a genetic counsellor. A counsellor can help you weigh out the decision to have or not have testing, based on YOU. And for many reasons, our chances are increased dramatically the earlier we have this knowledge and can be encouraged to make wiser decisions.

Genetic counselling BRCA testing………Knowledge is power.

Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

 

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host

Breast Cancer Recovery with Pole Walking

Breast Cancer Recovery with More Cancer Exercise

Breast cancer recovery demands a solid, safe cancer exercise program. Yes, exercise and physical activity are vital to any healthy lifestyle, disease prevention or recovery program. Please may I introduce you to another great exercise partner – pole walking.

I have had the pleasure of a new walking buddy – a set of 4life poles from Urban Poling. I would like to share with you some of the wonderful health benefits, especially as part of a  breast cancer recovery program. Even better…Urban Poling donates 2% of all proceeds to breast cancer research…..And….Urban Poling donated poles and training to cancer wellness centres in Ontario, BC, AB and Dalhousie university in NS.

Lymphedema is a possibility in breast cancer recovery as with any cancer treatment involving lymph node removal or radiation. Survivors should always consult their health care professional for:

a) Permission to resume exercise, and be aware of any contraindications

b) Recommendations for compression garments and proper fitting

c) Cancer exercise is different. Contraindications must be avoided. Maximize the benefits. Many stereotypes over exercise can be dangerous. Work with someone who is specialized in cancer exercise.

Yes, caution and vigilance are a necessity, but a thorough, carefully planned fitness program is a crucial part of disease recovery, and a healthy lifestyle for all.

Breast Cancer Recovery with Best in Health Radio
Live Laugh Love ……Liberate with Best In Health Radio Health Processes

The obvious that stands out about pole walking for breast cancer recovery is helping people (men and women) with range of motion challenges often faced after treatment. However, there are many other aspects of pole fitness I would like to point out. Far too often in recovery from breast cancer, or any surgery, the immediate surgical area is focused on, the truth is the entire body, is the immediate surgical area.

Think of our body as an ecosystem. Every part of the ecosystem has a crucial function, and when one part is struggling, the entire ecosystem is compromised. When trained properly in form and cardio respiratory management, pole fitness can be a valuable partner in balancing and optimizing the ecosystem by:

  • a wide range of cardio respiratory training options
  • Range of motion and flexibility training
  • metabolic support
  • Development of the Power pump muscles
  • Body fat management and lean muscle mass development
  • affordable and attainable
  • Balance, core strength & postural training
  • hormonal ….mood balance
  • minimizing side effects of treatment – during treatment and beyond
  • Social aspects
  • Fun = adherence

All of these are performance partners in an  effective exercise program, but are also beneficial to lymphedema prevention. Let’s remember lymphedema can happen any time after treatment…even 20 years later.  Unfortunately as a person ages, fitness levels are much harder to maintain. Changes in body fat percentages, lean to fat ratios, can be dangerously conducive to lymphedema.

Cardio respiratory training is vital – and it is critical to include a broad range of training – target heart rate zones are far too often over looked. Health care professionals might recommend a particular target heart rate zone to be respected faithfully. Even for those ready to train in higher zones, it is still important to vary training from easier demands of 40% capacity up to the higher ranges of 75-80% capacity. Constantly training in the more vigorous range can be a source of physiological stress and oxidative stress. Far too overlooked in conventional training – we should all make disease prevention a focus of our training. Many traditional training beliefs are not wise for disease prevention.

Something that women are often far more guilty of is appreciating our muscle mass. Simply put, out muscle mass is our BFF(best friend forever)  in life. Besides the obvious functions, little known is our immune system is helpless without strong muscles. Muscles are the pump of the immune system. Our power pump muscles as I refer to above are our gluteal and leg muscles. Strengthening the power pump muscles is vital for heart health, venous return (VR) to the heart. VR is the flow of blood back to the heart. Muscles are also vital for metabolic control, adiposity management, hormonal and mood control.

The 4Life poles are fully adjustable – allowing a proper fit. It is a very difficult exercise for me to be at the gym, watching MOST people destroying their posture on the machinery. Most people have compromised posture due to their day to day activities – screen time, driving, poor muscle balance…rounded shoulder syndrome, spinal subluxation (misaligned back), exaggerated pelvic tilt.  Good posture affects every aspect of bodily function, comfort, and healthy aging.

A feature of the 4Life poles I especially appreciated was the lack of vibration. Many poles you feel a rippling through the body – not cool. Those vibrations add up to stress on the joints over the years. At every age, we must prioritize keeping our body “young” flowing smoothly.

The handles do not have straps – personally I find straps a nuisance as well as a potential danger. There is no hand cramping or sweaty palms due to the shape.

Every major city has pole walking clubs – and if you do live in a town without, or there are no groups near you – start one. We are social creatures. An analysis by Stats Canada provided convincing data highlight “the importance of frequent social participation to maintaining quality of life.”

“The greater the number of frequent social activities, the higher the odds of positive self-perceived health, and the lower the odds of loneliness and life dissatisfaction,”

Physical activity within a group – being part of a pack – greatly increases chances of adherence.

Breast Cancer Recovery with Cancer Exercise Specialist Shira Litwack
Shira Interviewed on Sirius XM “Doctor Radio” for Breast Cancer Awareness month

And speaking of adherence…….the fun factor with the 4Life poles…..I have never met anyone looking for another torturous, miserable thing to do in their life. Pole walking is fun and exhilarating.  It becomes a focal point of our schedule. And yes, living in Canada – the weather is a brutal reality. I actually used the poles with indoor training with clients. ………We called it – Dancing with the Poles!

I leave the 4Life poles in my front entrance – they are always clean and sparkling as they are durable and very washable looking brand new. They are a source of intrigue (unfortunately I find most people are unaware of pole walking) and motivation for the many people of all ages that come through my home.

Exercise should not be an intrusion in our lives, and should be something we look forward to. After using the 4Life poles  for a few months – myself and within my medical fitness practice – whether it be outside winter and spring or inside Dancing with the Poles” …..they provide hours of invigorating and fun, complete exercise. Get trained with them properly, and reap the benefits for years!

Choosing a mattress for your health; health coaching best in health radio

Diet and Cancer- 4 Hour Webinar

Diet And Cancer – A Live 4 Hour Interactive Webinar:

Diet and cancer – prevention and management – a topic of great concern to all of us.

…diet is a major force in creating an inner biology that is hostile to cancer. In this 2 part webinar, we will learn, study the research, on the many ways we can help prevent cancer with diet including:

  • The Digestive Tract – The Root of All Illness
  • Food Chemistry: Repairing or Damaging our DNA
  • “Anti-Cancer” Foods
  • Nutritional Epidemiology
Diet and Cancer Live Interactive Webinar with Shira Litwack Best In Health Radio
Diet and Cancer – Live 4 hour Interactive webinar

You are what you Eat, Digest and Absorb and…..You are what you eat…and what it ate!!!!

WHO: Dietary factors are estimated to account for approximately 30% of cancers in industrialized countries, making diet second only to tobacco as a theoretically preventable cause of cancer

Whereas 90% of cancer is thought to be acquired genetic changes (ie. not hereditary), of that 90%, 50% is thought to be easily modifiable lifestyle habits. Smoking, diet & physical activity control the majority of that 50%.

The right diet can also help:

  • Stop smoking
  • Attain more success with physical activity and exercise
  • Minimize the damage of potentially mutagenic exposures
Diet and Cancer – Outline

Diet and cancer – Diet is thought to be next to Not Smoking the most important factor in cancer prevention.

Webinar Outline

Science

  • understanding studies
  • questioning “fact” – At what point do we accept research as “fact”
  • The Range of statements from different institutions

Integrative Medicine

  • the role of nutrition in integrative medicine
  • D.I.E.T. – The best 4 letter word of your life!

Digestion 

  • Feeding….Digesting…..Absorbing…….
  • Peristalsis……Elimination

Nutritional Epidemiology

  • Nutrition and Carcinogenesis
  • Studies on Diet and Cancer
  • Biomarker Analysis
  • Nutritional Therapy in Cancer Treatment Protocol….Indication of Prevention?

