Because I’m a lifelong advocate of fitness walking and injury-free walking, I’m always trying to come up with the simplest way to get walkers to move along the ground in a way that produces the least amount of impact to the feet, knees, hips and lower back. The answer to this dilemma is different depending on whether you’re walking or running. I’ll begin with you walkers.
There is a lot of research, clinical data and statistics related to cancer – types, causes, and treatments – available to anyone interested in looking them up. There are, of course, the usual suspects /causes of cancer (more on that later). But there could be a case made out to look beyond the obvious. Scratch deeply and look below the surface. There is another omnipresent trigger we lug around and don’t give this Machiavellian it’s due. It coexists as both cause and effect, feeds off us, is often suppressed, and is usually the last to be addressed, if at all.
‘Unaddressed and unresolved emotions’.
The source of these could be singular, or more likely, multiple. Cracking or crumbling relationships, pressures of work (often tied up with a sense of ‘worth’ & ‘success’), irritants at home (from the mundane to the serious), overwhelming sense of responsibilities as a spouse, parent, child, maintaining a lifestyle, etc. come to mind easily. This tangle slowly and silently claws away at body, mind and soul. Some may immediately label it ‘Stress’. But this emotional web can manifest in other physio-psychological avatars too. It is silent and deadly. It attacks all systems- skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, etc. All organ systems on one hand, and cognitive and emotional on the other, interfering with and impairing our quality of living and coping abilities. While one needs to clearly distinguish and recognize medical reasons for what they are, the truth is, this silent trigger is omnipotent. Abstract though it may seem, emotions wield the power to mess with our tangible systems. They have the capability of producing unwanted, negative, and damaging results in the human body. Sometimes, drastically so.
SHOULD WE BE LOOKING MORE SERIOUSLY AT OUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH IN OUR BATTLE AGAINST CANCER?
A long, relaxed conversation with a cancer survivor friend brought this aspect to the fore yet again. He has overcome cancer twice and tried all treatments – mainstream and alternate, including adopting a complete lifestyle change which most of us can only aspire to. But there remains an unaddressed issue. After years spent on this journey of cancer, getting on and off track, he calmly mentioned this point in relation to his experience of it. It was interesting to hear him analyze his own life experiences. Aware of what’s impacting him (acknowledging the source of his emotional drain), he recognizes the need let it go, and admits that he hasn’t been able to yet. Driven by his emotional moorings, he hasn’t been able to sever this source of recurring negativity in his life despite nudging by family, friends, healers and a few doctors.
He further went on to calmly say that till such time as he lets go, he is not fighting the root causes of cancer completely. (I say ’causes’ so as not to make an oversimplified case of cancer triggers, especially in relation to emotional health, nor is it my intention to present this as a thought in conflict with medical advice or challenge it.) He intends to seriously weigh the worthiness of continuing with this emotional baggage and its impact on his body.
DOES THIS MATTER?
He isn’t the first person – or the last – to have mentioned this connection. There is something more than pure abstraction at play here. And it’s worth acknowledging the elephant in the room. We are, after all, feeding it and it is rolling its weight all over us. Emotions impact us and negative emotions more so. Our bodies respond in myriad ways trying to combat it. Labored breathing, racing/irregular heart beat (cardiovascular), tight muscles (muscular), tingling in fingers/toes (neural), aches and pains (skeletal and muscular), compromised digestion, high/low blood pressure (other body systems)… these are just some common perceptible symptoms and responses to our altered emotional states. We have all experienced them to varying degrees and at different points in our lives. Not to mention what happens to our (emotional) responses and thought process.
It becomes a cause of concern when this altered state continues for a longer period of time. The body appears to adapt and these symptoms become silent and internal in nature. The impact, meanwhile, continues on a wider, cellular level, and various manifestations of this silent aggressor may emerge over a period of time, including possibly, as cancer.
SHOULD WE EMPOWER OURSELVES BETTER?
Does it mean all cancers are somehow the result of negative emotions or negative emotions will always lead to cancer? There is no definite, categorical ‘Yes’ as an answer. But, it could prove helpful investigating and addressing how our underlying emotive states may be leaving us exposed to greater possibility of serious health conditions, including cancer, along with all other clinical causes. As a precautionary tool, I reckon paying attention to emotional health plays a rather important role. We know that a healthy and fit lifestyle has so many advantages in serving as prevention for many health conditions. ‘Fitness’ needs to encompass emotional and mental health (strength and fortitude) too, by constantly sieving out the negative and enhancing the positive. It requires acknowledgement and working upon, with a conscious approach. As a cancer coping mechanism, focusing on positive emotional health and reducing negative (draining/sapping/unhappy/stressful/fearful) emotions plays a powerful role.
