03 February 2014

Exercise – it’s benefits and how to do it

How to get into the exercise habit and use what well may be the best least used remedy!

Everywhere you look these days you see more evidence confirming just how useful exercise is – in reducing the risk of developing most things you would rather not get, and assisting in the recovery of most chronic degenerative diseases as well as mental health problems.

The trick, however, is to do it! So this week we go Out on (an active) Limb and consider some of the recent evidence along with tips from regular exercisers. Then one country’s radical solution – one I am very keen on, but first

Thought for the Day
My husband and I divorced over religious differences.
He thought he was God and I did not.
                             Author unknown

Humour like exercise is meant to be good for you

The evidence is compelling that exercise lowers the risk of developing cancer and improves recovery rates in breast, prostate, bowel and quite possibly most other cancers.

Many more studies have shown how regular exercise improves mood states, is an antidote for depression and has these same positive effects on the state of mind of those dealing with cancer, both during and after the end of active treatment.

This evidence was strengthened with the publication in 2012 of 2 Cochran reviews (Cochran Database Syst Rev. 2012;8:CD008465, CD007566). LINK HERE 

Both found that exercise has a beneficial effect on a number of health-related quality-of-life domains, including cancer-specific concerns, body image/self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, sexuality, sleep disturbance, and social functioning. In addition, exercise was found to reduce anxiety, fatigue, and pain.

However, another recent study also confirms what I imagine many of us suspect; plenty of people who would benefit (ie all of us, not just people affected by cancer), do not exercise regularly enough.

According to Andrea L. Cheville, MD, from the Mayo Clinic, the lead author of a study in the July 2012 Journal of Pain and Symptom Management: (LINK HERE) their study showed that cancer patients were not exercising.

"There is a real disconnect between clinical trials of exercise and the real world," Dr. Cheville noted. "There is all this great research, but … changing behavior requires more than just counseling, and patients need a support system," she noted.

1. How to break through and exercise regularly.

It has been clear for years that regular exercise is highly therapeutic, reducing the risk of developing many illnesses and having major quality of life and survival benefits for people with chronic degenerative disease, especially cancer. The trick is to do it.

This is one area wherein family and friends can be particularly helpful. It is not so easy to find the motivation and energy to exercise regularly when you are not well, and yes owning an active dog certainly does helps. However, better still, arrange a roster amongst caring family and friends to share in regular walks or whatever exercise the person affected finds most useful and practical. Something shared is much easier to complete - and enjoy.

2. Lifestyle, exercise and dementia – a follow up to last week's blog thanks to Sue Pieters-Hawke:
Language wise, lifestyle is better described as providing significant "risk reduction". These words work better than "prevention":
a) Reduction is more consistent with the 'accepted' evidence so far, which amounts to 40-60% of risk for the Alzheimer's dementias being attributable to modifiable lifestyle factors.
b) points to multi-factorial rather than mono-factorial causality.
c) I find people 'hear' it better.

Significantly, the evidence is really strong on exercise being a crucial factor in risk for dementia, and has to be stressed in risk reduction recommendations as much as food in my view.

In terms of the brain chemistry involved, a mixture of aerobic (not literally, but circulation etc promoting) and weight-bearing exercise is important.

My comments again: Weight bearing exercise is any activity you do while on your feet and legs that works your muscles and bones against gravity. Weight bearing exercises includes walking, jogging, dancing, step aerobic, ball games, golf, stair climbing and many gym exercises.

Exercises that are non-weightbearing include swimming and cycling.

The best therapeutic exercise seems to combine both weight bearing and aerobic exercise (aerobic is when you breath faster and your heart rate rises).

3. Common sense from an airline
It often peeves me to observe really heavy people checking in at the airline counter, putting on their luggage while I am clearly not so heavy! I want to be weighed with my luggage!

So how is this? The head of a tiny Pacific airline that pioneered a fare system based on passengers' weight said recently the move had been so successful the carrier is upgrading its fleet. Samoa Air introduced its world-first system late in 2012, when it began charging passengers fares based on how much people weigh, rather than a set price for each seat.

Chief executive Chris Langton said the 1.34 tala (64 cents) per kilogram charge had proved popular over the first 12 months as it meant cheaper fares for most passengers. Larger passengers who pay high fares are given more space. He said larger airlines were considering similar schemes.


Prevention of dementia through diet


In addition to the usual suspects at Davos -- heads of state, Nobel laureates, CEOs and media titans -- the 2014 World Economic Forum annual meeting featured the perspectives of people who have lived far from the centers of finance; including one very happy monk.! Read more…

Meditation in the Forest : April 11 – 17, 2014.
This is the regular Pre-Easter retreat Ruth and I present in the Yarra Valley each year.

In 2014, as well as providing the opportunity for some meaningful time out - including the space in your life to regain balance and to be revitalized - you will be gently guided to learn more about relaxation, mindfulness and meditation, and to deepen your experience of these wonderful techniques.

Each year we have a particular focus or theme for this meditation retreat and in 2004 we will be giving particular attention to the theory and practise of that invaluable (and in my view, seriously undervalued) skill of contemplation.

This retreat is designed to meet the needs of a broad range of meditators. It is well suited to beginners as well as the more experienced, those who are interested in teaching meditation (we hold specific sessions through the retreat for these people), those on the healing path and anyone keen to rest, reflect and deepen their meditation.

For details CLICK HERE

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian, yes, I agree with the importance of exercise. I have just started working with a personal trainer, a very reasonable time and money investment as it turns out. It's so supportive to have a buddy to work out with.
    Thank you