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Nutrition is an important part of life, cancer treatment, recovery, and prevention. Food is one of the few things you can be in control of during your treatment. The oncology certified registered dietitians at the Stanford Cancer Center are here to help you make informed choices about nutrition, answer your nutrition-related questions, and help you to achieve and maintain good health.
If you are new to exercising, start out with a goal of 10 minutes every other day. Set a goal to increase the number of minutes gradually. Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Changing your diet to decrease your risk of developing cancer is a good idea but starting an exercise program might also be helpful. Exercise is an important part of any weight loss program.
Being overweight and inactive could be hazardous to your health. Some studies on obese subjects are showing that being overweight may place you at risk of developing cancers of the prostate, cervix, kidney, breast, endometrium, liver, rectum, ovary, esophagus, colon, prostate, and gallbladder. The exact mechanism behind this increased risk of cancer for overweight people is unknown.
Whether you are a beginner to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you need to aware of basic exercise guidelines. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following:
Exercise at a moderate intensity 3 to 5 times a week.
Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before aerobic activity.
Maintain your exercise intensity for 30 to 45 minutes.
Gradually decrease the intensity of your workout, then stretch to cool down during the last 5 to 10 minutes.
Aim for 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise each time you exercise.
Target heart rate
To benefit from exercise, it is important to maintain a level of intensity. A method of monitoring physical activity intensity is to determine if your heart rate or pulse is within the target heart rate zone during physical activity.
For moderate-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate zone should be 50-75% of your maximum heart rate.
How to determine your target heart rate zone:
To determine your target heart rate zone, follow these steps:
An estimate of a person's maximum age-related heart rate can be calculated by subtracting the person's age from 220. For example, for a 55-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 - 55 years = 165 beats per minute (bpm).
Next, multiply the maximum age-related heart rate by 0.50 to determine the 50 percent level. For example: 165 beats per minute x 0.50 = 83 beats per minute (bpm).
Finally, multiply the maximum age-related heart rate by 0.75 to determine the 75% level. For example: 165 beats per minute x 0.75 = 124 beats per minute (bpm).
Thus, moderate-intensity physical activity for a 55-year-old person will require that the heart rate remain between 83 and 124 beats per minute during physical activity.
During exercise, you should stop exercising briefly and check your pulse from time to time to determine if you are exercising within your target heart rate zone. To check your pulse, using the first and second fingertips, press lightly over the carotid artery located on your neck, just to the left or right of the Adam's apple. Or check your radial pulse by pressing on the artery insert your wrist, just below the base of your thumb.
Count your pulse (heartbeats) for a full 60 seconds, or 30 seconds and multiply by 2, or 10 seconds and multiply by the number 6.
The target heart rate zone is a guideline. Always consult your physician if you have questions about your heart rate, or starting an exercise program.
Physical activities and routine exercise may possibly decrease your risk of developing cancer
Examples of aerobic exercise include the following:
If possible, try to add strength training or lifting weights a couple of times a week. This improves strength and muscle tone along with raising your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories at rest.
Besides trying to find time for structured exercise, you should also attempt to incorporate more activity into your daily routine.
Getting exercise in everday activities
Examples of everyday activities that also burn calories include:
Mowing the lawn with a push mower
Washing your car by hand
Scrubbing your floors and bathtub
If possible, walk or bike to work or the grocery store. Park your car far away from the front door of work or shopping mall.
By incorporating more physical activities and routine exercise into your life, you will not only feel better but possibly decrease your risk of developing cancer as well.
Broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are all cruciferous vegetables. This vegetable family contains powerful phytochemicals, including carotenoids, indoles and glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which have been studied and shown to slow the growth of many cancers.