Emotions have the power to alter the human state at the conscious and subconscious levels. They can be an ally or a foe in our battle against ill health. They have the ability to align internal systems/processes to either facilitate or hinder external efforts.
So while one may refrain from an outright ‘yes’ to the question raised above, one cannot say an outright ‘no’ either. As science discovers deeper working of the human ecosystem, it is increasingly revealing the intertwining of our emotive state with our physical one.
Humans are emotional beings.
We cannot challenge it nor ignore the fabric that differentiates us. When one goes against the basic grain it creates friction. Prioritizing striving for a residual state of positive emotional health needs a deliberate plan and push. It is not easy. But neither is cancer nor its treatment. Using different techniques to spot and train our emotions, create emotional alchemy, makes sense now more than ever before, with different types of cancers spiraling and affecting all age groups, sometimes with the known triggers missing.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” –C. G. Jung
Originally printed on bodyinmotion.in. Reprinted with permission.
Vani Pahwa is a Functional Fitness specialist with over fifteen years of experience, and cutting-edge certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally recognized fitness institutes. She is also a Cancer Exercise Specialist (perhaps one of the first in the country). Sought after for her multi-disciplinary fitness modules and expertise, Vani has conducted fitness workshops for leading corporate houses, conditioning and training camps for various sports communities, training programs for coaches, personal training programs for CEOs of multi-nationals, athletes, junior and senior sports professionals among others. Her combination of specialties, client profile and range, and extensive work experience makes her unique in the country. She is the founder of Body in Motion.
** If interested in further research on the topic you may read up related links including:
Let’s start with four statements I’m willing to call facts:
1. Chronic disease afflicts the majority of American adults over the age of 45.
2. People with chronic disease choose a visit with an allopathic physician (conventional medicine) as their first course of action.
3. A pharmaceutical prescription is the first course of action after linking symptoms and biomarkers to a commonly diagnosed disease (type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc.).
Mounting evidence suggests that we may be able to live a longer, healthier life by strategically restricting our energy intake. For many years the scientific community has known that a surplus of energy intake results in the storage of fat, which is linked to chronic disease, and premature death. However, now emerging evidence suggests that restricting calories may be able to slow the rate in which we age. Aging can be categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary aging is considered inevitable at the date of this publishing and is the biological maturing and eventual breakdown that accompanies the years of age beyond 30. Secondary aging comes from external influences such as obesity and lifestyle factors that cause cellular damage and is not part of the natural aging process. (2)
What is calorie restriction? Calorie restriction describes a process where one limits the amount of food they consume. The term calorie is a shortened term originating from kilocalorie and is used as a measurement of food energy. When the body has an excess of calories beyond what it needs to function it stores those calories in our body as fat. Despite the diet industry’s most sincere efforts and propaganda, studies still do not support the effectiveness of one fad diet over another for weight loss. (13) This means, weight gain, and weight loss are ultimately determined by the number of calories consumed, and the number of calories expended.
Earlier we identified obesity as contributing to secondary aging. The scientific community has established that being overweight, or obese dramatically increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes, among other chronic disease, thereby reducing life expectancy. In fact, people that are 100 pounds or more overweight can expect a life expectancy that is nearly 14 years less than the national average. This is a shorter life expectancy than that of someone who is of a healthy weight and smokes cigarettes. (3, 12) A calorie reduction below what your body is expending results in weight loss, and for those who have a higher than healthy level of body fat, can expect a reduction in not just their weight but in secondary and primary aging.
There are many misconceptions of what constitutes being overweight or obese. A person is classified as being overweight if they have a BMI (body mass index) of 25 or higher, and obese if they have a BMI of 30 or higher. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your squared height in meters. BMI is likely a fair indicator if you are relatively inactive. If you are engaged in a fitness program or are an athlete, an alternative approach to determining healthy weight is by determining percentage of body fat. A healthy body fat is typically considered to be between 8-22% for men and 20-35% for women (aged 18-34). A classification of obese may be assigned if someone has a body fat percentage of 26% or higher for men and a body fat of 39% or higher for women. (7) As always if you’re not sure where you fit into these metrics see a credentialed fitness professional or consult with your primary care provider.
It is estimated a calorie deficit of 200-500 calories daily is required to achieve healthy weight loss. Two ways to achieve this deficit are to reduce calorie consumption and increase calorie burn (expenditure). Calorie burn can be increased through additional physical activity; however, it should be cautioned that one can consume calories at a far faster rate than physical activity can burn them. As an example, it is estimated that a 180-pound man burns approximately 14 calories per minute jogging (1). As a point of reference, a single Hershey kiss contains 22 calories. The lesson here is to use physical activity in addition to a nutritious diet, not in place of a nutritious diet. (For more information on a nutritious diet visit choosemyplate.gov.) Give special attention to the section on vegetables, especially non-starchy vegetables as they are high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories.