Orthomolecular Medicine

  • Supplementation as treatment
  • Caution
  • contraindications

The Macro, Micro, enzymes….Nutrition Creating Our Inner Biology

  • The many components of an “anti cancer” diet
  • Isolating and Analyzing the food, or the food with added pollutants….
  • Qualifying as “Anti Cancer” food
  • Fighting Oxidative Stress
  • Assessing individual needs
  • Attacking mutagenic agents with nutrition
  • Food Combining

Nutritional Roulette:

  • Creating an imbalance – nurturing mutations
  • Our food supply
  • Chemicals manipulating our DNA….Repairing or damaging
  • ingesting toxins, bacteria, viruses

Food, Feeding and Circadian Rhythms

  • High Efficiency Metabolism
  • The brain chemistry of cravings
  • “Recreational” Foods
  • Changing dietary habits – the science of success

Diet and Cancer – A Summary

Our Nutritional Action Plan – Inventory

Webinar Cost $50 USD.

*** Enrol in the Living a Life to Prevent Cancer Webinar   & Diet and Cancer – Get both webinars for $75.00 USD

Any questions on the webinar – please contact Shira Litwack: Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Prevent Cancer health and fitness webinars for cancer recovery and cancer prevention

Living a Life to Prevent Cancer – Webinar

Prevent Cancer – The Healthiest Lifestyle of All

Join us for this 4 hour webinar, learning the many ways to prevent cancer. Cancer is a gene mutation. As healthy a lifestyle we believe we are living – know the hidden saboteurs, according to latest research. The webinar is divided into 2 hours, on 2 evenings.

Next webinar: November 2: 8-10 p.m. eastern     November 9:  8-10 p.m. p.m. eastern.

Live, interactive, participate, ask questions, learn with people from around the world

*** This webinar is open to the general public, and as a continuing education credit  for the Cancer Exercise Specialist  designation from the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. *****

Living a Life to Prevent Cancer is the Healthiest Lifestyle of All

Living a Life to Prevent Cancer Live interactive webinar

 

Many of the basic strategies to cancer prevention are key in prevention to many of our chronic illnesses.

The same triggers that cause a gene to mutate, are at the root of many of today’s common illnesses including heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, arthritis……many of these triggers come from easily modifiable lifestyle choices. Create an inner biology hostile to cancer, to prevent cancer.

Webinar Outline:

 

Understanding Studies and Research

“Science is not a body of facts, Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not. We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from climate change to vaccinations—faces furious opposition.”

How to make our own decisions. We present the research and statements of many respected studies and cancer institutions. But we learn studying science, even facts accepted as “engraved in stone” are still challenged.

What is Cancer

  • Understanding cancer at the cellular level –
  • Understanding why our world is cancer friendly
  • Feed healthy cells starve cancer cells – creating a inner biology hostile to cancer
  • The genetics of cancer:  heredity vs. acquired (somatic)
  • Genetic testing and counselling ….points to consider making the decision.
  • The “heredity” of lifestyle choices

Our world of inflammation and oxidative stress

  • Physiological stress
  • Oxidative stress
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Mutagens
  • Carcinogens
  • Viruses and bacteria
  • Identifying culprits in our every day life
  • Optimizing our immune system against the constant bombardment

Exercise…. The Magic

  • Your BFF in life…..Your muscle mass
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Sedentary is the new smoking
  • Elements of a complete exercise program
  • Research and data on exercise and cancer prevention and cancer recovery

Nutrition….

  • Why are there so many differing opinions on a healthy diet?
  • A healthy digestive track…Lessons from ancient medicines and naturopathy proven in science
  • The macro and the micro, antioxidants, detoxification
  • Feeding Cancer Cells
  • Research on anti cancer foods
  • Our food supply under sabotage
  • Supplementation

From Stress to Laughter

  • The chemistry of stress
  • Research on common everyday stressors and impact on health and cancer
  • Physiological Stress
  • Common Methods of reducing stress – creating more physiological stress

Working with our Health Care Professionals. 

  • Being a proactive patient
  • The world of Integrative Medicine – Its about time
  • Diagnostics vs. Proactive
  • Developing our Cancer IQ – passing on Healthy Lifestyle Heredity to our families

 

Webinar Cost $50. Includes:

  • 4 hour webinar
  • Course Workbook
  • Online coaching followup at 50% savings
  • Complimentary Copy of I Am With You

Email to register, or directly via paypal

Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

 

Register here on Paypal for the general public. For those registering as continuing education credits please register  at http://thecancerspecialist.net/events/ part I & II  under ceu for professionals

Breast Reconstruction Exercise

Exercise for Breast Reconstruction – Feeling Your Sexy Back!

As many of you know, breast reconstruction can be a very long and winding road. However, you do have the option of of a personalized guide through that journey –

Exercise, the right exercise.

Feeling Your Sexy Back! I’m not going to say getting your sexy back – because you didn’t lose it – maybe misplaced it for a little while. Exercise will awaken all those neurotransmitters, endorphins, muscle activation, mindset……that physiologically constitute your inner sexy.  I actually challenge you to realize – you can further optimize that very hot button of inner sexy, post reconstruction!

Exercise for Breast Reconstruction Best In Health RadioThere will be variations in all of these points based on your own unique situation (over 20 deciding parameters!). However, all of these are integral partners of post reconstruction exercise.

Exercise can take that inner cacophony, and turn it into a blissful symphony. Let us count the ways…..

1) Posture post Breast Reconstruction. I think posture is #1 to feeling our sexing back, physiologically and psychologically. Grandma did tell us to sit up straight and eat an apple a day, both are excellent pieces of advice. Posture is a critical component to breathing, balance and effective performance of our entire body. Rounded shoulder syndrome  (RSS) is all too common to start with in our high screen time world. Reconstructive procedures can create or exacerbate RSS. Good posture though, is not as simple as sit up straight. I urge EVERYONE  to seek postural evaluations post reconstruction from a trained physiotherapist, specialized exercise professional. Posture is NOT DIY (do it yourself). Learning the intricacies of posture, and implementing them into your daily life, will make all the difference for a full, successful recovery from the reconstructive procedure, your quality of life, success with exercise…and feeling your sexy back!

2) Range of Motion: Sure, the first thing we literally ache for after reconstruction is pain free ROM, which also allows us to carry on with our normal, every day functional demands.

ROM exercises can also be easily combined with lymphedema prevention exercises, which are a necessity with most people.

In working with ROM there are certain exercises, when permission is granted from your health care professional – you can practice on your own. These are “Active ROM” exercises.

When working with a health and fitness professional, they can perform “passive ROM” exercises to further improve your ROM – and provide you ways to practice these at home.

Alway start all exercises with NO extra weight

3) Power Pump Muscles: Far too often I see people train the local area of reconstruction only. It is imperative to train the entire body to support recovery. Working the lower body muscles….glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower leg muscles….We know it is important to fend off excess adiposity (body fat) in breast cancer recovery. The power pump muscles are great calorie burners.

Even more importantly, good strong power pump muscles given a greater force for blood return back to the upper body – the heart and brain.

Muscles are our true BFF in life – Best Friend Forever, but unfortunately they are the ultimate example of use it or lose it. Cancer, cancer treatments, Breast Reconstruction and age all attack our muscle mass. Safely working those power pump muscles is a critical aspect of healing and recovery, and yes, prevention of metastases.

4) Cardio Respiratory Fitness: I said fitness, not bop till you drop.  The correct CRF is the strength training for our heart. It does not have to be at a gym, and is important we pump our circulatory system regularly through out the day. Tracking out heart rate, optimizes the efficacy of CRF.

5) Static, Mindful Exercise: One of the most misunderstood aspects of exercise is the importance of both dynamic and static exercise. Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Meditation – when performed properly are true mind, body and soul boosters. When we talk about stress in our lives – we are concerned with daily stress turning into physiological stress, oxidative stress.  Again, this type of exercise is excellent for prevention, recovery and beyond.

6) Deep breathing: It sounds so simple – but we often just don’t breathe properly. Proper oxygenation is vital – aka Life’s Breath! Master proper breathing techniques – and take a few breathing breaks through out the day. Be very careful during all forms of exercise to breathe fully and properly.

