Lent - What are you giving up?

Lent is a time of year where you get a chance to sacrifice something and rest assured that others are doing the same. It doesn't matter if you're religious or not you can still make it a time of year when you can make a change. For some it can be the start of a permanent change, for others a time to test your own will power. Whatever your reason for celebrating lent, I encourage you to stick with your goal and make those 40 days count. Here are a three suggestions of things to give up for lent.

Milk Chocolate - This is probably one of the most common sacrifices people make this time of year. It seems that chocolate is almost everyone's vice. At upwards of 500 calories per 100g it actually makes a lot of sense. Remember to not over-indulge on that sunday though.

Riding the Elevator at work - I thought this would be a good idea for those of you working in office buildings. Ok, so if you work on the twentieth floor than maybe this isn't the most practical idea. but it's well work thinking about. Just think, climbing one flight of stairs (up and down) burns about four or five calories, doesn't sound like much, but climb 10 flights three times a day and burned 120-150 calories right there. do that five times a week and you'll burn 600-750 calories.
Soda - This is one that I've done in the past. I'll admit it was hard because I LOVE soda. but, it really is a good one to sacrifice. Let's say you drink 1 can of soda a day - you'll save yourself 850 calories assuming you drink a can on Sunday.

I wish you all well during lent. I'd be curious to know what everyone is doing for lent. 

Guest Post - Changing Perceptions of Exercise for Cancer Patients

Hi folks. I was approached by David Haas of mesothelioma.com and he has graciously written an article about Changing Perceptions of Exercise for Cancer Patients. Please continue reading and follow his blog.

Changing Perceptions of Exercise for Cancer Patients

Preventive medicine often receives little coverage in the media, and coverage is generally limited to a brief story when new research shows the benefits of a particular food or type of exercise. As a result, most people are still misinformed on the benefits of exercise despite the huge amount of research confirming these benefits. For instance, most know that exercise can help prevent many types of cancer, but the benefits of exercise after a cancer diagnosis are largely unknown, even by doctors.

This is changing, as the research has prompted research organizations to devise exercise guidelines for all cancer patients, as well as put additional funds toward confirming the benefits of exercise during different types of treatment.

What Are the Benefits?

The very same incentives that prompt millions of healthy people to head to the gym every week are available to every cancer patient, even those with bone cancer or mesothelioma. A stronger ability to adapt to and handle physical and emotional stress, leaner body composition, and increased oxygen and nutrient delivery throughout the body will all provide more specific benefits for cancer patients.

Fatigue is a common complaint of those undergoing treatment. The stress of hearing the diagnosis combined with the physical damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation causes fatigue that can last for up to five years following successful treatment. A physical fitness program will help the body to recover faster by prioritizing nutrient and oxygen delivery to damaged cells. It will also promote the production of exercise hormones, which are capable of lightening the mood and making room for hope and the desire to be well.
have confirmed this effect using a variety of exercise types on both hormone-based and terminal cancers. In one of the earlier studies, walking was found to be a simple way for those receiving outpatient radiation therapy to fight symptoms of fatigue and emotional distress. In particular, a study by Mock et al. in 1997 a home based waling exercise program can help manage symptoms - such as fatigue and anxiety – and improve physical function.

Is There a Preferred Form of Exercise or Special Precautions?

The first step, assuming a lack of history with exercise, is to discuss the possibilities with a doctor and physical therapist. Most patients will be able to engage in at least low-intensity aerobics and build up to more strenuous forms. However, some cases will require greater input from the therapist trained in cancer care. They can help determine a list of options suitable for the individual's health and treatment status.

Barring other considerations and poor fitness levels, more vigorous programs will provide increasing levels of benefits. The current recommendations are for 150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobics per week, but studies have shown prostate cancer patients gaining further benefits with endurance running, considered a high-intensity or vigorous exercise. Regardless of the type chosen, all patients will benefit.

David Haas is a Family Hospital Co-ordinator who has been on blogger since June 2011.

Body Weight Exercises - The Pull Up

Continuing on with the theme of body weight exercises, here is a feature on the pull up - otherwise known as the chin-up.

While not as minimalist as the push-up, it can still be done easily in your house with the purchase of a chin up bar that can be place in pretty much any doorway. I want to prefaces this post with saying that pull-ups look a lot simpler than they are. Many women will be unable to do them - not because of a lack of upper body strength, but because of the carrying angle at the elbow. a man's elbow is typically much more straight than a woman's; this gives them a bio-mechanical advantage with certain activities, such as the pull-up.

The Science-y Bit
Pull-ups mainly involve the following muscles
Bicepselbow flexions
elbow/wrist supination
Latissimus Dorsishoulder adduction
shoulder internal rotation
shoulder extension
Rhomboidsscapula retraction
Teres majorshoulder internal rotation
As you can see the pull-up is a extremely useful exercise in that it utilizes a activates so many muscles in the back, as well as the arm. Taking into consideration grip strength even more musculature could be listed, but I think that you get that idea - pull-ups are the ultimate back exercise.

The Practical Bit
If you've managed to sift through the boring science bit above congratulations. Your prize is a clear, concise explanation of the usefulness of pull-ups.

  1. It is ridiculously easy to adapt. Simple by changing to an underhand grip with a narrow grip (aka chin-up) the exercise changes to place more focus on your biceps and lats.
  2. All you need as a door frame and one of these nifty contraptions and you can do them pretty much anywhere you want.
  3. Easy to progress. start with a step (milk crate or chair for the minimalist) and you can give yourself a boost. Move on to not using a step and - when you're really ready for a challenge - weigh yourself down; tie a bag of oranges to your belt for example.
  4. As I've mentioned above, this exercise is compound. This is great because you're working more than one muscle group at a time, meaning you're being as efficient as possible
  5. finally, it mimics a functional movement. By that I mean it's an exercise that's akin to something you would do in real life. For to rock climber it's pulling yourself up on a ledge, for the regular person it's pulling yourself up to see what's on the very top shelf or in the attack. 
So there you have it folks. The pull-up. Compound, efficient, and easily adaptable.