Cancer Patients Profit From Exercise

February 8, 2012

Cancer patients often undergo a slew of emotional and physical changes. Lack of physical activity and social life can make treatment and recovery difficult. This is why it is important that cancer patients exercise to improve mental and physical health. Regular exercise can improve quality of life by creating an outlet for stress and anxiety while at the same time, keeping patients in tip-top shape. Emotional difficulty surrounding cancer diagnosImageis and treatment is common. Mood swings and depression tend to create a lack of interest in physical activity. By pushing through these feelings and simply going for a walk, cancer patients can heighten mood and battle chronic depression by raising serotonin levels within the brain. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” hormone that stimulates feelings of happiness, satisfaction and excitement. Physical activity teamed with sunlight increase serotonin production, instantly transforming anger, sadness and anxiety into a sense of well-being. This is helpful for people with all types of cancers including breast, liver and rare forms like mesothelioma.

The physical benefits to exercise can increase cancer treatment effectiveness. When patients undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy, nausea, fatigue and decreased circulation are common. Exercise counteracts these effects by increasing the heart rate thus causing circulation to increase and energy levels to be restored. The digestive system also kicks into gear, and helps reduce feelings of nausea and dizziness. Muscles and bones are strengthened by lifting light weights or using resistance bands, allowing patients to carry on daily routines and remain active despite a cancer diagnosis. This leads to greater independence and the chance to socialize more often, outside of the home. With these added benefits, patients are also less likely to gain weight or suffer from weak muscle function.

The American Council on Exercise recommends that cancer patients aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days per week. To stay motivated, patients can make exercise a family affair or friendly get-together. Exercising with a small group or simply one partner, keeps both individuals focused on the task at hand. The key to effective exercise programs is to just have fun. Activities that many patients enjoy can immediately spice up any exercise routine. Dancing, playing with children in the yard or a nature walk are all ideal ways to fit in physical activity and make it interesting.


Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

*Liz recently contacted me with this great submission.  Thanks for sharing these great thoughts Liz … keep up the good work. – KI (aka – Pumba)


Four Day a Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

January 16, 2009

A number of you have asked that I post a generalized training schedule for the half marathon. The following is such a schedule, but I would like to make a few points.

First of all, if you do embark on this program you will note that under the heading Yazoo Training I indicated that you run 800 meters at a “designated pace with a one minute break” (and it must be EXACTLY one minute). I am willing to work with you to establish the pace, but generally speaking the pace is the same as your anticipated marathon time. in other words if you hope to do a marathon in 3 and a half hours your pace for 800 meters will be 3 minutes and 30 seconds. To determine this pace, you can take your anticipated half marathon time, double it and add 10 to 15%.

Next, the Hill repeats is based upon the use of a treadmill. In fact, during the winter I would recommend a treadmill, but ONLY for the purposes of Hill training. This avoids the possibility of sustaining injuries due to slippage. However, when the weather improves you can move outside and there you do the same number of repeats as levels. Remember, a repeat is running up a 6 to 8% hill for 2 minutes and 15 seconds and then returning to the bottom of the hill for a repeat. In Fredericton, Hanson Street is one of the best hills to practice this on.

Sunday Yazoo Training

Monday Strength Training

Tuesday Tempo at Pace faster than race pace

Wednesday Strength Training

Thursday Hills

Repeats – On the Treadmill

Friday Long Slow Distance

Saturday Day Off or Easy!!!! Cross Training

3 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


40 minute run – 1 x 10 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 4 and back

75 minutes


4 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


40 minute run – 2 x 5-10 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 5 and back

80 minutes


5 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 10 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 6 and back

90 minutes


6 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 10 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 7 and back

105 minutes


6 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


60 minute run – 2 x 10-15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 8 and back

110 minutes


7 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 10 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 7 and back

115 minutes


8 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 10-15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 6 and back

120 minutes


7 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each e


60 minute run – 2 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 7 and back

95 minutes


6 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 8 and back

110 minutes


7 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 7 and back

120 minutes


8 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 6 and back

130 minutes


7 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 7 and back

120 minutes


8 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


50 minute run – 2 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 6 and back

135 minutes


7 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


60 minute run – 1 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 5 and back

Taper Begins120 minutes


4 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


25 minute run – 1 x 15 minute tempo


1 minute up to level 4 and back

75 minutes


2 Repeats of 800 meters at designated pace with one minute break between each


No Tempo Run – 25 minute easy run


1 minute up to level 3 and back

60 minutes


Race Day

12.06 Celebrate







December 1, 2008

Well the time has come to discuss what clothing one might consider wearing during the upcoming months where the temperature will most likely dip to extreme temperatures.  We should at all times be aware of the Norwegian Proverb; -THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BAD WINTER … ONLY BAD CLOTHING.