7) FUN and Camaraderie! I have yet to meet anyone who is looking for another miserable task in their lives. If you are an “I hate exercise” or “I have no time”, I hate to be so blunt – but you are misinformed. The body wants to exercise and be active. However, let’s find a few ways to tickle your exercise fancy, and wake up those suppressed neurotransmitters, creating a calling from within. Vital aspects of the right exercise are fun, you will happily do it on your own, and it creates an inner and out camaraderie……camaraderie inside with yourself, and sure with others. Group activities serve us in a spectacular way on many levels.

8) Physical Activity – Measure It:  When people ask me the #1 thing they can do for our health…I ALWAYS reply wear a pedometer, or some kind of an activity tracker.  Pedometers today are wonderful, hook them up to your computer ( or phone, iPad…..) and watch your progress.  You can compete with friends – including friends around the world you have no idea who they are – other than the fact they are fellow fitness enthusiasts. Healthy competition, with yourself and with others – is a spectacular form of motivation, and tickling those neurotransmitters!

9) Be Careful not to Diagnose: Frequently while exercise we might feel different sensations…certain pains, shortness of breath, maybe dizziness. It is NEVER for any of us to diagnose and slough anything off as “that’s normal”.  Report any discomfort to your health care professional.

I do urge people when hiring an exercise professional – please assure you hire someone specifically trained in cancer exercise,and our experience with breast reconstruction and the many demands.  Having trained many people recovering from cancer, is NOT the same thing. There is an inner chemistry that must be respected. Not all exercise is supportive of cancer recovery. Cancer exercise training is very different.  The right exercise, based on your own unique you.

Track your progress – nothing more motivational and healing than self empowerment – knowing what your body can do, but please remember this is not the time to train for a competition. Achieving extremes is NOT the measure of success.

Our psychological health pumps our physical health and vice versa. Breast Cancer and breast reconstruction are both a gruelling test of tenacity.  Exercise – Have Fun. love it, feel it. Fitness is a feeling of liberation, not deprivation and torture. Try different modes of exercise and physical activity….feeling your way to sexy back!

Digestive Enzymes…Yes Your Health and Happiness

Digestive Enzymes…..Happy Place? Huh?

Digestive enzymes, digestion….health and happiness….

Make sure you check out  – for a more in depth understanding…..Our Belly Brain! on our corporate site

Digestive Enzymes Best In Health RadioPoor nutrition is the epicenter of virtually every disease. We are what we eat, digest & absorb. An error many make in health is thinking because we ate something – we absorbed the nutrition, a very unreliable assumption.

Age, poor food choices, certain medications, alcohol, smoking, lack of physical activity are all too common – and sabotage the body’s potential for full digestion & absorption. A misdiagnosed use of antacids, popping them haphazardly & incorrectly is another serious culprit with digestive health. The symptoms of high stomach acid that make people irresponsibly chug antacids are very similar to the sensation felt by low stomach acid. Antacids are not to be taken flippantly, our stomach acid is another critical step to proper digestion.

Digestive Enzymes – the magic?

Digestive enzymes break down our foods into absorbable & utilizable components. Each enzyme has a very specific function – it is necessary we get all the enzymes – they are not interchangeable. Poor digestive health is rampant, and unfortunately undetected & underemphasized, & dare I say under appreciated in western medicine. Digestive health is critical to disease prevention & recovery.

Think of digestive enzymes as a tummy rub from the inside!

We have 2 main ways of getting our digestive enzymes: The food we eat: cooking denatures enzymes, so we need to eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. Another issue here is soil depletion – our foods can be filled with toxins which destroy enzymes & because the soil is over tilled can be depleted in precious nutrients. Good foods to eat for digestive enzymes: Pineapple, papaya, sea vegetables, greek yogurt (un flavoured please), mango, wheat grass, shitake mushrooms, sprouts, cabbage, apples, cherries, peppers, unpasteurized honey, apple cider vinegar – which is great as a salad dressing!

Our body makes enzymes in the mouth, stomach, intestinal tract & pancreas. Enzymes are made with proteins, which have been broken down into their building blocks called amino acids. With poor protein absorption & an over burdened pancreas from years of poor lifestyle choices, enzyme production is compromised. Drinking too much water (fluids) with meals – dilutes digestive enzymes. The body is reliant on protein availability to form digestive enzymes – and we emphasize the importance of getting sufficient protein in our diets for our bodies to be able to perform its thousands of functions. With poor protein bioavailability we decrease our ability to make digestive enzymes, and with insufficient enzymes, we can’t break down the nutrients to their usable form – a cycle of bodily breakdown.

Digestive Enzymes Best In Health RadioAs I have spoken about in many articles on line and in speaking engagements- – never forget the belly brain – our gut produces the vast majority of our happy hormone serotonin. The amino acid Tryptophan has a leading role in the production of serotonin. Healthy digestive enzyme levels are very necessary for serotonin. We now know that digestive enzymes serve many critical roles in the body – beyond digestion. They are now thought to be key in ridding the body of toxins, reducing autoimmunity (diseases such as arthritis & lupus) & inflammation, and speed the healing of the body after injury or surgery. More and more research is uncovering the importance of digestive enzymes in the anti aging process, and they are now being used to boost cancer treatment.

I think where I get most frustrated with western medicine is the massive sweeping of symptoms into a category called IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There is no one treatment and again unfortunately pushing antacids is often the answer – which could easily exacerbate the situation. This is why I insist we all need a good M.D. and N.D. – Naturopathic Doctor. Naturopathy respects the GI tract as holding the keys to the Magic Kingdom. Yes, some Medical Doctors do as well, not enough. Often the answer becomes rote, forgive me regurgitated solutions such as eliminating certain precious foods, or popping meds.

And please do not pop digestive enzyme supplements either – your gut deserves far more respect. Please don’t just accept “age” as the answer as a necessary doomsday, irreversible diagnosis. There is much that can be done. Some of the symptoms of poor digestive enzyme activity include:

  • Trouble digesting foods
  • Hives!!!!!!!
  • Headaches
  • mood swings (serotonin)
  • Bloat – we all just love that!
  • Cramping
  • Trouble with central adiposity (lovingly aka Belly fat)
  • “allergic reactions” that really aren’t allergic reactions

Long Term digestive enzyme depletion can be serious. Get it checked. It is just that easy to modify, prevent disease, and feel really good!

FITT – Exercise Rx is NOT One Size Fits All

FITT – Putting the FIT in Fitness

FITT

FITT Health Coaching Best In Health RadioFrequency….how often we exercise…..daily, once a week or only when the doctor yells

Intensity….how much sweat…I believe the fountain of youth is our own sweat

Time….how long did we keep it going

Type…brisk walking, strength training, Pilates, martial arts, yoga, swimming…..

I rarely use the word hate. But I do hate the term exercise prescription. That implies forced, another objectionable thing to do in our life. I don’t like the expression exercise is medicine. Medicine implies we do it in response to be sick, medicine is not for fun. Medicine we take in response to not feeling well, and  according to the CDC, if we exercised more we would be feeling unwell much less often  and staying young, spry, sexy and sassy  much longer. Ok those last 3 adverbs are mine, not the CDC.

Exercise  truly holds the keys to unlocking our inner magic kingdom, of course  with partners in wellness  nutrition and lifestyle. But here, let’s assume the nutrition is there to allow exercise to work its magic.

It seems confusing when we research just how much exercise we should be getting. This is what I want to clear up.  People sometimes feel “I tried exercise it didn’t work”. Like everything else there is a dose response-a physiological response typically which there is little to no response ( health benefit) at lower levels and at too high levels there is the potential for toxic reactions..

Well exercise is just that wanted and welcomed by the body that any is embraced and appreciated by the body. We just might not notice those cells dancing for joy being stoked by exercise.

In fitness we accomplish our desired dose response by manipulating and balancing certain FITT variables.

Before we start with actual exercise Rx, let’s remember exercise and physical activity are both necessary. Sedentary is the new smoking. Even if we are diligent about exercise time, that does not allow us to  sit at screen time for the rest if the day.  Repeated studies show us it is imperative for our health and fitness that we have bouts of physical activity through out the day, at least every 2 hours.

The FITT formula is varied per person depending on numerous factors:

Medical issues

Level of conditioning

Stage of life…how this needs to be adjusted is far too often ignored

And of course….. Desired results…..

