Why Stairs?

Walking Stairs – One of the most potent, no cost, no frill, ubiquitous, climate tolerant, readily available exercise that provides potential benefits. Though seemingly innocuous, walking stairs helps tone the core muscles plus enhance your stamina and build your endurance, in addition it also provides an easy means of burning three times extra calories as compared to walking or taking a stroll.

This blog provides an understanding about the benefits of walking stairs, calorie consumption, options while walking stairs and the tips for engaging in correct mechanism while doing so. It provides illustrations and reputed citations at the end of the blog.

Someone said it right, ‘The elevator to health is out of order, you need to take stairs’.

Disclaimer:

Before you embark on ‘Climbing Stairs’ as a form or exercise, I presume you have consulted your physician or cardiologists and you have their authorization to do these. If not, I strongly advise you to consult your doctor and get his approval before you initiate this.

Benefits of Stair Climbing

Where can I find Stairs?

Obviously an absurd question, you can almost find stairs anywhere – at home, work, recreation, shopping mall, schools, public places, or even walking up/down the knolls. Despite being ubiquitous, there is no money involved in enjoying climbing stairs. Running up and down a flight of stairs can raise your heart rate quickly.

Climbing Stairs – What does it offers?

Climbing stairs is one of the most potent aerobic exercises that I see after running, swimming, jogging and high intensity sports. Our lifestyle or other constraints often forbid us from participating in these high intensity sports, however, it is possible to engage in climbing stairs in our day to day life. Often, I see folks reside in two storied homes or live in apartments or work in office or offices with multiple floors. If you don’t have one, find one.

While I walk down the Valley Ranch trail, the entire hillock rolling down to the flat terrain, amounts to 13 floors. If you are working or live on the higher floor, may be walk couple of those. Stairs help you increase the heart rate faster than walking, providing 3 times increase in workload in a similar period of time.

Why Stairs?

Stairs exercises the core and antigravity muscles; it helps keep them healthy plus the bigger antigravity muscles such as the thigh and abdominals burn significant calories. Remember, antigravity muscles are the cornerstone of all our daily activities. Weakness in these causes us to slouch, get tired or even change our body contour. Walking stairs enhances and reinforces your core muscles such as abdominals, hamstrings, quadriceps, and soleus (calf muscles). Remember, it is utmost important to keep these muscles healthy for sustaining energy and long periods of work. Mere bulky muscles are not a strength of healthy muscles. Gyms and resistance training keeps your muscles ‘BIG’, whereas climbing Stairs keeps those healthy.

Calories burned – Walking and Stair Climbing compared

For 150 lbs. person, 30 minutes of walk on an even surface burns 90 calories. It is 30 calories extra for the one weighing 200 lbs.

For those amongst us who are 150-160 lbs., can use below approximation to count calories burned while climbing stairs

  • 3 flights of Stairs = 15 calories
  • 60 minutes, four days a week – could burn roughly 532 calories per session
  • 532 x 4 = 2218 calories/week
  • You lose about one pound in a week and a half

Stair options

Nanoworkouts Stair Options

  1. Climbing two stairs at a time increases not alone calorie consumption but also provides an additional exercise to the core muscles and the antigravity muscle.
  2. Increments of 10 minutes will offer sudden bursts in metabolism and help with possible weight loss.
  3. Walking down the stairs requires you to control your body from sliding down. This effort initiates your quadriceps and hip flexors to control the downward movement. They have to stabilize the torso from rolling down.
  4. You can almost blend other exercises such as raising your arms, carrying dumbbells, or twisting your body while walking down. Blending increases the calories burned. However, blending is to be avoided while walking downstairs
  5. Try to tuck your tummy in while climbing up and down the stairs, these will increase the tone of your abdominals (which help you sustain an erect posture) and also burn more calories

Remember these six tips while climbing stairs

  1. Put your entire foot on the step, leaning slightly forward, engage your core and tuck your tummy.
  2. Keep your toes straight rather than splaying them right or left.
  3. Though it sounds easy, give enough time while you are climbing down
  4. Always be well hydrated and adequate on calories, too much loading is bad, as is walking too many stairs while fasting.
  5. If you feel tired, skip a day but take an easy walk on an even surface.
  6. Fatigue sets in quickly and it’s important to maintain good form. Completing steps using bad form will stress/overload your body and potentially injure you. Always start small and increase gradually.

Summary:

One of the most potent, no cost, no frill, readily available exercise available that provides great benefits. It helps provide tone to the core muscles plus enhance your stamina or endurance in addition to providing an easy means of burning three times extra calories as compared to walking or strolling.

