09 Mar This Elixir of Life Works
Picture a chemotherapy ward filled with frail patients. Then right after their sessions, picture them working out under the guidance of an exercise physiologist.
Are they not too tired? Too sick?
The answer, it seems, is a firm no: “I just know it helped,” reported one breast cancer patient, Natalie, who took part in such a program in Australia in 2016*. “It helped me bounce back. It helped me get back on my feet quicker, too. Absolutely. It meant everything.”
This research was undertaken to see how prescribed exercise could improve the affects of chemotherapy. Anecdotally, all the patients on the program seemed to be getting less of the expected side effects of chemo – particularly less nausea and fatigue.
Heading up the study was a Professor Robert Newton, who went so far as to say that “The muscles are producing chemicals, and they’re actually destroying tumor cells,” ABC news reported at the time. “…if people hit a certain level of physical activity – which is relatively modest, to be honest – then they’ll more than double their chances of surviving their cancer. In other words, they halve their risk of dying”.
This program was just one of many more increasingly being undertaken around the world, and not just to help those with cancer.
The reason? The word on the lips of every doctor and scientist around the world today is simply exercise.
How does it help? Basically, physical activity keeps blood flowing steadily to the brain, essential for removing toxic compounds that can cause aging and early death of cells. It also produces feel-good endorphins, which improve mood.
“Medics around the world are now advising patients that if they want to reduce the likelihood of suffering from chronic pain, injury, a host of diseases, anxiety, stress and depression, as well as generally feel more energetic, then they need to start exercising– and keep it up,” says Flex director Heather Thomas Shalabi.
This is not hype or a passing trend. In fact, medics, researchers and those heading up global health agencies – for once – largely agree that exercise REALLY is the silver health bullet we’ve been seeking.
“We take the doctor’s word in so many areas of our lives. Now is the time to take his or her advice when it comes to moving more intelligently, more often,” says Heather.
And of course, if exercise can greatly help those undergoing cancer treatment, what can it do for those facing other physical or emotional issues?
Let’s start with a very common modern-day issue – anxiety. For Flex Studio’s FLEXtreme director Andrea Ramirez, exercise has without doubt been the solution.
“Besides from the physical benefits, exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, so it can reduce stress and anxiety,” says Andrea. “Exercise produces endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and immediate mood booster.”
Her top moves for busting anxious moments are:
- Burpees – jump up with legs hip-width apart – arms above your head – get down on hands and knees and do a push-up – with knees on the ground if you want – stand up and bounce back up again – repeat.
“This is a love-hate exercise! However, after a few burpees, I’m already pumped up and anything that was causing feelings of anxiety simply goes away,” Andrea says.
- And any Battle Rope exercise (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__bv4D7ii_0) has an immediate effect.
3. Plank Jacks also really work – start in a usual plank, repeatedly jump feet wider than hip width, then back to the original starting position.
“Of course, any other type of exercise (yoga, walking, swimming, running) will also release endorphins, increase energy and positive feelings. Just go for it!”
Yet despite government guidelines for the basic minimum amount for better health, many of us continue to ignore these, saying they are too busy.
This happens even when there’s a new headline every day screaming the facts from every news outlet in the world. It seems our inertia gets in the way.
“Every time you think you’re too tired to exercise, just think about the amount of non-productive time we can all waste in a day,” says Flex director Heather Thomas Shalabi.
“Turn that around into a dedicated exercise program that could add up to five more quality years to your life. It’s a relatively small price to pay for a major benefit.
“Once you’ve found a schedule that works for you, the benefits will far outweigh the brief commitment to finding the time.”
* FLEXtreme combines classes which offer SWEAT (HIIT) Power (strength building, low cardio) and TRX® Suspension Circuits.
Flex’s #FIT150 Package is $3900 per month for a three month commitment and includes unlimited yoga classes (payments can be paid monthly). For more information, visit https://flexhk.com/promotions/ or email [email protected]