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EXERCISE

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

My Wife has just drawn my attention to this fascinating item in the NY Times:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/how-exercise-can-prime-the-brain-for-addiction/

Any number of interesting lines of enquiry are prompted, many reflected in the responses quoted after it from readers, some of whom are appropriately qualified and raise good points. The concluding 2 paras. of the article are:

"He points to a number of studies by other researchers that have shown that exercise seems able to stimulate reward centers in the brain “that might substitute for drug cravings,” he says. Animals given voluntary access to both running wheels and narcotics, for example, almost always choose to take less of the drug than animals that couldn’t run. “They seem to get enough of a buzz” from the exercise, he says, that they need less of the drugs.

“It’s a no-brainer, really,” Dr. Rhodes concludes. “Exercise is good for you in almost every way.” But it is wise to bear in mind, he adds, that, by exercising, “you do create a greater capacity to learn, and it’s up to each individual to use that capacity wisely.”

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1874
Joined: Oct 2011

It is all to do with the production of endorphins. Also known as a runners high. Which I know you have had T-W. It is also why exercise is an effective adjunct to depression therapy.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Not only from running Fox!

(By the way, experience in my family proves how valuable it is as an adjunct to treatment for depression.)

I get the endorphin benefit from weightlifting also. This prompts me to share a strange sort of good news story and recording it here will help me to remember it (as I approach middle age, memory weakens - did I already say that?). Still in touch, as I am, with school friends from 65 years ago, I find some periods of life return to mind more readily than others, for good reason. Of all the groups I've been part of over the years (academic, sporting, business, charities), one bunch has maintained a coherence (without my involvement) more than the rest - a university weightlifting club.

Earlier this week, for a couple of days I had memories of two guys in the group who were particular pals of mine (there were a few others who were also very good friends but it was these two only that I thought about, Michigan being a factor!). The morning following the second of those days, my Wife (having her usual breakfast in bed) called through to me at my Mac "Have you seen your interesting emails this morning?" I hadn't mentioned my memories to her and I was absorbed in something else I was writing and only later checked my emails. I was staggered to find that there were messages from the wives of my two pals. One couple, from Scotland, were having a celebratory tour of North America, following his retirement, visiting friends all over the US and Canada. They are currently staying with the other couple in Vancouver, Al being a Scots Canadian who did a Ph D in military history over here.

I was the only one of the group no-one had ever been able to trace. Over those same two days the four of them had discussed how they could possibly find me. The wives (of course!) had an inspiration. My Wife has a very unusual maiden name, which she has retained for all her publications. The Canadian also happened to remember the title of my Wife's Ph D thesis. They spent hours on Google, hampered just by getting my Wife's name slightly wrong. Eventually they cracked it and found my Wife's and my own personal websites, our Daughter's address and ours, and much other info. but no contact info, initially. They even found a number for an Independent Advocacy organisation at which I'm on the board and 'phoned the office only to discover that Easter Monday was a holiday on which that office was closed! Eventually they got what they reckoned might be (one of) my Wife's email addresses and each fired off messages to her, fingers crossed. They asked for a 'phone number for us.

Of course (another story I don't need to go into) I replied at once. Soon after that I had a call from Vancouver and spent a long time talking in turn to the two guys and the Scots wife. (Even though I had answered the 'phone with "War Graves Commission, good afternoon", Al wasn't fooled - our voices are still all instantly recognisable. I guess that won't hold for our appearances. I'm almost reluctant to put it to the test and will make the most, meanwhile, of memories of all those young faces that I remember. I was always recognisable from a great distance by a very springy gait and a shock of very red hair. Now, when they see me it will just be a shock!

The hostess, a pianist, had had to go to a harp lesson so I called her late night and had another lovely chat. Meanwhile they had called Scotland and I got another call from Cramond (village near Edinburgh) and laid plans to meet up with all the guys (all, remarkably, still with the same wives) in the next few months.

It was all pretty spooky, following, as it did, the same scenario that occurred in November, just before my first op, when old university friends who'd noticed my absence at a 50-year class reunion and hadn't been in touch for 40 years had also run me down via Google, using my Wife's name.

Wow, what a week! I thought the weekend was it - a historic, dramatic, Oxford/Cambridge boat race, seeing a recording of the wonderfully exhilarating "Riverdance in Beijing" , then a perfect Masters from Augusta, but then it kept getting better still and tomorrow my golf partner picks me up early morning to walk round Carnoustie with him in the frost, with all the skylarks, oyster catchers, curlews, starlings, wagtails and herring gulls. Too much living still to enjoy to quit this place anytime soon - I shall sing in my chains like the sea.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1874
Joined: Oct 2011

.....so,..what are saying?....life is good?...when the day comes that we have to die, they are going to have to hold us down and nail that coffin shut. Because we aren't going with out a fight..Here is how it sounds.." Mr. Texas- Wedge, would you please just lie down! Stop moving! MR.TEXAS- WEDGE!!!!!!!

