Thursday, June 4, 2009

CHAPTER 16-Exercise Essentials

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I competed in and won
numerous bodybuilding contests. At competition, my normal contest
weight was around 220 pounds and my body fat measured around
3%. I “looked” like the picture of health. However, as the saying
goes, “looks can be deceiving.” The reality was that due to years of
steroid use, my liver and kidneys were on their “last legs.”
I recall visiting my doctor when I was about 25 years old and he said
that if I didn’t get “off the juice” (i.e. steroids), that I wouldn’t make
it to age 30. Well, that was certainly a wake up call for me. Thank
God that He saved me and I became a Christian a couple of years
later. I now lift weights as part of an exercise program aimed at
overall health.
I include this information about my experience as a competitive
bodybuilder for a couple of reasons. First, I want emphasize that
“looking healthy” is not necessarily equivalent to actually “being
healthy.” Our society puts far too much emphasis on the external
(how we look) and not enough emphasis on the internal (how we
feel) or the spiritual (where we are going when we die).
“Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of many
types of cancer” Dr. Joseph Mercola
Chapter 16 – Exercise Essentials Cancer – Step Outside the Box
You can see from my
picture to the left that I
looked like I was very
healthy. In 2007, many
people will do what ever
it takes to have a “killer
body,” but the truth is
that many of them are
awfully unhealthy people
and don’t feel very good.
For example, one of my
bodybuilder friends died
at age 34 from a stroke
caused by years of steroid
use. He “looked” like he
was as healthy as a horse.
But as I said, looks can be
deceiving. Now, don’t get
me wrong. Appearance is
important. That’s why I
take a shower every day,
make sure my clothes
match, and check that I
don’t have anything
green stuck in my teeth.
But I worry that we’ve gotten so obsessed with how we look that we
no longer care about how we feel.
Secondly, since I am very familiar with the concepts of weight
training and cardiovascular (aerobic) training, I have some valuable
insights into how to incorporate these activities into a “healthy”
exercise regimen. Regular exercise also has been shown to increase
quality of life and improve the maximal oxygen uptake during
exertion, sleep patterns, and cognition. For a cancer patient, a
healthy exercise regimen is a vital part of your “get well and stay
well lifestyle.” It is not just good for you. It is essential.
Chapter 16 – Exercise Essentials Cancer – Step Outside the Box
What is aerobic exercise? Remember, the term aerobic means “with
oxygen.” During an aerobic workout, the cardiovascular system,
which includes the heart, lungs and blood vessels, responds to
physical activity by increasing the oxygen that is available to the
body’s working muscles. This sounds like a good thing for a cancer
patient, doesn’t it? The goal of aerobic exercise is to increase your
heart’s capacity to pump blood, thus increasing oxygen delivery to
the tissues. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends
aerobic exercise done for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 times a week
at 60% of the maximum heart rate.
Many activities can give you an aerobic workout. Some examples
include biking, running, walking briskly, swimming, playing
basketball, jumping rope, roller skating, and dancing. In addition to
these activities, you can get an aerobic workout through stationary
exercise machines such as cycles, treadmills, stair steppers, and
rowing machines. These can be found at a local gym or health club.
Most of these machines can also be used at home.
A “warm up” and a “cool down” period, both of which should
incorporate stretching exercises, are essential parts of aerobic
exercise. Warming up helps your body prepare for exercise by
slowly raising your heart rate and muscle temperature. This also
decreases the likelihood of injury. Cooling down allows your heart
rate to slowly return to normal and to get the blood circulating
freely back to the heart.
General Guidelines for Aerobic Exercise:
􀂾 Keep it simple. If you’re confused about what to do, start
with the basics. You need at least 20 minutes per workout to
get your heart pumping, so start there. Get out your
calendar, find 20 minutes of time on 3 different days and do
Chapter 16 – Exercise Essentials Cancer – Step Outside the Box
something, whether it be walking, jogging, going to the gym,
working in the yard, swimming, playing basketball, etc.
􀂾 Mix It Up. The nice thing about aerobic exercise is that you
can choose any activity that raises your heart rate. You don’t
have to do the same workout all the time. If you are bored
with your workout, change it up.
􀂾 Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your
The key to aerobic workouts is the “aerobic” part, i.e. the part that
deals with oxygen. Oxygen nourishes cells, creates energy, combats
fatigue, breaks down waste products and toxins, provides energy
