Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Exercises to Physically Strengthen and Lift Moods in Cancer Patients

Today we have a guest post by Milady on how excercise and other activities can affect cancer recovery.  She is very passionate about this topic.

Going through cancer treatments can be an extensive journey that is both trying on the body and trying on the emotions. It is common for cancer patients to feel exhausted, depleted, emotionally stressed and physically ill when they are fighting for their lives by engaging in a series of surgeries and treatments that include chemotherapy and radiation.

When a person has many health factors stacked against them, it is important to begin implementing healthy habits.  These habits can help to potentially reverse the side effects of cancer treatments and some physical symptoms of the disease.  Exercise is an affordable and extremely effective way to begin taking positive action to feel better physically and mentally.

Yoga Provides Premium Results for Many Cancer Patients

Yoga is one of the easiest forms of exercise for a cancer patient to consider.  The reason yoga is ideal is due to the fact that it can be performed at home, or with a group. Yoga is a mild type of exercise with varying degrees of difficulty that can be increased slowly as the person grows stronger and more flexible.  

Arranging private lessons with a certified yoga instructor could be a great way to start learning.  After a few private instructions, the individual can then elect to practice yoga sessions at home or to attend group yoga sessions with friends for a fun social activity combined with physical exertion.  

Yoga movements include stretches that increase blood flow, improve circulation and strengthen the muscles and joints.  Each of these benefits will provide valuable support to anyone who is in the process of going through rigorous sets of cancer treatments.  Yoga is also helpful because this type of workout allows a person to rest better at night.  Getting better rest leads to a healthier diet and more physical strength that is vital for a cancer patient.

Combine Yoga with Light Cardio Activities

Adding cardio workouts to alternate on a fitness schedule with yoga is a great way to strengthen muscles and elevate mood levels through the cardio.  According to research, serotonin is distributed through the body when a person engages in mild cardio workouts such as walking, swimming or aerobics.  This distribution of serotonin increases positive moods and also lifts self-esteem, both of which are vital to a cancer patient’s overall emotional and mental health while going through cancer treatments.

So, no matter what type of cancer you are battling, from breast cancer to mesothelioma, exercise can play a vital role in your recovery. It is important to speak with your doctor to develop a plan to ensure the maximum benefit.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Training Recap: February 18th-24th

18th- Only got 5 miles in with my beautiful wife.  The cold wind really sapped my motivation.  I learned my lesson to get out the door in the early hours when it is less windy.  That is the plan for tomorrow.  I did get tons of push-ups in as well as myrtle routine, some core work and plenty of stretching.  Hoping to keep the body healthy and able to run every day- that is half the battle.

Daily Note:  I remember reading somewhere that Meb used to drink 3 glasses of water right before every meal to keep from overeating while dining on campus at UCLA.  That is a huge problem for me so I am trying out Meb's trick as well as using general will power to eat less.

19th- No work today so I got up early and ran 30 minutes with Danielle before continuing for a loop around LaBonte Park and back to the track for 4x100m.  I was trying to just run smooth and build some speed without hurting myself (starting run temp as 9F).  14.02-14.70 for all 4.  After that I ran back around the park before heading home.  In all it turned out to be right about 10 miles.  Did Myrtle routine for the second time in a row as well as some sit-ups and plenty of push-ups.  At 15 miles after 2 days for this week assuming I don't run again this afternoon.  It is a fairly sunny day with minimal wind, a rarity for Wyoming.  I do have to say that Brookings is both windier and colder than Laramie so far.

Daily Note:  The more time and thought I put into writing this, regardless of anyone else actually reading it, the more likely I am to get out the door.  Motivation is doing well right now, it is just other responsibilities and staying healthy that is the problem.  The next 3 days are going to be fairly low mileage but I am going to do my best to get out the door even if it takes waking up at 4:30.

19th (PM)- I had attempted to take a nap in the afternoon and couldn't fall asleep so I must have not been too tired.  Alex texted about an afternoon run so I had no excuse to not get out there.  We got in 5 at a pretty quick pace.  Into the 25+ mph wind for the first half then back.  This leaves me with 15 on the day and 20 on the week.  I am happy with this because my next 3 days are busy and I probably won't have a ton of time for running.  I think I am going to try to run in the morning tomorrow to get used to it for future runs.

20th- Sucessfully got out of bed at 4:30 and out the door at 4:40.  I made the mistake of looking at the thermometer in the bedroom and noticing that it was almost 60 degrees warmer inside than outside.  I was equally surprised in the fact that I got nearly 50 minutes in.  I am now at 27 miles for the week and if I run again this afternoon it will be because I am seeking the fabled runner's high and not because I need the miles to get to my mileage goal.  The most enjoyable parts of this early morning run were the stillness (with the exception of the train) and the train.  The train runs very close to the fence so you can feel the wind and hear all the noises and power.

Daily Thoughts:  I need to wake up earlier or run shorter in the morning.  I only had time for a very abbreviated Myrtle and minimal stretching (in the shower, of course.  The warm water works miracles, try it sometime) as well as 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups, both while chomping down a quick bowl of generic Raisin Bran.

20th (PM)- Easy 3 with Danielle and Alex.  It was a nice afternoon.  I am now at 30 for the week and have some leeway towards getting my goal.  A long run of 12-13 puts me nearly there!

