Reprinted with permission from the Anti-Cancer Club™. The Anti-Cancer Club™ is about TAKING CHARGE of your health, even in the face of cancer, providing social connection and information on anti-cancer nutrition and mind/body modalities.
Mirabai has spent her 30-year career specializing in Exercise for Women’s Age Onset Health Issues. A true expert, she served two terms as Chair of the American Council On Exercise Instructor Examination Committee, and Examiner For The American College of Sports Medicine. Mirabai Holland MFA is an ACE Certified Health Coach, & an American College Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist. She says “I want every woman from my generation to enjoy the same strength, mobility and vitality in the second half of her life that she did when she was younger.
Her health and exercise programs have been implemented in hospitals, fitness facilities, corporations, government agencies, and community centers in the USA, Europe & Asia. She is the creator of several exercise videos specifically geared towards age onset health issues.
As a pioneer in the medical fitness industry, what shift have you seen in the way fitness has addressed our critical health issues, like cancer, in more recent years?
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, I lectured to organizations like HIRSA & Club Industry about the new medical fitness research and the advent of fitness converging with medicine. The club owners were interested but skeptical.
It took 25 years but the number of research studies has accelerated and a body of evidence has accumulated that supports the concept that exercise and fitness is integral to health. The research shows that there is a connection between fitness and longevity and that regular exercise can help prevent and/or manage virtually every health issue.
In turn the medical community, the fitness industry, health insurance companies and issue specific non-profits have united on medical fitness as a part of mainstream prevention and management. This has given rise to new medical fitness professions like health coaching and spawned organizations like the Medical Fitness Network (MFN) that help people connect with these professionals in their city.
Mirabai, what total fitness regimen do you treat your clients with who are diagnosed with cancer?
One size does not fit all. However, a combination of cardio, strength, flexibility, nutrition, and stress management techniques like Moving Free®.
Specific exercises will vary greatly from person to person, their condition, type of cancer, stage and current medical treatment.
Can you explain to us what the term “health belief model” is and the importance of it?
According to the American Council on Exercise “The Health belief model predicts that people will engage in health behavior (i.e., exercise and/or healthy eating) based on the perceived threat they feel regarding a health problem, as well as the pros and cons of adopting that behavior. (Becker, 1974).”
This concept is very important in my practice as a health coach because it serves as a call to action for the person to get up and make a positive behavior change because their health or even their life depends on it.
You stated there is no “cookie cutter approach” to exercise but rather a more individualized approach based on the needs of the client. In terms of cancer patients, do you feel there is a successful whole mind and body approach as they exit treatment and move into the next phase of survivorship?
My answer to your second question above is my exercise approach.
I take the entire person, mind, body and spirit into consideration and viewing the person as a whole rather than a group of symptoms. I partner with my clients to co-design and continually refine a set of short and long term goals and the means by which they are most likely to achieve them.
How do you see the role of fitness and exercise changing in coming years and how should it help the outcomes of millions of people?
As the health care industry takes more and more charge of medical treatment, medical fitness is shown to be a cost effective additional means of disease prevention and management. We are seeing medical fitness incorporated into services offered by health care organizations. There is a growing need for talented, experienced medical fitness professionals who can assess people’s medical fitness issues and help motivate, educate and support them so they can achieve their health and wellness goals. When medical fitness becomes totally mainstream I believe we will see a fitter, healthier, longer-living society.
Mirabai is an advisory board member of the Medical Fitness Network (MFN), The Medical Fitness Network (MFN) is a free online resource directory for consumers to locate fitness & allied healthcare professionals interested in working with those with chronic disease/medical conditions, including but not limited to: Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease, Mental Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Pre & Postnatal Care, Respiratory Disease and Stroke. The MFN mission is to improve the quality of life for those with chronic medical conditions or who need pre or postnatal care help by connecting them to fitness & healthcare professionals with an interest and background in the treatment and rehabilitation of various diseases and medical conditions.
For more information on Mirabai Holland and her services, please click here to visit her website.