For persons of a healthy weight, calorie restriction appears to offer slowed primary aging. The current school of thought is that primary aging is slowed as a result of a protective cellular reaction triggered by the calorie restriction. There is still much we do not know about the mechanisms responsible for this anti-aging phenomenon and some debate among scientists exists. However, the most common consensus among scientists is that this reaction collectively comes from activating sirtuins, increasing AMPK, impacting MTOR, and an improvement in blood sugar. (8,10,15,16,17,18) If you do not know what any of that means here’s a quick break down but don’t fret if you are not familiar with the lingo.
- Sirtuins are responsible for DNA expression and control acetyl groups, as well as activate the mitochondrial antioxidant function. (8,16,17) Oxidative damage is believed to play a role in primary aging. Acetyl groups are important because they control the energy that proteins use during cell replication.
- AMPK (Adenosine Monophosphate Protein-activated Kinase) detects the presence of nutrients or prolonged absence of nutrients, which then triggers the fragmentation/breakdown of damaged mitochondrial components (mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell) that need to be rebuilt, increasing mitochondrial health and efficiency. (4,16,17)
- MTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), specifically TORC1 regulates protein building and cell growth. It is theorized a reduction in TORC1 and in turn a reduction of cellular division results in reduced DNA damage, and less inflammation. (11,17)
- In terms of handling blood sugar, there are two important molecules at work. These proteins are Thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), and Thioredoxin-1. When TXNIP is stimulated by insulin (which results when we eat) cell stress resistance is reduced resulting in increased oxidative damage to DNA. It is theorized that during calorie restriction, Thioredoxin-1 increases which increases oxidative stress resistance, increases nonoxidative glucose disposal, and increases insulin sensitivity (improves use of insulin and absorption of sugar) as well as reduces damage to DNA (and thus slowed DNA aging) (10,15).
Regardless of how precisely these mechanisms work or interact what we currently believe and have pieced together is a reduction in calories likely:
- Triggers a protective response in the body that helps:
- Protect mitochondria from free radical damage (mitochondria are the energy makers of the cells)
- Increases cell sensitivity to insulin and in turn increases absorption of blood sugar into the muscle
- Induces cellular stress resistance and cell cleansing, which shuts off cell replication. Think of cell replication like a copy machine, if you do not use the original for each copy, but instead use a copy to make a copy, each time the copy gets blurrier. This is thought to also occur in our cells, therefore the less copies we make or the slower we make them the slower the aging process occurs.
- Appears to reduce risk of age-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
- Begins at 10%-40% reduction in calories per day (from normal)
- Starvation is too far! You still need to get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients required to aid your body in recovery, and immune function otherwise your efforts will be counterproductive, which can be done by increasing your consumption of non-starchy vegetables.
- Calorie restriction can be accomplished by all types of fasting schemes. For example, fasting can take place daily for 12-16 hours, every other day, or over the weekends only. The important thing is achieving that 10%-40% reduction while still getting the proper nutrition necessary. (5)
The takeaway here is achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is the first step to a healthy lifespan and the incorporation of strategically fasting, may bring additional health and longevity. Fasting has been embedded in our culture in many ways from traditional religious observances as well in the fitness industry, but the question is what scheme and plan will work best for you. Most would agree it’s the health span (length of superior quality of life attributed to good health) more than the lifespan that’s important, and while there is currently no fountain of youth this appears to be a good place to start.
Remember, of course, to consult with your primary care provider before undergoing dietary changes.
Jeremy Kring, holds a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from the California University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University. He is a college instructor where he teaches the science of exercise and personal training. He is a certified and practicing personal/fitness trainer, and got his start in the field of fitness training in the United States Marine Corps in 1998. You can visit his website at jumping-jacs.com
- American Council on Exercise. (2009). Retrieved from https://acewebcontent.azureedge.net/assets/education-resources/lifestyle/fitfacts/pdfs/fitfacts/itemid_2666.pdf
- Anstey, K., Stankov, L., & Lord, S. (1993). Primary aging, secondary aging, and intelligence. Psychology and Aging, 8(4), 562–570. doi: 10.1037//0882-79188.8.131.522
- Tobacco-Related Mortality. (2018, January 17). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/index.htm.