needed to metabolize carbohydrates, regulates body pH balance,
strengthens immune system defense, and fights off invading hostile
organisms. The importance of oxygen therapy through regular
aerobic exercise cannot be stressed enough. It’s a matter of health or
disease and sometimes (as in the medical studies of cancer) life or
death. Remember, cancer cannot live in the presence of oxygen.
What is rebounding? One excellent choice of exercise is rebounding
(jumping) on the mini-trampoline. You can rebound several times a
day while listening to the radio or watching TV.
Research has led many scientists to conclude that jumping on a
mini-trampoline is possibly the most effective exercise yet devised
by man, especially because of the effect rebounding has on the
lymph system. The human body needs to move. The lymph system
bathes every cell and carries nutrients to the cell while removing
toxins such as dead and cancerous cells, heavy metals, infectious
viruses, and other assorted wastes. But unlike the blood (which is
pumped by the heart), the lymph is totally dependent on physical
exercise to move.
Without adequate movement, the cells are left stewing in their own
waste products and starving for nutrients, a situation which
Chapter 16 – Exercise Essentials Cancer – Step Outside the Box
contributes to cancer and other degenerative diseases, as well as
premature aging. Rebounding has been shown to increase lymph
flow by up to 30 times! Also, all of the body’s cells become stronger
in response to the increased “G forces” during rebounding, and this
cellular exercise results in the self-propelled immune cells being up
to 5 times more active! These immune cells are responsible for
eating viruses, bacteria and even cancer cells, so this is an awesome
benefit from rebounding.
Rebounding on a mini-trampoline directly strengthens the immune
system, increases lymph flow, and oxygenates the blood. Unlike
jogging on hard surfaces which puts extreme stress on certain joints
such as the ankles and knees eventually damaging them, rebounding
affects every joint and cell in the body equally. Plus, there are no
cars, dogs, and bad weather to worry about.
Circuit Weights
I recommend doing “circuit weight training.” Typically, in a gym,
there are several weight machines strategically placed in a certain
order which makes up what is called a “circuit.” In the gym where I
work out, the machines are color coded. So, you just do the red
machines, then the blue machines, then the green machines, etc.
They have made it very easy for a novice to learn how train with
weights. Circuit weight training will help you to tone your muscles,
strengthen your tendons and ligaments, and if done at a fast pace,
can also have an aerobic effect.
General Guidelines for Circuit Weight Training:
􀂾 Keep it light. Don’t try to show off. Lift light weights for at
least 20 repetitions per set. And if you feel pain of any kind
(other than a “burn” in your muscles), then STOP. The pain
is warning you that you are overdoing whatever you are
doing. Decrease the weight until you can achieve 20
Chapter 16 – Exercise Essentials Cancer – Step Outside the Box
􀂾 Exercise slowly. Specific exercises should be performed very
slowly, with emphasis on the “negative” portion of the
􀂾 Keep in quick. Your entire workout should not last more
than 45 minutes. Rest only enough time between sets to
walk from one machine to the next. This will allow you to
get both a muscle building workout and an aerobic workout
at the same time.
􀂾 Breathe properly. Don’t hold your breath when lifting
weights. Be sure to intake plenty of oxygen, inhaling and
exhaling regularly.
I won’t go into details about the specifics of weight training in this
book. Any good personal trainer will be able to assist you with a
personalized weight lifting program.
BEWARE: From the viewpoint of immune function, the optimal
exercise regimen is one of low volume, reports Dr. Roy Shephard
and colleagues at the University of Toronto in Canada. Their
findings are published in a recent issue of the Journal of Sports
Medicine and Physical Fitness. Previous studies have shown that
while exercise enhances the immune system, an excess of exercise
can actually depress immune function. During intense exercise, free
radical production is greatly increased which is associated with
oxidative damage to the muscles, liver, blood, and other tissues.
One of the world’s leading authorities on antioxidants and free
radical research, Dr. Ken Cooper, states in his book titled,
Antioxidant Revolution, “When you exercise intensely, the blood
flow in your body is shunted away from the organs that are not
actively involved in the exercise process, such as the liver, kidneys,
stomach, and intestines. Instead, the blood is diverted to the
working muscles, including the heart and legs. During the shifting of
blood flow, a part or all of the body regions or organs not involved
in exercise will experience an acute lack of oxygen (known as

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