In discussing this topic, regardless of the degree (pardon the pun) that one is impacted by the cold, the clothing we wear should repel external moisture, allow the body to breath, provide insulating qualities and not be an impediment to motion.  Generally speaking, the clothing one wears should be layered so as to take into account the type of exercise one is undertaking (in the case of running, of course that is continuous, relatively long durations of medium to high work rate) and of course the environmental conditions that might be encountered (including such things as precipitation, temperature, wind conditions and so forth).


In the opinion of this author, the most important thing to be considered is how to keep moisture away from the body.  Moisture comes in two forms, from within and from without.  While it is fairly obvious what the external source of moisture is, the less obvious, at least to the uninitiated is that despite how cold it may be, when we exercise, we perspire.  This fact requires us to replenish our system with fluids and this of course allows for even more perspiration.  What may be good to prevent the body from getting wet as a result of external factors may not be good at allowing the perspiration to escape.  A lot of research has gone into developing “smart clothing” that allows for the body to breath and at the same time protect it from the environment.  If you are in the process of considering your needs then an outer layer in the form of an un-insulated jacket that is both water resistant and permeable is an absolute must.  This jacket should not be skin tight, but rather relatively loosely fitted. 


We have all heard our mothers tell us to keep a hat on.  Well as difficult as it may seem, she was right.  We loose more heat from the top of our head when it is exposed that we do from any other part of the body.  In the opinion of this author, a hat is not an option when the temperature is below minus 5 Celsius.  Again the hat should allow for the perspiration to “wick out” but at the same time it should provide some insulation.  Again a lot of research has gone into the development of very good hats, but let me suggest that you not overlook the simple woolen toque.  Wool is a fabric that keeps the heat of the body despite being wet. 


Underneath the external layer, you need some insulation.  Unlike the jacket, the insulating layer(s) are typically fitted closer to the skin.  I have indicated the possibility of there being more than one layer and in this case the layer closest to the skin should allow for maximum breathability (Lifa underwear or Under Armour gaments are great).  The layers between the skin layer and the jacket actually provide for the insulation and are typically thicker, but still must allow for wicking.  Remember it is the outer layer that provides protection from the elements. 


The age-old question is what to wear on your feet while running.  For 25 years I wore the same shoes that I ran in during the summer, but in the last couple of years I have benefitted from purchasing Trail Shoes or Winter Shoes.  Not only are they a little more rugged and provide some insulating effect for the feet, they provide better traction in the sometimes very slippery conditions.  An alternative that some runners find very useful is to run in regular shoes, but to use traction devises on the bottom of your feet to reduce slippage.  I have not gone to that length, but I have spoken to many who have and they are convinced that this is the way to go.  Whatever you do keep in mind that you should try to both keep your feet warm and get a little extra traction so as to avoid injuries. 


One of the sure fire ways to get cold is to not protect your hands.  It is generally accepted that if your hands are cold, your body is cold.  So, wear something, even if it is an old pair of socks (in a pinch) to keep your hands warm, and your body will thank you. 


We have seen people wearing all sorts of things over their faces.  In fact some of the articles that I have seen would get most people arrested if they were to step into a bank with it on.  Personally, while I accept the requirement to keep the face warm and protected, especially when the wind is blowing, I have seldom if ever have put anything over my face, because when it does get cold enough I find that a runner’s best friend (Vaseline) works better than anything else and it also keeps your face moist.  My suggestion is give it a try. 


Running this winter can actually be enjoyed if you follow some of these simple rules.  So get out and wait to hear the crunch of freshly fallen snow under your feet as you take on the elements.  