It is most definitely not the same protocol for someone recovering from cancer as someone training for Ironman. Someone who wants to lose body fat….it’s going to take more than a couple of leisurely strolls a week.

So let’s look at some typical categories.

General health…the minimum to keep the blood flowing, hopefully keep the immune system pumping

Fat loss…I really do not like the term weight loss, keeping it off thru life’s insanity and hormonal changes

Competitive…..body building, athletics

Anti aging….this really is so much more than general health. That has limited performance

Disease recovery …and will be totally different depending on numerous factors

Stress release, energy, cognitive strength.

Adjusting the variables of the FITT formula, and to keep adjusting them, at the appropriate

FFITT Our FITT formula putting th Fun in fitness Bsst in Health Radop
FFITT Best In Health Radio putting the Fun in the FITT

intervals, knowing our boundaries, knowing when we have achieved new healthy boundaries…..this is where there is confusion, and we can fall short of our goals. And yes, it is possible to over exercise, or do the wrong exercise creating oxidative stress or aggravating musculoskeletal issues.

Please be careful when hiring a fitness professional. A few points to consider in your decision:

  • just because someone gives you a challenging routine, that puts you in pain and makes you sweat like a beast or perform tantric distortions of your body…does not mean it’s a good workout
  • Because they have a “perfect body” does not mean they are a perfect coach
  • If they are pushing their own line of food and supplements….don’t fall for it
  • Are they encouraging you and helping you track your physical activity between sessions?
  • Are they only encouraging their platform of exercise, or promoting many “types” of exercise?
  • Are they promoting the many reasons for exercise, or just one
  • Are they familiar with your physiological / medical challenges ….a thesis right here. Fitness pros unfortunately regularly work outside their scope of practice.
  • Find out their definition of progression. Is it just about increasing the FITT?
  • How is your energy, focus, sleep, mood progressing over time?
  • Is it fun…… Do you want to do more for enjoyment, not because you think you have a sentence to serve

Exercise and physical activity are as necessary as eating, breathing, personal hygiene, the need to feel loved. It serves equal benefits to mind, body and spirit. Investing in our health with time, thought, yes money, to keep a balanced FITT, keeps us balanced. But if we don’t love it, crave it, something is wrong in out FITT formula. Your body should be calling out for more, but again more does not necessarily mean harder or more strenuous.

In my opinion, there is a very critical variable missing from the FITT formula. Always remember my FITT formula…

FFITT

….our FITT should always be led and motivated by fun!

Fountain of Youth – Beauty from Within

The Fountain of Youth…Is In You…..Turn it on!

The Fountain of Youth  – there are many tales through history from Alexander the Great to Juan Ponce de Leon over searching for that elusive fountain of youth. The great news is, we don’t have to search because it is in every one of us.

There is nothing shameful about taking pride in how we look – think of our outer package as our own personal branding, our personal marketing package.

In 2012 American women spent 7 billion dollars on cosmetics with promises of anti wrinkles, anti…., anti…., anti aging. Just a btw – typical gym membership – bout $600/year – often including the towel service!!!

Please excuse the crude analogy – ever tried to paint a cracked wall?

The fountain of youth is our own sweat

The stinkier the better. Nothing smeared on our face & hair can replace the rewards of clean nutrition and good hard exercise. ..and as a medical exercise specialist I have to qualify that by saying everyone has to know their correct limits of a hard workout….

Fountain of youth from Telomeres
Tickle These Telomeres to activate Your Fountain of Youth

A little science geek here: Thanks to the great research of Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, we have a good look at the importance of exercise on cellular anti aging, true anti aging. Hard exercise can lengthen the telomeres, the cap end of DNA strands that protect the chromosome, protecting cells from the damage of aging. Science has also proven that exercise rejuvenates the mitochondria of the cells ( “the powerhouses”), keeping us young and energetic. Your exercise oxygenates your skin for a youthful glow, no offense to any $200 moisturizer, and your pumping sebaceous glands produce the very best hair conditioner you will ever use, designed just for you! Your clean, complete nutrition of lean proteins, whole grains, antioxidants, and ditching smoke, alcohol & sugar will provide your body the tools it needs to keep you young.

We all carry an aura – how we project our confidence, self esteem – others react to us based on our aura we emit. How good we feel about ourselves – whatever characteristics we base our self image on – determines the power of our personal ambience, that je ne sais quoi that makes each of us unique, dare I say our pheromones?

I call it our strut factor – whatever makes us feel really good about ourselves – strut our stuff – that attracts positive feedback from others – which in turn positively reinforces our own self image. We smile, and smiling is the very best infectious behavior there is.

And repeated studies do show, that people who feel good about themselves do tend to be more faithful to a health centric lifestyle. Others want to emulate people who they find positive, happy, people that “got their act together” – its a very motivating behavior cycle.

People who feel good about themselves smile, and make others smile. Smiling is the  universal form of communication.

Whats in a smile? Charles Darwin, perhaps the greatest and so far ahead of his time scientist, famous for his Origin of the Species theory of Evolution, also had another brilliant study

  • “The Facial Feedback Response Theory” smiling actually makes us feel better rather than smiling being a result of feeling good MRI imaging shows that smiling activates brain circuitry of happiness
  • A British study found that smiling can provide brain stimulation to the level of 2,000 chocolate bars – of course without the calories, fat & insulin surges!
    Smiling has been shown to curb the release of stress hormones such as cortisol & increase release of happy hormones such as serotonins & endorphins

In order to smile, we need to feel good about ourselves inside & out. And if we have a beautiful smile, we smile more & our aura can light up our world & be a guiding light for those around us. Sweat & Smile!

Endorphins – The Ecstasy of Exercise

Endorphins – The Physiological and Psychological Ecstasy of Exercise
Endorphins with Health Coaching Best in Health Radio
Happy Place Headquarters

Endorphins – the healthiest high of all…Runners high. Our body’s own special brew created from genuine, physiological ecstasy. Endorphins  (translated = endogenous morphine) are neurotransmitters produced in the pituitary gland & hypothalamus creating a euphoric reward in response to physical activity –   two obvious “endorphinators” being physical activity & orgasm. But rest assured, this exercise induced Happy Place, is not just for runners.

Many studies have shown endorphins are released more in response to completing a physical challenge from both the physiological & psychological sense of accomplishment. So contrary to the implication of runners high – the intensity of the activity although assumed as the big endorphinator – helps – but is secondary to the physical & psychological reward of accomplishment.

Good thing. I have witnessed repeatedly those with compromised health, those that are less conditioned  still can reap the exhilaration of neurotransmitter nirvana – creating that beautiful calling from within. Just like we are motivated, drawn to repeated sexual pleasure, us fitness faithfuls  keep coming back for more, further, driven harder to outperform ourselves – the healthiest competition of all – to set our own world’s record.

Endorphins and depression Health Coaching Best In health Radio
Studies agree exercise key to reduce symptoms of depression

Exercise is the one prescription for so many of our current chronic plagues – and has no bad side effects. How many medications can lay the same claim?   Depression, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, disease prevention, obesity…..all benefit from exercise, yet still remains  the most underutilized treatment of all. No – its not a quick fix – the psychological & physiological healing powers of exercise require a fidelity  – a commitment  to building a healthy relationship with ourselves.

The Par Q is the Canadian government’s “Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire”              ( proudly shared now by a number of countries) a series of questions if one is capable of adopting an exercise program – yes I get the necessity – however – we do know that physical inactivity is our #1lifestyle killer. This begs the question – why do we not have a questionnaire for physical inactivity? Why do we intimidate people from getting active?

Every elite athlete will agree, performance is a team effort. In order for exercise to echo its calling  – it needs a well functioning inner ecosystem. Its heartbreaking as an exercise enthusiast to hear people say “I tried exercise it did nothing for me” – ouch! Exercise is severely thwarted ( I have a better word but not going to use it!) in its ability to endorphinate when the rest of the ecosystem is is being held hostage by poor nutrition, excessive alcohol, food addictions such as sugar, salt and saturated fat, smoking & uncontrolled stress.

Again as a fitness lover, I find one of the most frustrating misconceptions about a devotion to health centricity  is that a healthy lifestyle is one that is restrictive and based on deprivation & sacrifice.

Let’s take  a look here….

