On: Why Physical Activity is Important for Women with Breast Cancer

A recent study in the medical journal Cancer found that two thirds of patients with breast cancer reported lower than recommended levels of physical activity. In a study of 1,735 patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 35% of them met the current standard of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. The study investigated racial differences in physical activity and found that African American women were less likely to meet national physical activity guidelines after diagnosis than their Caucasian counterparts. The researchers concluded that “despite compelling evidence demonstrating the effects of physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer, it is clear that more work needs to be done to promote physical activity in patients with breast cancer, especially African American women.”

Research indicates that physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer may be beneficial in improving quality of life, reducing fatigue, and enhancing energy. According to the National Cancer Institute, both reduced physical activity and the side effects of treatment have been linked to weight gain after a breast cancer diagnosis. One study found that women who exercised 3 to 5 hours per week at an average exertion after a diagnosis of breast cancer had improved survival rates compared with more sedentary women. The benefit was particularly pronounced in women with hormone responsive tumors. Another study found that a home-based physical activity program had a beneficial effect on the fitness and psychological well-being of previously sedentary women who had completed treatment for early-stage through stage II breast cancer.  For more information on the benefits of exercise for individuals with breast cancer visit:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/physicalactivity

If you, or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, a physical therapist specializing in women’s Health or oncology is highly beneficial in creating a safe, individualized exercise program during and after breast cancer treatment. Stay tuned for Breast Cancer appropriate Pilates exercises.

Make your day great,

Amanda

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On: Why myofascial rolling with a self massage device is beneficial

Great news for those who do not have time or money for regularly scheduled massages: self massage devices such as “The Stick”have been shown in a recent study to reduce post workout soreness and pain.

Investigators in this study published in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy examined the effectiveness of the inexpensive massage tool on reducing hamstring muscle soreness after a high intensity exercise. More specifically, this study sought to investigate the acute (short term) effect of massage with the Theraband Roller Massager on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

DOMS, the syndrome that leaves runners walking like the Tinman after a demanding run is a common phenomenon following new exercises or overtraining. Muscle pain and stiffness are experienced often 24-48 hours following the workout, and can be alleviated with ice, stretching, and massage.

Researchers in this study found that participants that utilized the roller massager experienced significantly lower levels of pain and stiffness than those receiving no treatment. We may extrapolate that foam rolling the legs may deliver similar benefits.

All things considered, self massage techniques have been show to reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and should allow runners to be ready to workout quicker with less discomfort. This however should not be utilized as a replacement for treatment from a qualified health care provider. If pain does not significantly reduce in 48 hours and involves a joint, seek attention from a physician and or physical therapist for proper diagnosis and treatment of the ailment.

 

roller massagerTheraband roller massager

 

 

This is an unsponsored post.

Reference:

Jay K, Sundstrup E, Sondergaard S, et al. Specific and cross over effects of massage for muscle soreness: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014;9(1)

Take care, and make your day great!

Amanda

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On: Gluten Free Pasta with Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms

Following in my usual course of easy prep and quick cook time, this little recipe is a gem. I bought a Costco pack of portobello mushrooms and it was a race against the clock for my husband and I to eat them, thus they found a happy home in a bed of noodles snuggled with lean chicken breast, olive oil, and garlic. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

2-3 Portobello mushrooms, sliced

2 cups (dry) Gluten free noodles ( I used Goldbaums brown rice noodles this time)

2 lean chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and 2 tbs. for cooking the chicken

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. black pepper

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Directions:

Heat 2 tbs. EVOO in a large pan on medium heat, add garlic and sautee for 3-5 min. Meanwhile, cook gluten free pasta according to package instructions.

Add chicken to the pan with garlic and EVOO and cook thoroughly. Once the chicken has cooked, add sliced mushrooms and cook evenly for 5-7 minutes.

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Once the noodles have cooked, strain and add contents of chicken/ mushroom pan. Add 1/3 cup EVOO and pepper according to taste.

Serves 4

Enjoy, and make your day great!

Amanda

 

 

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On: Pacific Crest Sports Festival-A race review

To say that Sunriver, the location of Pacific Crest Sports Festival, is gorgeous is an understatement. Located in central Oregon, approximately 20 minutes from Bend, this vacation villiage offers a myriad of recreational opportunities for outdoor recreational enthusiasts. During the winter it is packed with skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers who make the short drive up to Mt. Bachelor, while the summer brings runners, cyclists, mountainbikers, kayakers, and stand up paddle boarders.

The Pacific Crest Sports Festival capitalizes on all that the area has to offer with a weekend packed with a race for all abilities and vices. Rather bike than run? Rather stick a fork in your eye than swim? Duathalons, triatholons of all distances, pure cycling events, marathon, half-marathon, 10k, and kids fun runs are all available throughout the weekend. One would think that with all this activity chaos might ensue, but on the contrary, this was one of the most organized races I have ever run in. All race staff and volunteers were friendly and helpful, the course was meticulously marked, and the trails and paths accommodated the masses.

I opted for the half-marathon this year. The race began in the epicenter of Sunriver, at The Village, a retail and restaurant plot. The course weaves through the vacation homes on primarily paved paths and roadways. The course is flat, with a few minor rolling hills (very minor), though the race is at altitude with the Pacific Crest mantra stating “Sea level is for sissies”.

 

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Did I mention it was gorgeous?

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Because it was gorgeous.

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Mt. Bachelor

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And the medal could double as a coffee cup coaster.

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This is truly a race worth traveling for, especially for out of state runners. There is so much to enjoy about this part of the state, and excellent food and microbrews as a reward for your efforts in Bend afterwards. If you go, try to either rent a house in Sunriver (available in all sizes), stay at the lodge, or for the Oregon camping experience, stay in my family’s favorite camping ground at Elk Lake. This offers “A” frame cabins with beds and bunks (no running water), or tent camp sites at a gorgeous mountain lake.