October 1, 2008



It has been quite a period of time, well actually, it has been two months since I have had the time to write an article for this most worthy publication.  In any event I am sitting at home with a non-running injury, a tooth extraction to be exact, which has stopped me from running for a short period of time.  So as I reflect upon my situation, I am reminded of the common injuries that runners to which runners are exposed.  I believe that without doubt, the most common injury is related to the knee.  And when you think about it, there is no wonder.  After all, this joint is single-handedly (pardon the mix up in anatomy) responsible to make you move.  So, have you had any issues with your knees?  Do you think it is structural in nature (i.e. related to the skeletal make up of the body) or related to muscles?  It has been my experience over the last number of years that most knee injuries have a muscular component that is initially responsible for the pain in the knee.  So how can you discern this?  In this article I will touch upon the most frequently asked question.


What causes ongoing knee pain?

Knee pain may be age-related. If you are over 40 and have knee pain, one reason to consider is the overall wear and tear on your joints, which is also sometimes referred to as osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. In younger people, knee pain is commonly caused by trauma or bursitis, usually related to sports or some physical activity.


Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee pain and affects many Canadians and more than 16 million Americans. Its is the gradual and painful deterioration of the cartilage in your joints. That cartilage provides a pad between your bones. When it thins, your bones rub against the lining of your joints, which is full of nerves sensitive to pain. Osteoarthritis is more common in people over 40. However, it can strike anyone and often develops earlier in former athletes who suffered knee injuries during their youth. Its early symptoms are pain and stiffness in the morning or after strenuous activity. The morning stiffness usually resolves in less than an hour.


Another disease to be aware of is Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory disease, triggered by the immune system.   It does not affect the proportionally the same number of Canadians as Osteoarthritis, but it damages the cartilage and joint lining. The damaged tissue releases enzymes that eat into the cartilage, soft tissues, and even bone. No one knows what causes the immune system to begin attacking the body’s joints. The problem tends to strike between the ages of 20 and 45, is more common in women, and usually affects many different joints in the body — not just the knees. Early symptoms are fatigue, flu-like aching, joint pain, and morning stiffness that lasts longer than an hour.


Pseudogout occurs when the body forms calcium crystals that are deposited in joints, typically in the knees and wrists. It usually strikes later in life. It can cause quick, severe pain but can produce long-term pain in about half the people it affects, appearing much like osteoarthritis. Early symptoms are red and swollen joints — painful to touch — and sometimes fever in bad attacks. Treatment usually consists of anti-inflammatory drugs or injections of steroids directly into the joint. 


Bursitis of the knee occurs when the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that serves as a cushion between a bone and soft tissue, such as a tendon — becomes inflamed. It can be caused by extensive kneeling, infection, or an injury to the knee and usually lasts a few weeks. Early symptoms are pain and swelling just below the inside of the knee. Treatment includes stretching and anti-inflammatory drugs, either pills or injection of steroids. Rarely, surgery is needed.


Tendinitis is one of the most mis-diagnosed conditions for runners and falls within the major group of muscular injuries that I mentioned in my opening paragraph.  The tendon that connects the hamstrings in the back of the thigh to the knee can become inflamed and cause pain in the knee area. Treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy for stretching and strengthening. Tendinitis requires a doctor’s care because rupture of the inflamed tendon can occur.


Finally, let me speak about Runner’s Knee which is caused by inflammation of the tendons, such as the Iliotibial Band (IT Band).  This symptom often develops when you run, ski, or bicycle too much or incorrectly. Symptoms are pain, and sometimes swelling, at the front of the knee. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue connecting bones in your joints that can be stretched or torn when your knee is twisted or hit. Symptoms are immediate and severe pain. Don’t attempt to walk on the leg until you’ve seen a doctor, but remember that often a massage therapist can offer more assistance in treating this injury that a doctor. 

GALLOWAY – What the heck?

July 31, 2008

Jeff Galloway, one of the most famous elite running coaches in the world, shocked the rather purist running world with the suggestion that is was quite alright to incorporate segments of walking into your training regime, especially for marathon participants.  The suggestion did not catch on with the super elite runners, but it caught on fire with many people and for good reason.

You can check out this website to become more familiar with the program –, but essentially Galloway quite accurately summarizes the benefits of the program as “By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not. Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.”