An addiction is repetition of a behavior – despite its potentially destructive properties – it insidiously takes control of our actions, rendering  a person feeling helpless. The craving to smoke, being drawn to fast & addictive foods, believing alcohol is a means of dealing with stress…these are all instant gratifications created by unfortunate coping mechanisms over time.   Being submissive to a dominant force?

Now – whats the definition of slavery? Submission to a dominating influence. Its kind of like having the boss from hell over your entire being!

However thanks to sciences such as neuroplasticity, nutrigenomics our bodies are by far the most enigmatic specimens of all. I am convinced there is the gravitational  field (the field of force surrounding a body of finite mass (us) in which another body would experience an attractive force (a healthier us) – yes I hate physics too – I only like it on the Big Bang Theory!

Being creatures of nature – our inner ecosystem craves homeostasis – always gravitating toward an orderly, productive existence. Our healthful call from within – the evolutionary purpose of neurotransmitter nirvana is to keep bringing us back to our peaceful, well functioning ecosystem. Call it habits for habitat!

I have yet to meet an ex smoker pine away for their smokers cough or a “successful loser”  regret that 50 pound fat loss. I have many times witnessed in others (and experienced myself!) regret from indulging in poor food choices & that yuck feeling of lack of physical activity. In my many years of health coaching – I have had the great fortune of watching first hand, hundreds of times the  – out with the old in with the new –  breaking the chains of succumbed behaviors  with the passionate pursuit of  a peaceful inner ecosystem. That healthful calling from within – which guides us to  happy homeostasis, self respect & empowerment-  is no sacrifice at all, its pure liberation, freedom & exhilaration.

 

Sports Bra – A Woman’s BFF Best Fitness Friend

Sports Bra – Ladies – Truly Your Very Best Fitness Friend!

Sports Bra Ladies: Workouts are NOT the time to let it hang or for the frilly little number!

I see this mistake every day of my life. Sorry for being so blunt but not reigning in “the girls” during physical activity – Big Mistake! Irrelevant of size, for aesthetic, health, posture….

wearing the best sports bra is your most important piece of fitness equipment. 

Just because it is a name brand, or the brand makes frilly popular regular bras, does not imply the exercise bras are effective.

Sports Bra for breast health Best In Health RadioThere is no question, especially if we exercise in a public place such as a gym or going out for a run – we want to feel attractive – let’s face it, it makes us feel better about ourselves, which helps us maximize our effort and performance. The money women spend on the cutest workout tanks and shorts never ceases to amaze me. The fact is a good sports bra should reduce breast movement by 50%. Breasts can move about 14 cm up and down, side to side in training. A really good sports bra has been proven to reduce this up to 75%.

The most important investment in workout attire by far are the right workout shoes for your shaped foot and gait, and the the best possible workout bra. My picks are listed below.

Women have become much more in tune with breast health – a supportive bra is an imperative part of breast health.  But please choose a bra that still makes you feel attractive, yet meets certain criteria. Yes, you will find one.

First let’s understand why a good sports bra is so important:

Cooper’s Ligament – help her out please!!!!  Very simply – connective tissue that gives the Sports Bra Breast Cancer Recovery Best In Health Radio.breast that beautiful shape. The force of gravity, multiplied by impact…not a girl’s best friend. Nobody wants sagging breasts. A certain amount of impact is a necessary aspect of exercise – mineralize those bones – but as everything in life there are good points and not so good.  Movement and impact tears at the elastin & collagen, which are not as resilient over time to start with. And BTW – there are GREAT strength training exercises to give Cooper hope and strength! Cooper also believes in slow and steady wins the race……quick weight loss elicits rather spiteful hormonal responses – which further miff  Cooper.

Back, shoulder and neck strain: Posture is another gift. Both a lack of wearing the right fitting sports bra & a lack of a sports bra at all can cause great pain and erode posture. Wear a bra that offers support all around – so shoulders do not carry the burden which often causes us to curl forward, placing stress on the neck. We should still be able to keep good posture with shoulders back. Especially important for larger cup sizes.

I happen to be a big supporter of wider straps, racerback bras, not just a compression bra, but encapsulating (complete cups around each breast). Don’t like underwires? There are MANY sports bras available now that are excellent, without an underwire.

Breathing: Yes breathing is a critical aspect of exercise. Tugging breasts (ouch at just the thought) can easily cause a shortness of breath. Proper oxygen consumption during exercise, full deep breaths is #1 to fitness.

Heart Health:  I will say I have NOT seen direct  studies on this….however I refuse to believe heavy breast movement is good for the heart. Just the obvious shortness of breath is a huge strain on the heart.

A few other quick points:

I fully suggest a sports bra for active days. It doesn’t have to be the full support for athletic training – however breast movement can happen and challenge even at lower activity levels.

Please, no built in bra tops for working out. Poor impostor.

Do not ever put sports bras in the dryer, No fabric softener or bleach

Please do not choose a bra according to what your girlfriend wears. Your relative size between back width and cup size will severely influence choice of sports bras. Larger cup size, smaller back – slam dunk for the most difficult shape to fit.

Do Not expect an unbiased evaluation of proper fit and support of a sports bra from your favorite sexy bra store. Besides the obvious go tos of Victoria’s Secret, Lulu Lemon, depending on your level of activity, size, shape…..please look at Under Armour (I happen to believe they provide excellent chest armor), Nike, Shock Absorber,

Very few things in life are forever. Your sports bra is NOT one of them.

Lymphoma Leukemia and the Right Exercise

Lymphoma and Leukemia – The Right Exercise

Lymphoma-Exercise for Lymphoma Patients health coach best in Health RadioWith great thanks to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, we know there are 100, 000 people living with or in remission from a blood cancer in Canada. Leukemia is still the most common form of paediatric cancer in Canada. Survival rates are improving, however, we still have much to do in the fight against blood cancers.

What is unfortunately little known is a potential partner in recovery, far too often overlooked – Exercise. Exercise is far too minimized and under utilized as a vital partner in integrative oncology, and Lymphoma and other blood cancers are no exception.

Please note when I say exercise — I mean the right exercise –  exercise should not imply training for Iron Man or Triathlons, it should be viewed and revered for its therapeutic, restorative & rehabilitative wonders, right down to the cellular level.

First a bit about exercise and cancer recovery in general…not particular to blood cancers.

At the cellular level:

A lifestyle to prevent cancer is a lifestyle that protects us from all of our chronic illnesses, mental & physical, and it all starts with creating a hostile environment within destroying cells as they become cancerous. We need to create our “biochemical terrain” that is able to annihilate the inevitability of cells becoming cancerous because of a biochemical terrain that enables cancer to flourish.

3 of the most volatile “terrain setters”

Glycemia

Oxidation

Inflammation

Oxidation: As we know from exercise science, our fitness, health is completely dependent on how efficiently we use oxygen. Yes we need oxygen to live however our health, protection from the degradation of aging, cancer prevention is all about keeping a balance within between oxidative stress (producing free radicals)  and antioxidants, our best cancer prevention. Cells deprived of too much oxygen (estimated at 35%) can also morph into cancer cells – balance.

Inflammation: Another key to cancer prevention (and heart disease, aging, immunity, depression……) is inflammation, we need  tight control over inflammation. Leading causes: smoking, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, activation of stress hormones, alcohol, sugar, Omega 6 oils such as vegetable oils, trans fats…..Inflammation is a critical part of our body’s innate immunity – its attempt to heal itself, however, when it becomes a chronic condition, this “inflammatory state” the immune system attacks healthy tissue, mistaking them for harmful pathogens.

Glycemia: Simply put…cancer cells have a voracious appetite for sugar. As seen in our obesity & diabetes epidemics…..so do our populations, hence we are throwing gasoline on fires, fuelling cancer. Controlling blood glucose levels is an absolute must in controlling cancer

Even if a cancer is removed, that is only the start on the road to remission and the  celebration of “cancer free”. The biochemistry has to be to be able to attack and destroy any hidden cancer cells from multiplying, violating the patient once again, usually in a more toxic, vengeful form.

The right exercise, in the right amount, can help regulate all of these biochemical markers.