This and other health blogs are written for increasing an awareness within the community. There are no direct or indirect material benefits from this blog/s.

Illustrations are taken from StepJockey and Nanoworkouts.com.

Citations:

8 Way climbing Stairs

Exercise Tips for Harvard Stadium Stair Workout

Interesting Articles

Fitness for less: Low-cost ways to shape up

Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common challenges

Exercise Activity Calculator (American Cancer Society)

How Many Calories do I need? Calorie Counter (from American Cancer Society)

Calorie counting made easy

Walking: Your steps to health (Harvard Health Publishing)

How to Burn About 150 Calories (Harvard Health Publishing)

Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights

List of skeletal muscles of the human body

Build Anti-Gravity Muscle

Abdominal fat and what to do about it: Are you Pear Shaped or Apple Shaped?

Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night’s rest

Stretching: 35 exercises to improve flexibility and reduce pain (Harvard Health)

Marching orders: How to start a walking program

 

 

 

 

Donate for Tornado Affected

In the last few days that I have been talking with my family friends and professional circle and I got a deep realization that, that benevolence, that kindness is deep within you all. I am no exception. You all feel so strongly for the cause of those affected.

It bonds us when we stand together in times of crisis, when we share the pain and pathos, when we lend a hand to get them back to life. None of those whom I approached declined to help. Everyone I turned towards for getting this help is equally motivated and supportive towards those affected. Time is of essence and those who have lost the roof over their head don’t have a holiday, weekdays and weekends sound same to those distraught.

Canton and a swath of East Texas were hit by Tornado on April 29, 2017. As per one government estimate, almost 5200 addresses were significantly damaged or affected. Many amongst these were those who are economically deprived and never had any coverage – home or auto. Looking at the plight, it is natural desire to help these victims. While the local and state government are doing their best, it is utmost important that, we citizen/residents who are not affected share their pain and plight.

Roof blown away

Roof Gone

It bonds us when we stand together in times of crisis, when we share the pain and pathos, when we lend a hand to get them back to life. None of those whom I approached declined to help. Everyone I turned towards for getting this help is equally motivated and supportive towards those affected. Time is of essence and those who have lost the roof over their head don’t have a holiday, weekdays and weekends sound same to those distraught.

No Home left Behind

No Home Left Behind.png

In the last few days that I have been talking with my family friends and professional circle and I got a deep realization that, that benevolence, that kindness is deep within you all. I am no exception. You all feel so strongly for the cause of those affected.

Trust me, you will be amazed how strong that feeling resides within each of us and when you approach your network, you will be surprised to see those deeply embedded humane feelings, that aptitude to help someone not related to us.

Together we can, small contributions help

Can you pledge an amount for those affected? Only 5% of that amount should come directly from your pocket, the remainder should be from your network of family, friends and profession.

  • You pledge an amount, say $200
    • Only 5% donated you
    • 95% from your network
  • Please ask your family members, friends and professionals to pledge additionally and create their own network of donors
  • Money goes directly to the City of Canton, no intermediate handling of the donations
    • VZCtornadorelieffund2017
    • The above account is set up by the Van Zandt County for the Tornado affected victims
  • You only collate the names of those donors and the amount they donated
  • Donors can contact Commissioner s Office to validate the cause and the account details on below address –
    • Susan Strickland, Secretary to the Commissioner’s Office, Van Zandt County, Texas
    • Commissioners office can be reached out on 903 567 2166
    • You may Google and reach their office

Those without a roof on their head have no Saturday or Sunday, Night and Day are same for them. Please don’t wait, do it as a priority and do it before you forget. This world exists with the benevolence of us all.

Thank you,

Ash Heda

PS: If you have a question, please reach me on my cell (972 345 0508) or email (ash1201@gmail.com)

Faces of destruction – news and images, ‘Tornado Ravaged Van Zandt County’, April 29, 2017 –

Rebuilding Canton and vicinity: http://wp.me/p7XEWW-RL

Officer Ron Duke’s Story: http://wp.me/p7XEWW-So

Campaign launched –

Deeper Discount to Tornado affected – http://wp.me/p7XEWW-SR

Petition on Change.Org for Discounted Material

National Weather Service Ranks East Texas Tornado

Surviving the Storm: Life After East Texas Tornadoes

Canton Car Dealership takes a direct hit

10 Dead, Dozens Hurt After Tornadoes Hit Texas, South

Fruitvale Church Puts Their Faith To Action Cleaning Up

Tornados rip through Canton, Van Zandt County, killing at least four and injuring dozens

 

Surgical and Chemotherapy Options for Treating Advanced CRC

Basic understanding on Colorectal Cancer

If you want to learn basic anatomy and gather understanding on CRC and the different options, below sites have helpful information –

Introduction and review of anatomy of colon cancer

You may also visit

Selected Animations of Colorectal Cancer (CRC)

Above site has great animations and offers succinctly information on current Treatment Strategies –

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted Therapy

For Understanding the different molecular laboratory test required for colorectal cancer, you may click here.