So you may ask, why is this important to start or re-start running. By now of course you have made the commitment to workout for at least 4 times a week starting at 30 minutes a time.  Well, I have found that for the very same reasons as espoused by Galloway, a starting or re-starting runner will benefit from a run/walk program.  So, my suggestion is that after you have gone out and purchased a proper pair of running shoes and worn them on walks for a few evenings, then the time has come to learn how to start. 

Your first time out is your definition run.  Walk for about 15 minutes and then start to run making certain that you time how long you can run without having to stop.  I have found that a number of people deny their age and try to go out too fast, but this is in fact part of the plan.  Frankly, I have seen some people run only one minute and others may be able to run 5 minutes, but it matters not.  Once you know how long you can run there is a simple mathematical formula that incorporates a variance to the Galloway method of training.

Let us say that you are able to run for two minutes on your definition run.  So during the first week, on each of the four times that you work out you will walk 8 minutes and run 2 minutes for three segments (a total of 30 minutes).  Once you are comfortable with this ratio, then you will walk 7 minutes and run 3 minutes again for 30 minutes, then the ratio becomes 6/4 to 5/5 and so forth until you can comfortably run 30 minutes four times a week.  Once this happens your running regime starts and you can begin to train towards your goal.  But please note that as you increase your “time on your feet” you should NEVER increase your overall time by more than 5% per week.   The following chart is a good maintenance program from which you can take the next step towards any goal.  As one can see, this is a four week rotation that incorporates all of the major elements of training and increases some as you decrease others.  Remember to go back to the “Introduction to Running” article to make certain that you know the definition of the terms.  My suggestion is that you should first introduce either Tempo running or Hill repeats before Yassoo intervals.  Also, remember that LSD’s are the backbone to any distance running so if you have to miss one of these workouts on any given week, it should not be the LSD.



Day 1 – Long Slow Distance (LSD)

Day 2 – Basic Run with Tempo Component

Day 3 – Basic Run with Hill Repeat Component

Day 4 – Track workout – Yassoo Training

Week 1

60 minutes

48 minutes of running with 3×6 minute Tempo Runs

45 minutes of running with 8 hill repeats

After 10 minute warm up – 6 to 8 – 800’s with 1 minute break

Week 2

70 minutes

45 minutes of running with 2×6 minute Tempo runs

42 minutes of running with 6 hill repeats

After 10 minute warm up – 4 to 6 – 800’s with 1 minute break

Week 3

80 minutes

42 minutes of running with 1×8 minute Tempo run

40 minutes of running with 4 hill repeats

After 10 minute warm up – 2 to 4 – 800’s with 1 minute break

Week 4

90 minutes

40 minutes of running with 1×6 minute Tempo run

38 minutes of running with 2 hill repeats

After 10 minute warm up – 2 to 4 – 800’s with 1 minute break

FOOTWEAR, the Foundational Step

July 25, 2008

At the outset, I have to admit that all equipment is important from socks, to shorts, to tops, to undergarments and even a runners best friend …. Vaseline. Yes, Vaseline can and is the most important accessory that you will ever possess, at least as a runner. It will stop chafing in the worst places, act as a layer of clothing on your face in the bitter cold of winter and prevent blisters on your feet even if you have the right shoes. It is a great source of laughter and discussion amongst your running group, especially if you purchase it in the mega size bottles and offer your friends the opportunity to use the communal bottle.  It also provides for a great source of humour if it has baby powder added.

All of that said however, running shoes are the most important of all pieces of equipment you will own and one should make certain that they buy the right shoes. Just to put this in perspective, in a marathon participants take over 30,000 steps, and that obviously does not include the number of steps that are taken in training. On average one takes about 700 to 725 steps for each kilometer that they run. This quickly translates to a lot of footsteps, and as the old song that we learned as children states so eloquently, “The foot bone is connected to the shin bone and the shin bone is connected to the knee bone and the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone ….” and on it goes. So, it does not take a “rocket scientist” or Sherlock Holmes to deduce that in order to reduce the chance of injury, a proper shoe is an absolute necessity.

