Sunday, 28 April 2013

Guest Post - Physical Exercise for Cancer Patients by Melanie Bowen

Today I'm posting an article sent to me by Melanie Bowen, she has been researching and writing about physical fitness and its benefits for people going through cancer treatment.

Physical Exercise for Cancer Patients

Physical exercise is imperative for healthy living. People exercise to improve their strength, flexibility and endurance. As a compliment to traditional treatment therapies, physical activity can help restore health and function.

Exercise in Cancer Therapy

Exercise is helpful therapy for most people battling cancer. Inactivity and bed rest often results in weakness, muscle deterioration and loss of function. Physical movement has a positive impact on the immune system and overall health.

Most doctors agree that regular, modest activity can benefit people who are fighting cancer. From benign skin growths to malignant mesothelioma, cancer damages health in more ways than one. The right exercise can improve cancer symptoms and combat the negative effects of cancer treatment.

Benefits for Cancer Patients

According to the Stanford Cancer Institute, regular exercise can accomplish many things for cancer patients. Studies indicate that moderate activity can reduce many of the side effects of cancer therapy. Among them are anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain and diarrhea.

By improving blood flow to the legs and other parts of the body, exercise can minimize the risk of blood clots. It may also help prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. Regular physical activity improves overall body function and allows cancer patients to live more independently.

Activities for Cancer Patients

Doctors and therapists cannot recommend a single, specific exercise for all cancer patients. The best exercise type, intensity and duration will depend on several factors including the cancer type, treatment method, individual’s abilities, personal preferences and more.

Generally, exercise should work the heart a little harder than normal activities. Flexibility exercises and strength training are also important. Medical experts advise cancer patients to start exercising slowly and build on it gradually.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends regular exercise at least three days a week. Five days are better for patients who can handle this schedule. The standard recommendation is thirty minutes of activity, broken down into ten-minute segments, if necessary.

Walking, jogging, swimming and yoga are great fitness choices that are also very popular. Cancer patients are also encouraged to exercise through everyday activities. Walking the dog, raking the leaves and washing the car are routine activities that can boost energy and build strength as well.

Important Precautions

Complications can arise when cancer patients exercise at a level that is too difficult for their condition. It is important to develop a cancer fitness program with the help of a doctor, trainer or physical therapist. The American Cancer Society has an extensive list of precautions for patients who want to exercise for health. As part of a comprehensive cancer care plan, exercise can be fun and productive therapy!

I’m not an expert on this topic so if you have any more questions you can directly get in touch with Melanie. Her details can be found on the link below

Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Body Pump (Fitness class)

(This post has been hidden away in the back for months now; so important yet it just slipped through the cracks)
When I went for my body pump class I was already lifting weights at home, I knew all the exercises and I wanted to start pushing myself more in weight training so this was my second step in that direction. Body pump was a little different from all the other classes I have been to. It was for a longer duration (a little over 1 hr), we had tiny breaks in between sets and I was hurting all over by the end of it.
Body pump is a class that focuses on weight training, so be prepared to do some lifting. How much you lift is completely your choice. As usual the class had great energy. We had two instructors one did the simpler form of exercise and the other did the advanced form, if you are used to even a little bit of weight training you should be ok with the advanced.
In this class the most important thing is to decide your weights I noticed in our body pump class we did not focus on only one body part we did exercises for upper body, core and lower body so the weights you choose for each exercise would vary.
We all were asked to pick up 3 different sets, a set of light weights for warm up, the heavier one for squats and lower body exercises and one for arms, shoulders and back (you can switch it up as you like, I did use the light weights for a few of my upper body exercises).
You can differentiate a body up class just by looking at all the equipment around each person, you will be asked to use a bench, mat, barbell with separate weight attachments which you will change as the class continues. (Usually all these equipments will be made available to you)
Even though this class did not focus on cardio we did do jumping squats with weights and the pace of lifting weights did increase my heart rate, it’s definitely tougher than doing only cardio. The combination of weights and cardio was a killer for me
I personally found this class to be the most challenging of all the others classes I have been to and I enjoyed pushing through the pain and being able to finish the entire class (At one point I had planned to walk out because my arms hurt that bad but I continued). I think this is a great class especially if you want to start lifting weights in the gym. If you start with a class you can build your confidence and you have somebody around to make sure your form is right before you venture out on your own into the weight section.

Things to remember for your first Body Pump class
  1. Go early (10-15 minutes) so you can pick your spot (so you have a clear view of the instructor)
  2. Set up your equipments (bench, barbell, weights, and mat). I always make sure the weight clips are easy to pull out when I want to change my weights in between sets. I also make sure the bench is adjusted to a comfortable height. If you are new ask the instructor.
  3. Select your weights depending on your comfort level, its ok if you have the lightest weight, a few classes in you will definitely improve and lift more.Don’t start with the heaviest weight because the pace of lifting weights is much faster, it’s usually focused on high repetitions lower weights.
  4. Stretching before you start, even warm-up  before the class helps
  5. Eat something healthy before your class, you will need the energy (banana, apple). Please don’t go hungry, the more energy you have the better you will be able to work out. Eat something healthy after your workout (in our class they give us apples)
  6. If this is the first time you are doing weights, you are definitely going feel all your muscles hurt for the next few days, protein is important for you to repair those muscles.
  7. You need to give body pump at least 4 chances before you decide you don’t like it
1st class is to understand all the exercises and the different sets (it could be confusing if you have never done weights)
2nd class is to understand your ability and deciding for which muscle group can you lift more?
3rd class is to enjoy being able to keep up with the class and working through the pain
4th class just because you will enjoy lifting and feeling stronger (hopefully)
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Thank you