Glycemia: Let us all count the ways……but really our muscle mass is the real hero here. ..taking sugar out of the blood stream into the muscle…..just as strength training is a diabetics best friend. Sugar feeds cancer.  Exercise reduces Insulin resistance, lowering levels of blood insulin, a growth factor, discussed further below.

Inflammation: Again our muscle mass is key here to control the inflammatory chemicals secreted by cancer cells. A sedentary lifestyle allows protein loss from body tissues. Inflammatory responses are like wildfire without exercising the muscles, leading to muscle wasting and destruction of the immune system.  Cachexia is an unfortunate side effect of many cancer  treatments, exercise is the best retaliatory defense.

Oxidative stress: Now here we do have to be very careful of balance, slow and steady wins this race. The right type and dosage of exercise produces enzymes that reduces free radicals. However, too much exercise can produce free radicals.

And there is the obvious aspects of exercise:

psychologically uplifting: balancing hormones & production of serotonin

Surgery: Regaining functional capacity and quality of life

Cardiac and Immune function: optimizing these through treatment and beyond…the roleLymphoma survivors exercise for prevention of cardio vascular disease of Immune performance is completely overlooked in exercise

weight management……our list here is endless

Immune support is tricky with blood cancers. According to Dr. Keith Block, of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer treatment, immune stimulating supplement are a NO, as I have heard from every oncologist, but immune support to fight immune suppression, fatigue …is necessary.

This again is why the RIGHT exercise is necessary, because the wrong exercise can lead to excess free radicals, inflammation & depressed immune function.

Slow and steady is the very best advice here. The benefits of exercise are still necessary. Controlled physical activity can help people minimize the worse immune offenders being: smoke,alcohol, emotional stress, sugar consumption. Physical activity helps with NK (natural Killer) cell performance & T cell function.

With Leukemia, Lymphoma, and blood cancers, we  faithfully adhere to certain  precautions:

  • home workouts are better – the germs of a pool or fitness facility are an added risk
  • No unhealthy weight loss
  • Heeding to blood counts – your doctor will advise you on the status of blood counts, red blood cells, minerals…….
  • Supervised, skilled resistance great, Heavy weights – NO – respecting risk of osteoporosis
  • Appreciate the circulatory & relaxation & restorative side of exercises, flexibility, Range of motion,  the best support.

Unfortunately I have found that many people with blood cancers have a certain need to punish & repent  – why did I not eat right and exercise before, why did I smoke……..however, during treatment is NOT the time to over compensate. I personally find the toughest part of my job working with people with blood cancers is trying to keep them at the right pace, when often they want to go into overdrive and push much too hard.

According to Dr. Kerry Courneya, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Cancer, University of Alberta, in a study of multiple myeloma, the most challenging physical activity wise of all the blood cancers, survivors who report exercise during and after treatment also report higher quality of life.

And according to the American Cancer Society…”Research strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe during cancer treatment, but it can also improve physical functioning and many aspects of quality of life. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve fatigue, anxiety, and self-esteem. It also helps heart and blood vessel fitness, muscle strength, and body composition”

Knowing how to work and analyze the needs of each individual client is of the utmost importance from the health/fitness professional. Blood cancers demand a very delicate balance for the necessity of physical activity throughout its powers of immune support, circulatory support, breathing & relaxation, supporting good sleep….but not overdoing it causing any immune stress, or stress on the blood cells.

And the most overlooked aspect of exercise….smile time. Again we are clouded by visions of exercise being about pain, misery, another cumbersome, dreaded thing in our life. A very cruel, inaccurate prejudice. The right exercise professional will design physical activity around other lifestyle demands, and show the person that exercise time is smile time, and puts us in our happy place physiologically, unlike anything else. Truthfully, my favourite thing for clients to say to me is “I hate exercise”.  That is an irresistible beckoning to show someone a new self love, open up an inner Genie in a bottle of pleasure, yes for people dealing with cancer as well. The trained exercise professional knows how to make physical activity a form of laughter therapy. As the person starts to reap the physiological & psychological rewards, the feeling of taking control, not being helpless in their recovery, is empowering and encouraging. This sense of optimism encourages the person to adopt other healthy lifestyle habits. I call is neurotransmitter nirvana.

More studies are currently underway on Lymphoma and exercise. It is well known that treatment for childhood lymphoma is associated with a very high rate of cardio vascular disease.  A Sloan Kettering 2014 study  that vigorous exercise in Hodgkins Lymphoma survivors can reduce their risk of CV events by 51%.

Again, please note there is a vast difference of exercise during treatment for Lymphoma vs. as a survivor!

And the truth is we often don’t know why exercise is so magical – we just know it is and it works.

 

Exercise Is Medicine and No Bad Side Effects

Exercise is Medicine – Definitely the Best Tasting!

Exercise is medicine with no bad side effects, No insurance copay, No expensive equipment, no worries about drug interactions…..we are born with the only equipment we need – our body with moving parts – or rather parts that are supposed to move. We are also born with all the motivation we need to move – just watch the anticipation in a baby trying to wildly writhe & wiggle day and night. Problem is, the fascination with sedentary body rot ( usually from watching parents or being planted in front of a television or computer for entertainment) so intimately a part of our obesogenic society, our innate energetic enthusiasm, is extinguished.

Exercise is the one and only prescription with no bad side effects. There is no drug that can lay that claim. However, we seem to want to pop a magic pill to exonerate us from any other onus. There is no pill, that can possibly provide the universal health benefits, protect us from aging, there is no competition to the healing powers of exercise. But yes, motivation is required. And I will add, as always, “no time” is a whine. Maybe there is no time for the gym, but I assure you there is time for physical activity. Perhaps no Eureka moment yet, but it is there. And with increased motivation, its amazing the time that is there.

Exercise is Medicine Health Coaching Best In Health RadioSo here is some motivation. Let’s discuss some of the medical miracles of exercise. First, I want to point out some the overall benefits of exercise to our health – all of these are contributing menaces to chronic disease, and exercise is medicine for all:

Reducing Excess Adiposity (weight management/obesity control):

Sleep Apnea

Getting us into our Happy Place (stress control) both physiologically & psychologically:

Controlling Eating habits (especially emotional eating – wrong foods for the wrong reasons)

Controlling addictive behaviors: well proven how effective exercise is a critical aspect of addiction recovery

All of these create a toxic biological terrain creating the perfect storm for chronic illness.

Now, our top killers according to the CDC – Center for Disease Control:

•Heart disease:

•Cancer:

•Chronic lower respiratory diseases:

•Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases):

•Accidents (unintentional injuries):

•Alzheimer’s disease:

•Diabetes:

•Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis:

•Influenza and Pneumonia:

•Intentional self-harm (suicide):

Every one of these top 10 killers – physical inactivity, is a contributing factor – some, more directly than others. ….and yes, in many accidents as well, and most certainly a possible contributing factor in suicide, physical inactivity is just as deadly to emotional disorders as physical breakdown. Through inflammation, poor circulation, weakened immune systems, hormonal/chemical imbalances, blood fats, blood glucose levels, oxygen utilization, free radicals…. by increasing

Exercise is MedicinePhysical Activity

Exercise

Training

we have the potential to strongly influence our destiny.

More motivation? The fitness faithful of wildly successful people: AKA – need something done give it to a busy person. Yes – exercise increases circulation to the brain – more brain power, focus, concentration – but I also know its about that life saving skill called time management – we are in control of our time – we are not being led around in robomode stressed about a lack of productivity, complaining we have no time.  Carpe diem….Carpe the moment. Integrating concerted efforts of physical activity through out the day – is personal control and command of our behaviour – which is definitely a modern “naturally selected” survival trait.

And yes, there is a prescription for exercise. Yes, physical activity, get moving, get our steps….all very important. However, to maximize the potential benefits of exercise, there is an accurate dosage and choice of exercise, just as any prescription. But keep it moving. The M in Move, is for Motivation. The E in Exercise is for Effort – physical & psychological effort.

Exercise and Cancer – Both Art and Science

Exercise and Cancer Recovery

Exercise and Cancer? Unfortunately most people do not associate the two – but the truth is the right exercise is key in cancer prevention and cancer recovery.

It is well known that exercise through its many functions in weight management, circulation, immune system optimization…exercise is one of our best bffs in cancer prevention. There is no question cancer is a dreaded diagnosis – however a feeling of power and control vs. helplessness takes center stage in disease recovery.