21st- It snowed 3-4 inches overnight.  Decided this would be my day off for the week.  Probably not the smartest move but I'm going to get my weekly goal anyway.  This way I leave room for big improvements.

22nd- Got up at 4:30 for an easy 5.  I felt like I was asleep on my feet.  That might have to be a once-a-week thing for me.  Up to 35 on the week.

23rd- Had planned on getting a quick run in before the basketball game but I was just exhausted.  Took the second day off in a row.  Just have the long run left for the week.

24th-  It was cold, windy, and snowy.  I ran about 15 minutes before attempting to get onto UW's indoor track.  I finally got in when the last door I tried was unlocked.  I decided that I couldn't possibly do my whole long run on their 160m track so I decided to do a workout.  I ran 10x800 with 320m rest.  Yasso 800s.  This theory says that you should run the same time for your 800s as you should for the marathon.  e.g. 3 minutes 0 seconds for the 800s equals 3 hours flat for the marathon.  That was my initial goal this early in my training and I hit between 2:45 and 2:56 for all 10 with most of them being from 2:52 to 2:55.  I'm not sure if I fully believe Yasso but it is a nice confidence booster at this time.  I did end up getting at least my weekly long run and mileage goal.  Long run 13, weekly total 48.

This week in review:
Push-ups- Totally dominated- hit 900.  Next week will be to try to maintain and get to where I can do lots of diamond push-ups and some one handers.
Staying healthy-  good, every run was followed by stretching and myrtle to some extent.  Feeling great.  I am going to try and add some Lung Matrix by Coach Jay Johnson this next week.
Miles- 48, 3 above the goal.
Weight- A few days it was at my goal but taking two days off has its effects.  This will come down with more running and self-control but I am just impatient.

Next Week's plans:
Push-ups- 1k and more diamonds
Staying healthy- hydration and Lunge Matrix are the key focuses this week.  Hamstring flexibility needs to be worked on as well.
Miles: 54, only one day off if any at all.  If I run 7 days one will be very very easy.
Long Run: 14
Weight: Under 160 consistantly.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Training Recap February 11-17th

January 11th- Took my day off early in the week.

January 12th- Had the day of from work and didn't capitalize on that.  Only got 6 in.  Had planned on going further or even doubling but just didn't feel all that good.  Did brew up a strawberry-kiwi hefeweizen that I am very much looking forward to!

January 13th- Went out for a run with the intention of doing an unstructured workout.  Ended up doing about 10 surges anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes within the 9 miles I ran.  Felt great until the last one going up a long hill within the last mile.  Overall, I am pleased with my general aerobic fitness for this point  but I need to make an effort to do some strides after runs as well as more stretching post run.  My overall turnover is pathetic right now.  I know that isn't typically a key to marathon training but I believe that if your legs are used to moving faster then they will handle faster paces over longer distances easier.  Alex wanted to get an afternoon run in so we went 27 minutes, I'll call it 3.5 for a total of 12.5 on the day.  First double and biggest day of the new year.  That wont last long!  18.5 on the week, unless I take a day off I will most likely go over my weekly mileage goal.  That wouldn't hurt my feelings much.  Typically I would urge patience in building up but I have run over 100 miles in a week within the last year and I refuse to believe that the body forgets what that feels like this quickly.  50 or a little more won't hurt.

January 14th-  Only got in a quick 4 but it was quick and the legs felt surprisingly good after yesterday.  The windchill was hovering around 0 but it didn't feel too bad.  22.5 on the week and still wouldn't be surprised if I get over 45.

January 15th-  Had a tight hip at work and it got progressively worse as the day went on.  Didn't run.  Might have overdone it on January 13th but I think it is more my lack of commitment to all the extra things that go along with running fast that I have been failing to do.  I have been stretching a little bit but not enough and haven't done the myrtle routine in a long time.  Most days I get inside, take off my outer layers and flop down on the couch.  Next week I am turning over a new leaf as Rodney would say.  Still at 22.5 and will now be surprised if I get over 45.  At this point I need to keep the long term goals in mind and not obsess over numbers.  It is more important to get in shape and run fast than it is to hit 45 miles in the second week of training but it still is disappointing.

January 16th-  Woke up to a calf cramp.  This week hasn't been good to me as far as running goes.  It clearly is all my fault that I am not properly taking care of my body!  Ended up unable to run.  Not going to get close to the weekly goal even with a long run tomorrow.  Still at 22.5.  In other news, Danielle and I bought some backpacking packs for summer, so excited!

January 17th-  Calf is still tight.  Wrapped it up in a compression sock with another tight-fitting sock on top.  It felt ok.  This 'run' is hard to define.  Alex is doing the 'Twin Mountain Trudge' this coming weekend so we went out to check out the course.  We were going up and down large hills with anywhere from 6 inches to 3 feet of snow.  There were times where we were running and times where we were barely walking.  We were out there for about 2 hours.  I am going to call it 8 miles from a running standpoint, it was a solid aerobic workout the whole time.

30.5 miles on the week.  A far cry from 45 but I had planned on running 6 days and actually ran 4.  I also didn't meet my long run goal but today's effort was similar to what would have been my long run.  My weight is slowly but surely getting down there but it needs to get better!  I did meet my push-ups goal of 500 with 530.  I would like to make my week more even for these.  I ranged from 0 to 184 in one day.

January 18-24th goals
Miles: 45 again
Long run: 12 miles
Push-ups: 600
Weight: Under 160 consistently