Before I start posting again I want to first thank all of you. I want you to know your comments, messages, emails have been one of the main reasons I kept going last week, I must have read them so many times and even though we have connected just recently I felt you all understood me and stood by me. Thank you so much. If I could I would have given each one of you a tight hug. I really hope you all of you know how much I appreciate you in my life.
Love you all

Something sweet to start your week 

2 Bananas
1 cup Oatmeal
¼ cup Nuts (Almonds/walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350F
Mash the bananas
Combine oatmeal and the nuts
Use a table spoon to place on the cooking sheet
Bake for 15 minutes 

Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 
I found this here :

Monday, 15 April 2013


In my last post I mentioned to all of you that things were not so nice at my end and nothing has changed yet. I’m clearly struggling in my life at this point, things are getting a little too difficult for me to handle. Bad mood coupled with all the tension makes it more difficult to keep up with my Blog. So I have decided I’m going to concentrate on fixing my life, getting everything back on track. I will be back soon I promise maybe in a week or so, I need all your good thoughts and wishes, please don’t forget me...

Just for the record I’m going to continue working out and eating healthy.

Loads of love

Friday, 12 April 2013

Mistakes I made

Weight loss is a long journey and I have made my share of mistakes, here I’m listing a few in hope that reading these will prevent you from making the same mistakes.
  •  Starved myself 

If you eat less than required you will not be able to go on for very long, if you are not fuelled properly then your workout will not be as effective.  You will get tired soon; your body won’t repair itself fast.Starving can become addictive, so even when I knew I was going down the wrong path it was difficult to stop. If you start eating very less you might lose weight initially but then when you take one bite of something (even if it is not too much) you are going to immediately put on. Please stay away from this at all costs!!!
Eat healthy and eat the correct portion required for your body to have energy

  • Tried to do too much too soon

It’s important to know where you stand when you start with your health, If you are not used to exercising and if start by making yourself do 100 squats you are going to hurt yourself, if you suddenly reduce your calories from 3000 to 1000 you might not be able to keep up. It’s important to move up slowly and steadily. If you do too much too soon you will have to stop because it could affect you negatively.
Take small steps depending on your fitness level

  •  Focused only on dieting or exercising  

Weight loss requires both eating healthy and exercising, If you only eat healthy and don’t move you might lose weight initially but after sometime it will stop and if you only exercise and don’t consider the food you eat, your stamina might improve but you might still not lose weight.
Eating Healthy and Exercising both are equally important

  •  Expected quick results. Believed every article that said 7 days to a new you

If I have put on weight for most of my life without once trying to get healthy how can I expect to lose all my weight in a short time? Every time I made plans with unrealistic goals I would try and do a lot more than I could handle and then things would spiral down from there
There are no shortcuts

  • Got depressed and upset by comparing with people who were already living the healthy lifestyle

I would always compare with my friends who were already exercising or living healthier, when I started exercising I thought in a week or a little more I would be able to keep up with their exercise routine, that was just setting up myself up for depression. I reached their level after putting in a lot more effort than them and I took a few years to do that, and those who worked out as much as me they are still better than me. Your levels will always be directly proportional to your effort
Challenge yourself to reach somebody better than you, but don’t expect to do it overnight.

  • Did not get out of my comfort zone

I have an entire post on this here

  • Did not stand up for myself
I was always worried about people, if somebody said to me ‘just one bite’ I would give in, If people told me skip my exercise just one day to go out for coffee I would do it, It took me a long time to stand up for myself and tell people what is important to me and the more I listened to people the further away I moved from my goals.
Learn to say No and stand up for yourself

  • Thought weight loss would change other aspects of my life (body image, confidence..)

I always thought ‘once I’m thin I would be a different person’ sure it changes you, you feel nice about yourself but not as much. Being happy with who you does not and should not depend on your weight. Trust me I thought it would happen automatically but I’m still struggling to be happy with myself even though I have reached my ideal weight I still struggle most days.
Be happy with yourself no matter what weight; don’t expect your weight loss to change your body image completely.

  •   Used my weight as an excuse

‘.... because I’m fat....’ I have used this line so many times, I have used it to get out of situations where I was scared to try something new, I have used this as a comforting thought in situations which were not in my hand, I have also used this as a emotional cover telling myself ‘it was better to be fat than face certain things in life’. None of it was ever true, they were just ways which pulled me further down without me even realising
Being fat should not be an excuse or a wall to hide from reality

  • I have given up many times

Weight loss or getting fit is not easy, if it was nobody would ever put on weight or there would not be so many blogs, articles, tv shows about it. I have given up so many times, now I wonder what if I would have stuck to it the first time I ever started???
Things might not always work as planned, change your plans, ask for help but don’t give up.
Giving up should not be an option ever

I really hope reading my mistakes will help you

Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 
On the personal front things have been going down the drain for me (won’t get into details).Wednesday was a horrible day, we have been running about ever since, we actually did not even manage a good night’s sleep and we completely forgot about food. My point for sharing this is ‘ I decided to work out on Thursday  but because I had not eaten much or had no proper rest I could not really complete my workout.This goes to show how important eating and resting is.
Things have still not gone back to normal we are working on that and hopefully soon everything should be alright.