Chemotherapy and Targeted Therapy Options (please click hyperlink)

Different options are given and you may want to discuss these with your Oncologists

TREATMENT FOR STAGE IV, METASTATIC CANCER OR RECURRENT CRC

Site helps us understand that it is a worthwhile effort to manage this, never a futile effort.

  1. Your metastatic tumors are limited enough to be removed surgically (resectable) and might be curable
  2. Your tumors are not resectable now, but with adjuvant treatment might become resectable and converted to a curable situation
  3. Your cancer is widespread and unlikely to become resectable and should be treated palliatively with the goal of extending your quality of life for as long as possible

I also saw other interesting content worth reading on this same site –

  • QUESTIONS TO ASK IF YOU HAVE STAGE IV OR RECURRENT CRC
  • EXAMPLES OF TREATMENT OPTIONS COMBINED TO TREAT METASTATIC DISEASE OVER TIME
  • CHEMOTHERAPY COMBINATIONS
  • TARGETED THERAPIES

Chemo drugs for treating CRC

Current Options for Third-Line Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Surgical Options – Colorectal Cancer: Treatment Options

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2016

You may want to consider chemo options per your case. Another Interesting Site that indicates Chemo Options per Stage

  • Stage I – No adjuvant treatment is recommended for stage I colon cancer.
  • Stage II & III – Adjuvant therapy is recommended for stage III and high-risk stage II colon cancer patients.
  • Stage IV – Treatment for stage IV colon cancer is generally palliative. There are many new cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted agents available for treating metastatic colon cancer, such as 5-FU, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, cetuximab, and bevacizumab.

What is the cancer cells have seeded to peritoneum (abdominal cavity)?

Options for treating CRC that has spread to peritoneum are –

  • Old Traditional method such as
  • Newer Option such as

However, before we chose the options, we have to measure the baseline with scores. Socres are counted using two scales, Peritoneal Cancer Index (PCI ) and Peritoneal Surface Disease Severity Score (PSDSS). The scales compute information from three distinct parameters –

  1. Patient’s symptoms
  2. Location and
  3. CRC tumor burden (Size)
  • Older Methods – removal of the omentum, systemic and/or palliative chemotherapy, and palliative surgery.
  • Newer Regimen – cytoreductive surgery (CRS), hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), and intraperitoneal chemotherapy.

Survival benefit –

Note: Older systemic chemotherapy regimens such as 5-flurouracil (5FU) and leucovorin offer a limited survival benefit of approximately 7 months, whereas, if Oxiplatin or irinotecan are added, survival can be extended to approximately 2 years.

Newer Regimens such as CRS and HIPEC have survival benefit of approximately 63 months with a 5-year survival near 50%. To say it simply, 50% patients will survive beyond 5 years.

The scales help in understanding the 5 years survival more objectively –

  • PCI 10 or less – 50% 5-year survival
  • PCI of 11 to 20 – 20% 5-year survival
  • PCI more than 20 – 0% 5-year survival

For Information on Gene Expression Profiling, you may visit following site –

Disclaimer:

The information available is for information purpose only. These are not recommendations. You are advised to consult your oncologist to get the recommendations for managing CRC patients.  The above site has all relevant references hyperlinked to the subtopics. The author holds no responsibility for any information mentioned herein.

 

CRC – Gene Expression Profiling

Molecular profiling changes the management of Colorectal Cancer significantly. This blog lists all relevant molecular markers associated with prognostic, response to chemotherapy, survival and recurrence of Colon Cancer.

Molecular profiling changes the management of Colorectal Cancer significantly.  This blog lists all relevant molecular markers associated with prognostic, response to chemotherapy, survival and recurrence of Colon Cancer.

The markers are chosen based on the basis of gene expression profile on colon cancer. As the cancer advances, it accumulates several genetic aberrations. Spread of cancer, response to treatment, survival to treatment and recurrence are all associated with different molecular markers.

These markers have been shortlisted from existing literature, experience with patients and the outcome. However, this is based upon my understanding and experience with patients and any decision based upon this blog need to be approved by your treating physician. I take no responsibility for decisions and or outcome based on these markers.