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Right on Foxy :-)

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

WOW, WOW, WOW!

j_rod
Posts: 125
Joined: Mar 2012

I am with you Tex - I notice the sweet sounds of the birds singing around my house every day. Life is good.

One Lucky Girl's picture
One Lucky Girl
Posts: 68
Joined: Feb 2012

Reconnecting with long-lost friends, appreciating the beauty of nature that surrounds us -- a beautiful story and well-told.

And... the world is a happier place with you guys in it! I'm sure it's going to stay happy for a very long time :-)

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I started this thread with a serious purpose but then rather sabotaged it myself with anecdotage!

But, back to business now - I could have posted this link on a diet-related thread but it's more accessible this way and I think most of us are more fixated on care about diet than care about exercise and I think that's a mistake and exercise should be given at least equal prominence. However, exercise and diet should work together. This is latest guidance from ACS entitled

Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors

http://bit.ly/K97mYe

Should be of interest to us?

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1874
Joined: Oct 2011

I wish I could be more stringent with my diet. But Physiology and the Krebbs cycle have biased me. I forget the specifics but, all our energy boils down to adp and atp on a molecular level. Doesn't matter if it comes from a steak or a popsicle....I know. ...I know better.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

{ Where's your loyalty man? You're supposed to be a Harley devotee and now you admit that you have a Krebs cycle! }

The ACS Guidelines I flagged above are more guarded and less prescriptive than I expected on the diet front (but unequivocal about the enormous value of exercise for cancer patients).

A few general statements struck me as interesting - that about 1 in every 25 Americans is now a cancer survivor; about 68% of Americans diagnosed with cancer now live more than 5 years and accordingly that preventing recurrence, second primary cancers and other chronic diseases should be a priority.

GUIDELINES ON DIET

They don't deal in detail with steak and popsicles (whatever they may be - ?) and they deal cautiously, in generalities, esp. go for plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts and unrefined grains and avoid processed foods, bad fats and too much red meat; go easy on alcohol.

They reinforce the establishment line about food supplements (a line which I find dubious and unconvincingly argued).

The only really striking aspect of the dietary advice, for me, was the emphatic endorsement of the value of flaxseed which appears to be a genuine wonder food, with e.g. two studies (breast and prostate) showing "significantly lower tumour proliferation rates". {I bought a packet of flaxseed recently to add to smoothies - must figure out where I put it!]

When it comes to specific cancers, we're a Cinderella, as usual, with 8 major cancers discussed in detail but not a mention of KC.

THE OBESITY PROBLEM

A major theme is the problem of over-weight/obesity and it's a clear consensus that it's bad for cancer sufferers.

"Convincing data exist that obesity is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and similar evidence on obesity and prognosis is also accumulating for other cancers."

"In the United States, obesity is a problem of epidemic proportions and is a well-established risk factor for some of the most common cancers. Overweight and obesity are clearly associated with an increased risk of developing many cancers, including cancers of the breast in postmenopausal women; colon and rectum; endometrium; and adeno- carcinoma of the esophagus, kidney, and pancreas. Obesity is also probably associated with an increased risk of cancer of the gallbladder, and may also be associated with an increased risk of cancers of the liver, cervix, and ovary, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and aggressive forms of prostate cancer..... Increasing evidence indicates that being overweight increases the risk of recurrence and reduces the likelihood of disease-free and overall survival among those diagnosed with cancer."

There's more than passing attention to BMI

"Throughout the cancer continuum, therefore, individuals should strive to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, as defined by a body mass index (BMI) (Table 3) between 18.5 kg/m2 and 25 kg/m2."

EXERCISE GUIDELINES

During treatment:-

"Existing evidence strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe and feasible during cancer treatment, but that it can also improve physical functioning, fatigue, and multiple aspects of quality of life. Some studies have also suggested that physical activity may even increase the rate of completion of chemotherapy."

The value of physical therapy in counteracting fatigue and depression contingent on bed-rest is mentioned.

After treatment:-

"Extensive research has been conducted on the benefits of physical activity during recovery from cancer-related treatments, and an increasing number of studies have examined the impact of physical activity on cancer recurrence and long-term survival. Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, body composition, fatigue, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness, and several components of quality of life .... At least 20 prospective observational studies have shown that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrences and improved survival compared with those who are inactive"

The concrete guidance on exercise regimens is as follows:

"After consideration of these and other specific precautions, it is recommended that cancer survivors follow the survivor-specific guidelines written by an expert panel convened by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The ACSM panel recommended that individuals avoid inactivity and return to normal activity as soon as possible after diagnosis or treatment. For aerobic physical activity, the ACSM panel recommended that survivors follow the US Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. According to those guidelines, adults aged 18 to 64 years should engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (Table 4). Some activity is better than none and exceeding the guidelines is likely to provide additional health benefits. Activity should be done in episodes of at least 10 minutes per session and preferably spread throughout the week. Furthermore, adults should do muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups at least 2 days per week. Adults aged older than 65 years should also follow these recommendations if possible, but if chronic conditions limit activity, older adults should be as physically active as their abilities allow and avoid long periods of physical inactivity."

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