- Cantó, C., & Auwerx, J. (2011). Calorie Restriction: Is AMPK a Key Sensor and Effector?Physiology, 26(4), 214–224. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00010.2011
- Derous, D., Mitchell, S. E., Wang, L., Green, C. L., Wang, Y., Chen, L., … Speakman, J. R. (2017). The effects of graded levels of calorie restriction: XI. Evaluation of the main hypotheses underpinning the life extension effects of CR using the hepatic transcriptome. Aging, 9(7), 1770–1824. doi:10.18632/aging.101269
- Hadad, N., Unnikrishnan, A., Jackson, J. A., Masser, D. R., Otalora, L., Stanford, D. R., … Freeman, W. M. (2018). Caloric restriction mitigates age-associated hippocampal differential CG and non-CG methylation. Neurobiology of aging, 67, 53–66. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.03.009
- Howley, Edward T., and Dixie L. Thompson. Fitness Professionals Handbook. Human Kinetics, 2017.
- Imai, S. I., & Guarente, L. (2016). It takes two to tango: NAD+and sirtuins in aging/longevity control. NPJ aging and mechanisms of disease, 2, 16017. doi:10.1038/npjamd.2016.17
- Jacobs, Patrick L. NSCAs Essentials of Training Special Populations. Human Kinetics, 2018.
- Johnson, M. L., Distelmaier, K., Lanza, I. R., Irving, B. A., Robinson, M. M., Konopka, A. R., … Nair, K. S. (2016). Mechanism by Which Caloric Restriction Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Sedentary Obese Adults. Diabetes, 65(1), 74–84. doi:10.2337/db15-0675
- Jossé, L., Xie, J., Proud, C. G., & Smales, C. M. (2016). mTORC1 signalling and eIF4E/4E-BP1 translation initiation factor stoichiometry influence recombinant protein productivity from GS-CHOK1 cells. Biochemical Journal, 473(24), 4651–4664. doi: 10.1042/bcj20160845
- Kitahara CM, et al. Association between Class III Obesity (BMI of 40–59 kg/m) and Mortality: A Pooled Analysis of 20 Prospective Studies. PLOS Medicine. July 8, 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001673.
- Kuchkuntla, A.R., Limketkai, B., Nanda, S. et al. (2018). Fad Diets Hype or Hope?. Current Nutrition Reports 7: 310. doi.org/10.1007/s13668-018-0242-1
- Mitchell, S. E., Delville, C., Konstantopedos, P., Hurst, J., Derous, D., Green, C., … Speakman, J. R. (2015). The effects of graded levels of calorie restriction: II. Impact of short term calorie and protein restriction on circulating hormone levels, glucose homeostasis and oxidative stress in male C57BL/6 mice. Oncotarget, 6(27). doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4003
- Oberacker, T., Bajorat, J., Ziola, S., Schroeder, A., Röth, D., Kastl, L., … Krammer, P. H. (2018). Enhanced expression of thioredoxin-interacting-protein regulates oxidative DNA damage and aging. FEBS letters, 592(13), 2297–2307. doi:10.1002/1873-3468.13156
- Picca, A., Pesce, V., & Lezza, A. (2017). Does eating less make you live longer and better? An update on calorie restriction. Clinical interventions in aging, 12, 1887–1902. doi:10.2147/CIA.S126458
(-) “When and+ accumulates, such as during scarcity of nutrients especially glucose, sirtuins are activated….”
- Son, D. H., Park, W. J., & Lee, Y. J. (2019). Recent Advances in Anti-Aging Medicine. Korean journal of family medicine, 40(5), 289–296. doi:10.4082/kjfm.19.0087
- Speakman, J.R. & Mitchell, S.E. (2011) Calorie Restriction. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, Jun:32(3):159-221. doi: 10.1016/j.mam2011.07.001
This is medicine-in-a-mug with a side of comfort. If you have been to Italy, it’s sure to remind you of their amazing hot chocolate, which is really more like a warm pudding. Delicioso!
Breathing patterns determine the physiologic response in the cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system (ANS). Specifically, the physiologic and biochemical response is driven by the length, depth & pace of our breathing and whether we’re mouth breathing or nasal breathing.
I’ve started eating clean; quinoa and brown rice. No more white rice.
I haven’t had cookies for ages. I’m eating clean—no added sugar.
When I visit my parents, I bring my own food. It’s healthier….
The spine is a complex structure, comprised of nerves, connective tissue, bones, discs, muscles and other essential integrative components. Whether it getting out of a chair or car, lifting or carrying items, some 29 muscles around the pelvic girdle and lumbar spine, provide stability. In this article, we will review the anatomy of the spine, common injuries to the lumbar spine, functional assessments and training strategies to work with clients with previous injuries.
Get your older adult clients ready for the rigors of tourism and active vacations with these training tips and pre-travel exercises.
Do your over-55 clients or class members want to travel for pleasure but need more strength, stamina and mobility? Do they worry they’ll miss seeing the world because they lack physical ability?