Many Molecular markers have been used for prediction and prognosis. Key amongst those are –

  1. MSI – Microsatellite Instability with the mismatch repair MMR system, MSI-H, MSI , MLH1, MsH2, MsH3, MsH6 and PMs2
  2. EGFR –
  3. VEGF
  4. KRAS mutation in Codon 12, 13, 61
  5. PTEN mutation
  6. PIK3CA Mutation
  7. BRAF V600E (Exon 15)
  8. p53

 

CEA – Carcinoembryonic antigen – CEA is separated from other molecular markers since CEA helps in understanding tumor burden and is also required for regular follow up.

 

Tissue Sampling:

The tissues should be immediately placed into liquid nitrogen upon excision and meticulously selected  pathologist for molecular profiling. Samples both from primary and secondaries (Lymph nodes) are required. Remember, to submit normal tissue along with the disease sample.

Dry Ice can be used as a media only for selected tests.

This page is under construction. I will update the markers as well as the references.

For Understanding the different surgical and chemotherapy options, you may visit –

Surgical and Chemotherapy options for Treating Advanced CRC, click here 

Watch the magic of endorphins!

Do you know that between the age of 35 – 40, we all start losing 1% of our lung capacity? Do you know that if we are engaged in regular moderate physical exercise, we tend to arrest that decline? Contrary to common believe, statistics have proven that, 45 minutes of exercise on a well-rested day, yields an extra productive effort of 68 minutes.

Exercise, not alone improves your productivity immediately post exercise, but also increases your body’s ability to handle stress in the immediate 2-3 days post exercise. Of course, there are several guidelines and recommendations that offer succinct advantage on each system of our body. Please read the exercises, their customization, ramp up and the different types of exercises to add to get a comprehensive regimen for your body.

Before establishing an overall fitness base and maximizing athletic development, one should go through step by step ramp up program with numerous exercises that safely increase coordination, flexibility, speed, strength, and endurance.

“In endurance runners’ brains have greater functional connectivity than the brains of more sedentary individuals. The runners, overall, showed greater functional connectivity — or connections between distinct brain regions — within several areas of the brain, including the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is an important region for cognitive functions such as planning, decision-making and the ability to switch attention between tasks.(Running May Enhance Brain Connections)”

brain

Many amongst you may be thinking, what are endorphins? Endorphins are morphine like substances secreted by brain that is bedrock of ‘feel good’ factor, driving optimism and energy as well as several aspects including immunity.

(This is part of another long term initiative I chose to drive understanding the impact and importance of this issue to our community.  Initially, I will work with a small group of folks from our community, and understanding the success factor, I will expand to bigger group. You will see me blogging on this as part of this initiative).

As you already know, the pain point with us all is motivation. We all lack the motivation to go to the Gym or simply walk up and down the rails at home or other exercise. We do take an episodic bout of exercise that lasts few days or at best occasional week. Second, the compulsions of real life are really rigorous enough to abandon our episodic enthusiasm. If that’s not the only reason, some amongst us travel and crash back to our bed on our return.

Our Sedentary (Indian) Life Style – What happens & When?

  • Lungs – Do you know that between the age of 35 – 40, we all start losing 1% of our lung capacity? Do you know that if we are engaged in regular moderate physical exercise, we tend to arrest that decline?
  • Vegetarian Meals – Do you know our carb rich vegetarian diet tend to get converted to fats in the absence of exercise? We tend to put on fat despite eating fat restricted diet?
  • No Exercise – Do you know our heart tends to lose its ejection ability (ejection fraction)? Heart too gets deconditioned not doing exercise.
  • No Exercise – Do you know, our muscles steadily lose its strength and tone and eventually, it becomes small if not atrophied?
  • Bones – Do you know, our skeletal system is highly dependent on the health of our muscles, that once these muscles get decompensated, they lose the tone and we tend to injure our joints? Some reflections are prolapse disc, radiating pain, increase wear and tear of joints due to imbalance of agonist and antagonist muscles?
  • Brain – Do you know that our brain (dendrites) loses its networking potential between the neurons and we tend to accumulate the senile plaque and other material at a faster pace due to inactivity? You may want to know what Senile Plaque are – simply speaking, we lose our memory faster with inactivity.
  • Diabetes – Do you know, in the absence of moderate to vigorous exercises, we increase peripheral resistance to glucose and eventually end up with type 2 diabetes?

Well, none of these happens overnight but the decline has already started and all of these provides a huge background to most future illnesses (of ageing or late adulthood). We all know, lack of exercise takes a daily toll on our health. American Heart Association considers lack of habitual physical activity as the fourth major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Our cardiac, respiratory, metabolic, musculoskeletal, nervous, gastrointestinal and endocrine system all need a vigorous physically active program to keep those healthy.