 

As far as my finish time goes, despite having a cold, this momma finished in under 2:00. For my next race, I will be running as an official pacer for the Run the Rogue Half-Marathon here in Medford. I’ll be pacing the 1:50 group on a flat and fast course, and am very much looking forward to pushing some of my amazing Southern Oregon Runners club members across the finish line.

Make your day great!

Amanda

 

 

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On: How to run downhill

The subtitle to this article should be “without falling or hurting your knees”, because there comes a point in every runner’s life where one of these unceremoniously happens to you. Whether in a race or a training run, the added benefit of ascent is the speed and freedom of the descent. The problem is harnessing body mechanics and gravity into the perfect symphony for speed and not disaster.

Let us discuss mechanics. When running downhill, the initial instinct may be to attempt to decelerate the body by leaning back with the trunk, and striking the ground heel first. These two actions paired together increase the ground reaction forces through the legs significantly. Additionally, by leaning back, increased pressure is put into the low back, which can lead to a back injury as well.

Conversely, flying downhill willy nilly and out of control can lead to strain in the knees and low back as well, not to mention the prospect of a fall which can lead to face planting (add insult to injury if there are witnesses).

So how then, do we safely get down hill simultaneously clipping time off our pace and running safely? First and foremost, utilize your core musculature. Draw your belly button in towards your spine, and bend forward slightly with your whole trunk, flexing at the hips. The lean should be approximately 10 degrees, and your line of vision should fall 4-5 feet in front of your feet, not on the feet themselves. This will prevent you from leaning too far over your feet (again, face planting =bad).

The turnover of running stride should increase slightly as a product of shortening of the stride length. This will promote midfoot strike and help decrease the likelihood of heavy heel first striking down the hill, thus decreasing force through the legs and low back. Some runners benefit from self talk as they negotiate difficult terrain. A mantra to remain “light like a feather” on your feet is a helpful one.

Finally, arms should be utilized to maintain balance. Arm swing may increase a bit in swing excursion front to back, though they should not drift away from the body from side to side unless you are actually falling.

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“Beyond mountains there are mountains”- Haitian proverb

Make your day great,

Amanda

 

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On: The Newport Marathon/ Half-Marathon

This weekend marks my first race back at it since baby boy was born 5 months ago, and it was a gorgeous return to racing. The town of Newport, Oregon is an interesting little gem centrally located along the Oregon coast. While the town itself seemed bewildered as to why hundreds of us were there to run, it was supportive and welcoming. This race is a great destination race for families, as there are plenty of great kid-friendly attractions including the Oregon Coast Aquarium in addition to the beach itself.

Driving West-Bound from 1-5 there is a beautiful Elk viewing area along  highway 38.

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My husband and I trooped up with our 5 month old son, meeting a group of about 15 people from my running group. We headed to a fantastic dinner at the Savory Cafe after packet pick-up at the Embarcadero Resort. The Savory Cafe is a hawaiian/mexican/italian fusion restaurant with a menu full of vegan/vegetarian and gluten free meals. It was the most perfect restaurant for a celiac such as myself the night before a race. I highly recommend this restaurant to any foodie with allergies.

Check them out here: http://savorycafenewport.com/

The race itself began at Yaquina Bay State park. Marathoners and Half-marathoners all began at 7am, and remained  running together through the scenic tourist district on the beachfront of Newport, followed by a jaunt out of the town along the bay.

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The second portion of the race was out and back, with Half-Marathoners turning at mile 8 and finishing at the Embarcadero Resort.  Overall, the course was fast, flat, and scenic. If you are looking to Boston qualify, or to complete your first marathon running at sea level is a treat, and there is a local microbrew around the corner from the finish line.

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All done at the finish line, no worse for the wear. Rogue Brewery was pouring full beers for finishers, and my husband was happy to take mine.

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The finisher medals were designed by a local Newport artist, by far the most interesting finisher medal in my collection!

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Oregon Coast Artists making one very large fish

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Our lab Sage loves herself a beach

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All in all a great weekend, several members from my group PR’ed and a few were first time marathoners that are now hooked. I am very happy  to be racing again, and this 13.1 was a great warm-up for my race next month in the Central Oregon mountains at altitude, with altitude gains….

Take care, and make your day great!

Amanda

 

 

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On: Gluten Free Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken and Quinoa

Be still my beating heart. For it has found a new sauce for which it yearns. The creamy cilantro lime sauce that I threw together in my food processor was an instant hit in my home after cooking for the past few months in a bit of a food rut. It is gluten free, and low fat, as the “creamy” essence is from low fat greek yogurt. Thanks to the jalepeno it has a tiny little kick. Also of note, I have found a lovely affordable cruelty free chicken breast and highly recommend it. And a 5$ gem at Trader Joe’s Rounds the meal off for the eoniphile: a white blend titled Grifone Bianco (the vintage and varietals are unlisted, but for 5$ its great!). Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

2 Lean organic chicken breasts

1 cup of quinoa cooked in 2 cups of boiling water

Dressing:

1/2 cup low fat greek yogurt

1 cup organic cilantro

1 tsp. rice vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 lime squeezed

2 cloves garlic

1 jalepeno-sliced and seeded

Directions: Cook the chicken as you like. It is gorgeous here in Southern Oregon, thus I had my husband throw ours on the grill for 10 minutes on medium heat. Meanwhile, I boiled the quinoa and made to sauce. To make the sauce put the greek yogurt, jalepeno, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, and cilantro into a food processor and process until smooth and consistent. Drizzle over chicken and quinoa as desired. Quick and easy my friends! photo1 (4)

Make your day great!

Amanda

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