Jun 1 2016

Exercise as good as medicine?


Soon a cancer diagnosis may come with an exercise prescription. Intense, physical exercise improves the quality of life for men with advanced prostate cancer. Dr. Fred Saad, researcher at the University of Montreal, has shown that exercise has a DIRECT effect on cancer. That exercise is as effective as drugs, even in advanced stages of the disease. Dr. Saad says that even active patients often become sedentary once diagnosed and this affects cancer progression.  

Dr. Saad is now studying exercise, in addition to regular treatment, along with Professor Robert Newton, Co-Director at Edith Cowan University at Exercise Medicine Research Institute, who has designed a specific strength and cardiovascular training program for patients in the new trial. These patients will participate in one hour of cardio and resistance training three times per week and be supervised for 12 months to prove that exercise extends the life of patients with metastic prostate cancer.

Another study being done this year by Cancer Research UK is testing exercise as a treatment for prostate cancer.   Using exercise, as opposed to surgery or radiation, to prevent cancer from spreading  to other areas of the body. The researchers believe that exercise affects the genes that regulate cancer cell growth and DNA repair. The men participating in the UK study will have active surveillance of their cancer rather than surgery or radiation, in addition to exercise sessions.

Research earlier this year from Harvard Medical School states that 20-40% of cancer diagnosis and 50% of all deaths from cancer could be prevented by adopting 4 healthy lifestyle factors. The four factors are not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, regular moderate to vigorous activity and avoiding alcohol.

Change your mind, change your health,


Mar 7 2016

One drink doubles the risk


One drink doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Researchers looking at the short term effects of alcohol studied 30,000 participants to better understand the risks. They found that within an hour of having one drink your risk of heart attack and stroke doubles.

Why does this happen? After drinking there are immediate increases in heart rate, blood pressure and your blood platelets becomes stickier.

Most research, until now, has focused on the long term effects of alcohol consumption and not of the immediate changes from drinking. Moderate drinking has been promoted as heart healthy, but according to a study done at the University of Gothenburg, moderate drinking can benefit heart health, but only for the 15% of the population that have the right genes.

Change your mind, change your health,


Oct 1 2014

Alcohol and training


We drink more on days that we exercise. Is there any benefit to doing this?

1. You can gain extra pounds.

If you are trying to increase muscle mass then drinking alcohol has a direct effect on your metabolism. Drinking increases fat stored instead of being burned as fuel. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and drinking after a workout reduces blood flow to the muscles and increases the conversion of testosterone to estrogen which increases fat deposition. Alcohol consumption also increases cortisol levels which helps you gain weight around your waist.

2. Recover Slower.

Working out the day after a few drinks? Alcohol disrupts sleep and contributes to dehydration, both effect your ability to recover from exercise and get the best out of your training. Alcohol also interferes with the breakdown and absorption of nutrients which decreases your ability to recover from exercise and maintain muscle mass. Sleep is also critical for naturally releasing growth hormone allowing muscles to rebuild and repair.

3. Interferes with your heart rate.

Long term and heavy drinking can weaken your heart muscle and interrupts your internal pacemaker. This can interfere with your heart’s ability to keep beating consistently and at the right speed. Chronic alcohol use can also lead to high blood pressure and stroke.

There are many other risks associated with drinking and maybe we drink more on exercise days as a reward, but there is still no proven training benefit to indulging after exercise.

Change your mind, change your health,


Jun 5 2013

Protect your brain

Regularly participating in aerobic exercise (like walking, running or cycling) protects the brain from the effects of alcohol abuse. People who drink a lot, but don’t exercise have compromised areas of white matter. White matter is responsible for moving messages between areas of your brain. Exercise may limit the damage or even repair some of the damage from heavy alcohol use.

Co-author, psychology and neuroscience professor Angela Bryan, at Colorado University-Boulder, states:

What our data suggest is that beyond just giving people a different outlet for cravings or urges for alcohol, exercise might also help to repair the damage that may have been done to the brain. It might even be a more promising treatment approach for alcohol problems because it is both a behavioral treatment and a treatment that has the potential to make the brain more healthy. The healthier the brain is, the more likely a person with alcohol issues is to recover.”

Aerobic exercise is recommended because of its benefits to the cardiovascular system and the brain. Other studies have shown that aerobic exercise is associated with greater white matter volume in older, healthy adults.

However, alcohol consumption reduces the likelihood that someone will exercise. Alcohol has many adverse affects on health and performance including, decreasing the ability of muscles to use fuel, changing the energy supply and decreasing the metabolic process during exercise.

What does this mean for you?

1. Exercise has many health benefits for your body and your brain.

2. Exercise won’t erase the effects of alcohol abuse, but could limit some of the damage.

3. Even if you don’t feel great the next day, get out for a walk, if you have overindulged.

Change your mind, change your health,