According to Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Healthy People Guidelines, in adults and older adults, physical activity can lower the risk of:

We think, we are healthy, but –

Our life style, sedentary and food habits strongly predispose us to – 

  • Early death
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast and colon cancer
  • Falls
  • Depression

By adding exercise to our routine, we tend not only to slow down the decline but simultaneously build our mental health and be more optimistic and productive? While we do physical workout, we tend to not alone increase our physical health coefficient our mood and perception, as well as our ability to deal with stress and our quantitative efforts at work. This is because brain secrets, ‘feelgood’ chemicals – endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine that helps to rejuvenate us.

Folks, there is one simple thing that stops these daily aggregation of risk –

Motivation

I am working on overcoming our lack of motivation using multiple approaches. One amongst those is getting a trainer for training. If the pilot runs successfully, we will book a space where we can participate in group exercises with trainer hired on an hourly basis. I have not run out of options, if these won’t work, I will be more creative and come up with more options.

However, I am strongly opposed to directly jumping on the exercise bandwagon and break whatever we have. We need to

  1. Customize as per individual body habitus
  2. Develop comprehensive plan (Endurance/Aerobics, Yoga, Resistance, Strength, Flexibility etc. I will cover individual topics eventually, watch this space!)
  3. Ramp up our exercise program.

Very few know that exercise, Yoga, Tai Chi or any other physical activities are not generic and need customization. Everybody is different and every individual is in a different state of health at different points in time. Consequently, a tailored approach is the key to success. Not all exercises from Gym are suitable for all, the same holds true about Yoga or Tai Chi. Unfortunately, our trainers are inadequately educated with medical understanding of our body to provide a customized program.  Though doctors are trained, unfortunately, they only know polar ends, normal health and diseases condition. If something is not diseased, it is normal. However, practically, very often we fall in the gray zone. Summarily, we definitely can’t rely on our trainers and our doctors don’t have time to understand the needs of our normal bodies and provide a kinesthetic plan for our wellbeing.

Second, a ramp up is equally important. Presuming we have no underlying health issue, despite we cannot suddenly start with any exercise, be it jogging, running, swimming, or any or the aerobics or resistance training. We need to ramp up gradually and we need to recruit different groups incrementally in a coordinated fashion. Before establishing an overall fitness base and maximizing athletic development, one should go through step by step ramp up program with numerous exercises that safely increase coordination, flexibility, speed, strength, and endurance.

What will motivate us and get us going into regular exercise schedule? I believe, commitment, discipline, motivation and a group fun filled activity will do that. I feel, getting a trainer will help circumvent a lot of these inertia. We still have to work with other factors like choosing right exercises customized to our own body types, gradual ramp up and adding multiple types of exercises, such as Yoga, Cardio, Resistance Training, Strengthening Small Muscle groups etc. Of course, exercise is not panacea but offers a solid beginning and foundation. Getting good sleep and eating health are other things. However, the scope of this article is restricted to exercise and I will continue talking about exercise.

I am undertaking this community initiative for zero-sum gain despite a cost to my time and efforts, simply to get us all embarked on a community exercise plan. I will do a free physical evaluation (based on guidelines from American Academy of Sports and Physical Medicine) and will provide an explanation of the best options for selecting the exercises plus the best plan to ramp up. All I need is your cooperation.

As a proof of concept, I am planning to call a trainer at home whose responsibility will be to get us going at a particular time. He/She will keep us all motivated. Initially, I will have 5-6 folks to start with. We will find a time according to mutual convenience. The venue will be my home and we will start immediately, if possible. What do you say?

Cheers!

PS: Watch this space as I keep updating it with different types of exercises (including videos), guidelines and how best to tailor exercises to our body’s state and needs.



 

Highly Recommended:

American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary

8 HORMONES INVOLVED IN EXERCISE


 

Interesting Read:

Physical Activity (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)

Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans

Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health

Endorphins and exercise

US Gov Guidelines –

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Chapter 4: Active Adults

Chapter 6: Safe and Active

ANABOLIC-ANDROGENIC STEROIDS: Mechanism of Action and Effects on Performance

AMINO ACIDS AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE: A Mini Conference in Oxford

How Exercise Beefs Up the Brain

Boost your natural ‘feelgood’ chemicals

Exercising to relax

The Hormones Of Happiness And How To Increase Them

Hormonal Response to Exercise

Why endorphins (and exercise) make you happy

The Neurochemicals of Happiness

Exercise detoxes body of depressive chemicals, scientists find