Exercise and Cancer BestInHealthRadio.comIts not just about keeping busy. Its about knowing that we are taking active participation and control in our recovery. Exercise provides great psychological and physiological command in cancer recovery. Exercise and cancer treatments are true compatriots. The challenge here is exercise requirements are very different for different cancers, and different cancer treatments. And where the skill of the cancer exercise specialist comes in is the individual’s response to treatment. This can really make the difference in how well the body responds to treatment. Unfortunately, people tend to think exercise is exercise.

Albeit physical activity is always welcome and stimulates circulation, exercise demands need to be honed. The fitness program for cancer recovery is not only designed for activity, but it is also equally designed for rest. Many cancer patients have a very difficult time getting true rest. A good fitness plan to accompany cancer treatment assures good rest. Choosing the right type of exercise which also engages relaxation techniques (an equal partner to cardio respiratory, strength & stretching), encourages a deeper sleep. Sleep aids and supplements can either be very short lived, or have potentially nasty drug interactions with other treatment medications.

Exercise and Cancer Health Coaching on Best In health RadioCancer treatments themselves such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can dramatically decrease exercise strength and motivation. Therefore, the FITT (frequency, intensity, time, type)of the exercise program has to be carefully planned to support treatment. Certain cancer treatments, especially those used to treat childhood cancers, can have negative long term effects on the heart and lungs. The carefully chosen exercise protocol can help lessen long term side effects of treatment.

Recovery from Surgery: There are certain postural issues that arise after surgery (mastectomy) and lymph node dissections, and the complexities are compounded with reconstruction and radiation. Serious postural implications, muscular imbalances and tightness are the norm here, again compounded by followup treatments such as chemotherapy & radiation. Unfortunately, most people unknowingly add to muscular imbalances with training ( I see personal trainers do this too!) Postural deviations are not just about aesthetics, they can lead to chronic pain, balance issues which can lead to balance issues and increase the risk of falling and injury. Regular postural assessments and checks for muscular imbalances are a necessary component of cancer exercise training.

Cardio respiratory training can be a cancer patients path to rebuilding stamina and combatting fatigue and depression, endorphins are magical for all of us. However, yes for some cancers we need to really assure keeping body fat percentage in check. Other cancers, weight loss is a serious threat – so again we need to find that balance depending on type of cancer, treatment, and response to treatment.

Muscle cachexia is a serious threat to many cancer patients due to treatment, poor nutrient absorption due to compromised digestive capabilities. Choosing exercises that increase flexibility, preserve even encourage muscle hypertrophy, helps people with strength, sugar uptake (excess sugar in the bloodstream is lethal for cancer recovery)and of course enables people to continue with their functional demands.

Exercise is cancer treatments best partner. Worthy of its own article is the ability of again the right exercise to help treatments target the cancer cells, and preserve the healthy cells. Exercise enabling cancer treatment is truly an area worthy of the word infinite, and the even better news – more good news on this partnership is discovered regularly. The right treatment, dosage though, is front and center.

What Is Cancer? Our Cellular HTML

What is Cancer? Think of it as a virus to our cellular HTML

What is  Cancer – No – Life does not cause cancer as some think.  This thought often engrains a sense of helplessness within. The truth is, if we understand what cancer is, it helps us better understand prevention – give ourselves control and motivation…

A life to prevent cancer is a life to prevent all of our chronic illnesses, and infuses us with energy & power.   Think of cancer as a virus that has messed with the HTML of or cell’s genetic code.

Take a look at a beautiful website – say this one…..behind every beautiful site is HTML HyperText Markup Language, the “mother tongue” of our web browsers. Behind our being, is genetic code that dictates every cell of who we are. If we have one wrong little character in the HTML of our website it can completely destroy the function of that website. Well, the same is true for our genetic code.

What Is Cancer Health Coaching Best In Health RadioNow, what is cancer? Cancer is a genetic mutation, something has reprogrammed the HTML of that cell. That cell is now reproducing incorrectly.  If our ecosystem is unable to shut that cell down, there is trouble. If our ecosystem is not optimized, the genetic saboteur is allowed to reproduce, and that deadly coding is reproduced. Here lies the problem why people think “life causes cancer”….

In our “advanced” world….we have created thousands of potential mutagens to destroy cell stability

Our bodies are a wonderland. Wonderland has an inner ecosystem that like any ecosystem needs to be kept in balance.  Chinese medicine describes our flow of Qi. Without the flow of Qi, our life’s force, the ecosystem is jolted out of balance.

We live in a world that is constantly bombarding our ecosystem.  Many times we are responsible for that attack: smoking, poor food choices, lack of physical activity…. And many times we do not know we are exposed to attacks on that biochemical terrain. Enter illness and disease.

Cancer is thought to be only 5-10% genetic. The rest is lifestyle, however, as mentioned above, our lifestyles consist of unknown as well as known carcinogens…..exposures that cause a cell to mutate.

Now……how magical are the powers of the right exercise? Exercise and nutrition are our body guards. When carcinogens attack, by empowering our body with the strongest possible biochemical terrain, one that is totally inhospitable to mutagens, we are able to fight the attacker and win.

Attackers (aka carcinogens and pathogens):

Certain chemicals (in our food, in our air, in our meds, in our soils……..)

Viruses and bacteria

Geophysical exposures, radiation

Hormonal imbalances…..including our big wide world of phytoestrogens endocrine disrupters

Some nasty lifestyle choices: smoking, sitting, poor food choices, stress, alcohol….

Our body depends on us to supply it with sustenance to empower the ecosystem

Nutrition…the right exercise optimizes our digestive system for absorption of the good and destruction of the bad

Exercise

Physical activity

Sleep

Minimize exposure to carcinogens, mutagens, pathogens

When the body is unable to fight intruders, that is when the biochemical terrain allows mutated cells, aka cancer cells, to reproduce…and reproduce……until “we have cancer”. It is believed that everyone of us have cancerous cells lurking within, our goal is that we have the defences to shut down those cells, or force what is called aptosis – cell suicide.

Front and center to the body’s defences are our immune and circulatory systems.

What is Cancer: Medical Exercise Health Coaching Best In Health RadioOur immune system is a pumpless system.  In other words, it can produce all of the wonderful superheroes in the world (lymphocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, immunoglobins….) but if there is no pumping action from our muscles, or no muscles, the immune system can’t do its job.

Exercise is imperative for optimizing our body’s performance. Every study shows us that exercise and physical activity are an absolute necessity for every organ system of the body, and a necessity, dare I say the “managing partner” to integrative oncology.

Exercise is vital to the destruction of cancer at every level:

Prevention: enabling the body to kill those intrusions, to build a strong inner ecosystem

Management: make it through treatment, minimizing risks of side effects of treatment, fighting fatigue, and many studies tell us help better respond to treatment, building back musculoskeletal challenges created by the cancer and the treatment.

Prevention of recurrence. Rebuilding and equipping the immune system

A topic for another article is exercise at the cellular level, which is vital for prevention, recovery, and prevention of recurrence….and anti aging and anti all of our chronic illnesses….the real science geek, yes, however, this really helps us understand cancer prevention & management.

Let’s summarize…..

What is cancer? Cancer occurs because their has been a genetic mutation, a change to the genetic code. The body has been attacked..the body needs to fight the attacker.

  • The right exercise enables the body to fight that invasion, through it’s many magical ways, some known, and we still have many ways yet to discover.
  • Food Choices are critical in either feeding or destroying cancer cells
  • Being aware of environmental exposures, choices
  • Eliminating oxidative stressors
  • Lifestyle choices

yes….much is within our control

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……

Shira@BestInCorporateHealth.com

We look forward to customizing your employee wellness programs!

Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack, medical fitness professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Medical Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist, Corporate health designer and coach

Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health and Best In Health Radio

Employee Wellness Toronto, Ontario…offered internationally

  • Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
  • Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
  • Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
  • Now offering live interactive webinars, just as if each participant has a personal health coach – making corporate wellness programs affordable to all.
  • Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 12 years:

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),

Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Mattress – Your Most Supportive Partner

Hip pain, shoulder pain, lower back pain, poor sleep habits, sleep apnea, fatigue, insomnia, stress, allergies… could easily be time to invest in a new mattress.  Quality sleep is an excellent investment in our health. A good night’s sleep is just as vital to health as healthy eating, exercise and breathing. It is not defined by the number of hours, a good night’s sleep is defined by quality sleep and how refreshed we wake in the morning. If we wake up feeling like we were hit by a speeding locomotive – this is not acceptable. Unfortunately, this is often blamed on “I’m getting old”, or “I guess I did too much yesterday”. I urge everyone to make sure they are sleeping on a good, supportive mattress.

Choosing a mattress for your health; health coaching best in health radio
Sleep- a modifiable lifestyle habit

Hip pain and shoulder pain are extremely common, and are usually scapegoated onto our activity or our lack of activity. Lower back pain is the number one reason for workplace absenteeism. Baby Boomers are suffering in exponential numbers from aches and pains, and unknowingly much of it is controllable, it is not a necessity of ageing.

If you wake up with a stiff, sore back, does the pain subside after about a half hour? That is a good sign your sleep surface might not be right for you. If you wake up frequently, toss and turn, don’t feel your sleep is restful, consider the mattress.

Here is an experiment. Go sleep on another mattress in your home for a night. Wake up feeling different? If you are travelling sleeping in a nice hotel bed, pay attention if you wake up feeling better… hmmm… We tend to notice pain, but we can often miss the relief of waking up without pain – not acknowledging it.

When choosing a mattress….pressure points

Make sure you do some of your own research first. Speak to health professionals who have an in depth knowledge of posture, pain… and yes pressure points. For this reason pocket coil and memory foam mattresses are dominating mattress production. There is still a great deal of variance in both of these categories.

Pressure points: Consider a Back sleeper, stomach sleeper, and a side sleeper.

Mattress - health coaching Best In Health radioBack Sleeper: Back of the head, shoulders, buttocks, heels

Side Sleeper: Ear, shoulder, elbow, hip, thigh, leg, heel

Stomach Sleeper: Elbow, ribcage, thigh, knees, toes

Very simply put:

When sleeping, the body has all its weight resting against the mattress, you are not supporting yourself. Your body weight presses against certain areas of your body that take most of your weight due to their placement. This differs slightly between men and women, as women have their weight centred around their hips, whereas men are more top heavy and have their weight centred on their shoulders. Regardless of sleep position, hips and shoulders take the brunt of the pressure. If your sleeping surface is too hard or is just angering your pressure points, you will sleep badly and we hold the body in tension to support ourselves. And just throwing this one out there – this is also really bad for breathing!!! A mattress is comfortable when it supports your sleep position and cradling the pressure points, not fights them. The surface presses up around the pressure points supporting the area protecting it from pressing heavily against the mattress.

One more to throw out there –  sleep apnea – holding our breath while sleeping is a potentially serious problem. Yes, your sleeping surface can make a huge difference to sleep apnea. Another factor to consider when choosing a mattress.

People often hang on to a mattress far too long. Mattresses have also evolved over the last number of years. The thought use to be “buy the firmest mattress you can”. Well, now we know that is just not the case. As you will see researching a mattress, many decisions need to be factored into purchasing the right mattress. Buy yourself the very best Christmas gift – buy yourself a gift of health – a good mattress.

Just like being a good parent, we need a mattress that treats us with tender loving care, yet is firm and supportive.

 

Bloating -Minimize Destress Prevent Cancer

Bloating….How many ways do we despise you….let us count the ways

Bloating…..after a great workout….really? You take off your clothes for that blissful shower, and the euphoria comes crashing down because that endorphinated workout gave you a bloated belly? That 6 months pregnant look was great  when we knew the reward was a baby, but that’s not the look we’re after now. All we can think is  $#*#^<$????? what did I do to deserve this?

Bloating and cancer?

Ballooning, belly bloat….let’s be honest is perhaps one of our greatest frustrations. We try to eat right, exercise, we’re health conscious – and this just seems  “not fair”. We just don’t know when it strikes, and of course it always seems to be the worse possible time – because the truth is its never welcome and makes us think, what did I do wrong.

Reduce Bloating for your Best Health Best In Health Radio
Controlling Bloating as part of balancing our Inner ecosystem

True, bloating can happen for hormonal reasons, digestive issues, allergies & intolerances….. but putting these aside – let’s take a look at every day activities that can make us crazy. The great news is, by adjusting these bloaty habits, we can also physiologically Destress our lives and…the kingpin of all…….help prevent cancer. Let’s remember that all of us have cancerous cells, and the goal of good health is to create an inner biology that starves and shuts down mutated cells (cancerous) and promotes the reproduction of healthy cells.

Not breathing Properly:

This might sound far too simple, but most people do not breathe properly, especially while exercising. “Valsalva”  (holding our breath) during exercise cheats our exercise by driving up blood pressure, deprives our exercising muscles of vital oxygen and  can lead to headaches, even strokes. The Valsalva maneuver can happen in any day to day strenuous activities including bowel movements & childbirth. The  valsalva builds air pressure adding extra force to the activity, which is why we do it unknowingly,  however, it is potentially deadly. An exerting muscle denied of oxygen  cannot accomplish the desired gains….Breath holding & hyperventilation (rapid shallow breathing causing more exhalation of carbon dioxide than inhaled) both lead to bloating, intense physiological stress, and cancer cells can survive a lack of oxygen much better than healthy cells.

Dehydration:

Most of us do not drink enough water, or we drink most of our water with meals…which is actually when we should drink less water. Our bodies hold on to water with the threat of dehydration. During exercise, we lose water to sweat, water is forced out of of the kidneys and liver, causing bloat. Drinking water regulates sodium levels and regulates bowel movements. However, I feel compelled to mention here Hyponatremia (low salt levels from dehydration or over hydration causing an imbalance (dilution)  of electrolytes) is a serious threat to cancer patients. Cancer fatigue, common in cancer recovery, is seriously worsened by dehydration….the right amount of hydration and balance of electrolytes is important to all  and yes to cancer recovery.

An even slightly dehydrated body produces more of our stress hormone cortisol. One of the very first ways to come out of a stressful situation is to deep breathe, and rehydrate.

A dehydrated body provides an inner biology where normal cells can not survive, but cancer cells may continue to thrive. In 1931 Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel prize in Physiology for his findings:

Normal cells cannot live without oxygen, cancer cells can thrive without oxygen. Water transports oxygen to the cells, and is responsible for ridding the body of toxins. Toxic build up can cause damage to the DNA and ultimately mutant cells.

A healthy body is slightly more alkali. As a body dehydrates it becomes more acidic – which again is more favorable to cancer formation.

Dehydration suppresses the immune system, and the production of white blood cells (major fighter of cancer cells)  in the bone marrow. We cannot prevent cancer without our immune power.

Bloating ...not just about comfort and aesthetics but also our health
Medical Exercise/ cancer exercise training

Exercise for cancer recovery  & the go forward prevention of metastases is NOT the same as exercise for fat loss, body building – there are a number of differences that must be respected to reap the rewards of cancer exercise training, and not create unknowingly an inner biology that fuels cancer growth. Exercise is a vital necessity to cancer recovery, but can be a source of oxidative stress.

Look into digestive disorders- get checked out and eliminate this possibility. As we all know many digestive disorders are emceed by bloating. And certain digestive disorders can lead to cancer. Example: the H Pylori bacteria – unknown to many of us – we are hosting this bacteria in our gut. It can cause many  uncomfortable symptoms – however it has now been linked to gastric cancers. There is an increased risk of colorectal cancers in those with Crohn’s. People with celiac who do not eat a gluten free diet run a great risk of certain lymphomas and gastric cancers. It is estimated 80% of those with celiac go undiagnosed. And yes, celiac can cause tremendous abdominal bloating.

Belly bloat can be something simple & temporary, but it can also be a sign of many illnesses, including a number of cancers and digestive disorders. It is never for any of us to diagnose ourselves. It is a really good idea to track when we bloat – what we have been eating, our activities, find patterns…..This information provides important data, but never come to conclusions and diagnose ourselves. I personally believe we all need a good M.D. and N.D., both can provide vital insights into health.

But hey, if we can destress, banish bloating  & prevent cancer – we provide ourselves a trifecta of good health, energy and happiness.