When I refer to a “proper running shoe” I do not mean going to a generic running shop and buying the most expensive, the cheapest, the prettiest, the most popular or the most colourful shoe in the store. Everyone is an individual, and as such everyone is blessed with an individual gait that requires separate attention when it comes to purchasing shoes. Add to that everyone’s varying height, weight, leg length, foot size, foot type (flat footed or otherwise), training regime, preferred substrate upon which to run, goals and objectives and many other intangibles far too numerous to mention and you have a recipe for problems if you buy a pair of shoes that someone else recommends.

Although one may be immediately intimidated by these variables and therefore not willing to learn anything, in order to simplify matters there are specialty running stores that will assess your foot strike and recommend the proper shoe for you. And so it is my suggestion that you go to one of these stores with an old pair of running or walking shoes (these are of great help to the salesperson) and ask that you be assessed. Basically the clerk will watch you jog or walk in shoes and make his/her suggestions. You should listen to them and for the most part follow their suggestions. But make certain that the shoe fits properly. The toe box should be loose and you should not feel any rubbing anywhere in the shoe. On the other hand the heel box should be fairly tight so as to avoid as much as possible blistering.

During the assessment process you should be made aware of whether you are a pronator, a neutral runner or a suppinator. This determination will allow the clerk to recommend from one of these three basic types of shoe, a Stability Shoe, a Motion Control Shoe or a Cushioned/Neutral Shoe.

You can look up each of these terms but to help you;-

Pronator is a runner has a foot that rolls inward during the weight-bearing phase of the stride. A very low or flat arch, and heavier people often have feet of this type. A pronator strikes the ground with their heel and rolls excessively in toward the big toe.

Suppinator or under pronator is a person who’s foot hits the ground at the heel and then tends to roll out toward the little toe. Suppination is the rarest gait type.

Neutral Runner will hit the ground with the outside of the heel and then roll in toward to big toe. Neutral runners do not require gait correction from their running shoes.

Now go out and get yourself a proper pair of running shoes and next I will address the Galloway Method of training and how it can be utilized to get you running.


July 22, 2008

If you wonder why people run in the first place, then let me warn you, many people will provide you many different answers, that are either LUCID or perhaps not so clear, but often leaving you to doubt their level of sanity.  But in the end, the only way your question can be truly answered is to actually experience running for yourself. 

But here is the problem, to experience running you must first get started – “If you want to get to it, you have to get at it.  And unfortunately, far too many people forget that they are no longer 25 years of age with the immortality that goes along with youth.  As a result, many of the best plans are destined to failure even before they begin, simply because of one’s exuberance. 

So, over the next couple of articles (which I am trying to keep shorter due to certain allegations about the longevity of my former articles) I want to tell you how well over 200 runners started with my encouragement, and in doing so, I want you to know that although I do not know the actual statistics, I believe that well over 160 of these are still doing some running. 

There are two Golden Rules that I will stress over and over, the first and perhaps most important rule that not only applies to beginning runners, but equally to experienced runners is “If you want to go fast, then you have to go slow – and – if you think you are going too slow, then SLOW DOWN.”  Although this approach may seem counter intuitive, let me suggest the opposite.  If you are like me then you will relate to this as our everyday life is filled with examples.  I am always surprised by the number of times I have rushed about to complete a task of some sort, only either to have messed up something else or created a mess of the project I am working on.  In any event, the result is A MAKE (MORE) WORK PROJECT.  In fact you have all heard of the Carpenters Rule – Measure Twice and Cut once.  Well it applies to all of us, especially when it comes to running. 

The second rule that is equally vital is that the distance that you cover is not all that important rather the more important measuring tool is what I like to simply refer to as “Time on Your Feet.”  For older people, and those of you who did any type of training 20 to 30 years ago this may be foreign to your thought process.  But it has been proven over and over again through scientific studies and through anecdotal evidence that the most important aspect to your fitness regime is not the miles you log, but the time you are active.  That is why most health models refer to doing exercise for so many minutes a day, rather than telling you how many miles or kilometers you must log.

So with these two rules, I will follow up with the following three topics of discussion over the next little while.  First, I want to speak about types of footwear and what one should do to purchase same; secondly I want to speak about the Galloway method of training that was introduced by the world famous running coach Jeff Galloway and that introduces, much to the chagrin of purists, the concept walking interspersed with running and finally, I want to expand upon the “Time on Your Feet” concept.

Please note this article is only 598 words.