Let me start by saying that the type of exercise one would do if they had cardiovascular issues is very different then exercise done by a cancer patient, so don’t confuse/cross-over the following information for you or loved ones with cancer. Since we were recently talking about Nitric Oxide and Vitamin D, information on correct exercise fits right in. The type I’ll describe is aimed at the greatest increase in anti-inflammatory chemicals including Nitric Oxide. Let’s get into what to do and why you want to do it:
1. We want to exercise every day. To really get cardiovascular benefits from what I’ll describe, you can’t think that 2-3x/week will suffice. You must plan on 40-50 minutes every day so adjust your schedule appropriately.
2. Our goals are well documented in published studies:
a. Decreased insulin resistance – will help with diabetes and/or blood sugar issues
b. Lowers blood glucose levels – see above
c. Decreases plasma cortisol – the stress hormone that increases fat stores
d. Increases peripheral blood flow – helps detox and feed extremities
e. Improves muscle hormones – helping balance erratic hormone levels
f. Reduces inflammation – which also reduces pain
g. Increases Growth Hormone levels – an anti-aging benefit
h. Increases HDL peroxidase antioxidant action – to help decrease cardio risk
i. Increases angiogenesis – the growth of new blood vessels to bypass damaged sites
*This is just a brief list of benefits
3. Over-exercise (greater than one hour per day) causes oxidative stress and MAKES THINGS WORSE. Our goal is to increase lean body mass and decrease visceral fat.
4. Combined with diet, exercise can be a powerful healing the heart.
5. The KEY is interval training. Interval training refers to performing an exercise at ‘full resistance’ (as hard as you can go) for a brief period of time followed by performing at a reduced resistance (usually 50% OF full effort) for another period of time. These intervals (full effort followed by ½ effort) are continued through the duration of exercise time. The following is an example of proper cardiovascular exercise that you must gear-up or down according to your ability/strength/condition:
a. Start with 10 pound weights doing 10 reps of arm (bicep) curls followed immediately by 10 reps of curls with a 5 pound weight. Rest 30 seconds between three sets of these.
b. Next use a 5 pound weight and do standing side-raisers lifting out from your body to 30 degrees and back for 10 reps followed by the same exercise with 2 pound weights. Rest 30 seconds between three sets.
c. Next do the same with appropriate weights doing the overhead press, chess press, squat, etc. You may need to consult with a trainer at a gym or search the internet/books to learn different weight-bearing, resistance exercises.
d. You MUST start with at least 20 minutes of weight lifting every day. This will build lean body mass (muscle) and increase glucose burning. Most people have never done this type of exercising – so what, start now at an appropriate level so as not to hurt yourself.
6. After weight training you are going to do some ‘cardio’ with a twist (an interval twist). Typical ‘cardio’ exercise involves walking or running to raise the heart rate over a sustained period of time. This may kill you; don’t do that! Instead:
a. Start with walking for 30-60 seconds followed by breaking into a jog for 30 seconds. Continue to cycle walk/jog for 10 minutes (10 cycles).
b. As you get into better shape, attempt to do this for 20 minutes per day and move to a run/jog cycle.
This interval cycle form of exercise is the only type of exercise that will stimulate all that we desire to help cardiovascular issues. Someone with heart problems with a history of cancer should NOT do this!