Tag Archives: cancer exercise training

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

 

Medical Marijuana And Cancer Care – Interview

Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care – Interview with ReThink Breast Cancer

The topic of medical marijuana and cancer care – or medical marijuana conjures up a range of fiery opinions. Make an educated decision based on fact with MJ DeCoteau of ReThink Breast Cancer, Toronto and  Dr. Marni Brooks, an expert on addiction and cannabinoid medicine.

Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care on Best In Health Radio with Shira Litwack
Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care Founder ReThink Breast Cancer MJ DeCoteau and Dr. Marni Brooks, an expert on addiction and cannabinoid medicine on Best in Health Radio

Medicinal Marijuana when deemed medicinal is NOT an excuse to smoke pot. Our goal is to alleviate concerns and misconceptions, and enable people to make their own decisions on this very controversial topic. Fact is, pain management and quality of life in cancer patients must be a priority.

 

 

 

Mackie Research:

The Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), overseen by Health Canada, authorizes three key activities: (i) the possession of dried marijuana (or oil) for medical purposes by eligible patients, who have the support of an authorized healthcare practitioner;

(ii) the production of dried marijuana or oil by licensed producers;

 (iii) the sale and distribution of dried marijuana or oil by licensed producers to eligible patients. By strictly regulating the medical marijuana industry, MMPR helps ensure a safe and consistent product.

Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care – A few key points covered in the interview:
  • Who is ReThink Breast Cancer
  • The ReThink Breast Cancer Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care program
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer In Younger Women
  • Appropriate times and decisions for medicinal cannibis
  • “weed” vs. Medicinal marijuana
  • Medical Marijuana broken into chemical components
  • Legalities of medicinal marijuana
  • Studies showing potential side effects of usage
  • Address some of the more debated, controversial issues
  • In combination with other lifestyle factors
  • more resources on medicinal cannibis
  • Cannabis use disorder
  • cannabis vs. opiates

 

420 – “Weed Day” – Learn with us the applicability of medical marijuana. Its NOT the same

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

To consult with Dr. Brooks:

Please obtain a referral from your Physician

Dr. Marni Brooks, addiction and cannabinoid medicine

Vector Medical Scarborough

9 Progress Road Unit 1A

647-725-9650

Physician Referral:

fax: 416-335-7796

 

 

 

 

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!

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

Dr. Radio: Exercise in Cancer Recovery/Prevention

Dr. Radio:  Shira Litwack Interview with  Dr. Jonathan Whiteson,  NYU on Sirius XM

Feb. 29, 2016: Dr. Radio interviews Shira Litwack on Dr. Jonathan Whiteson’s show, Rehabilitative medicine on cancer exercise – cancer prevention and cancer recovery, the latest research.

Dr. Radio – “Real doctors helping real people. Powered by NYU Langone Medical Center.”

Shira & Dr. Whiteson discuss:

  • Medical Exercise
  • Our world of Endocrine Disruptors contributing to Cancer
  • The Many Roles of Exercise
  • The validation and scientific acceptance of the right exercise in cancer recovery
  • Cancer Prevention with Exercise
  • Designing a complete exercise program as part of cancer recovery

It is always compulsory to get permission from the supervising health care professional – whether it be a family doctor, oncologist, naturopath, to participate in a cancer exercise program, as with any complimentary therapy.

Exercise for cancer recovery needs modifications from a regular exercise program. A program will vary based on many factors, including:

  • Type of Cancer
  • Type of Treatment
  • Stage of Recovery
  • Guidance of Health Care Professional

 

Dr. Radio - Shira Litwack, Industry Expert Cancer Exercise Interviewed
Living a Life to Prevent Cancer Live Interactive webinar

Shira Litwack, Industry Expert Cancer Exercise, Director of International Relations for the Cancer Exercise Training Institute will be leading a 4 hour interactive webinar

Living a Life to Prevent Cancer

We will be learning in great detail the latest research on cancer prevention and cancer recovery, citing over 50 studies.

Please join us. This program is open to the general public and qualifies as continuing education credits for the Cancer Exercise Specialist  certification of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. Please contact Shira for more details and registration. Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Next Course Dates:

Part 1: May 24, 8-10 pm Eastern Time Zone and

Part 2: May 31, 8-10 pm Eastern Time Zone

 

Dr. Jonathan Whiteson interviews Shira Litwack on Sirius XM Radio Dr. Radio – Rehabilitative Medicine. First aired on Sirius channel 110 March 1, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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.