Sunday, March 5, 2017


Stretching: an often ignored, yet important component of exercise and healthy living. Whether you are an avid runner, a yogie, a lifter, or someone who likes to exercise in a class or individual setting, stretching is an key part of helping you reach your fitness goals and stay injury-free. However, many people neglect to stretch before or after exercise, primarily because it “takes up too much time” and is an under-emphasized component of exercise. Skipping over this step could cause someone to miss out on the benefits that it brings. Engaging in stretching before an exercise helps warm the muscles up and make motions feel looser and smoother. After exercise, it prevents muscles from tensing up and helps to prevent soreness. For those who have experienced cancer and treatment, stretching can be an important component of recovery after radiation and chemotherapy treatments. It can help to restore range of motion after surgery or a period of being sedentary, and increase circulation.

Carol J. Michaels, author of “Exercises for Cancer Survivors” put out an article highlighting 12 tips on how to stretch effectively. Some of these tips include holding the stretch until you feel tension, but not pain. Muscles in the body are wired to contract when they feel pain, which will prevent a good stretch. Also, stretching daily will help you see the most improvement. She notes that some of the benefits of stretching include improved posture, movement of lymph throughout the body, reduction of stress, and overall improvement of well-being. You can check out the article for more details and more posts by Carol Michaels here:

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Pillar Program

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you are unfortunately likely familiar with the concept of pain, depression, and fatigue during treatment and even after treatment. Options to help with these symptoms may become costly or time-consuming. That is where a new online program called “Reimagine” comes into play. Developed by researchers at Duke University, Reimagine is an online, free program that has been proven to reduce fatigue and depression in breast cancer survivors. The “Pillar Program,” as it is called on their website, focuses on teaching two major skillsets: solution-focused thinking and cognitive reframing. What that boils down to is using a step-wise program to teach patients or survivors to identify their needs and how they can control getting those needs met, as well as thinking about different ways to approach problems in life. This online program also features mind-body exercises including meditation and guided imagery. The women involved in the study on this program reported a greater reduction in depression and fatigue compared to the usual standard of care for these symptoms. A line from the website for Reimagine reads “Just as you can train your body to get physically stronger, you can train your mind to get mentally stronger and to respond to stressors in ways that allow you to feel calm, clear and in control — no matter what life throws at you.” While cancer is a physical condition, it often has psychological affects that can go unaddressed during treatment. This program fills that need in an affordable (free!), convenient (online!) and comprehensive fashion. Check out the program using the link below!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Prevent Injuries with Good Posture

For those of us who are knitters (and those of us who aren’t!) posture is an extremely important part of our daily routines and hobbies. As easy as it is to neglect, good posture can help prevent injuries and discomfort in our bodies. Having poor or slouched posture restricts the space that organs have to work in, namely the lungs and digestive organs. This can result in feelings of tiredness, achiness, or just feeling unwell in general. When knitting or stitching, sitting for an extended period of time can cause stiffness, tightness, and shortening of muscles. Improving posture takes a lot of practice and a lot of attentiveness, but over time having better posture will become second nature, and can help you feel a lot better about yourself! A good tip for those who typically sit for an extended period of time, whether you have a desk job, are an avid knitter, or lead a more sedentary lifestyle, is to try to get up and stretch your legs at periodic intervals. This break can be something as quick as taking a lap or two around your house or going on a longer walk outside. This helps to stretch your muscles, improve circulation, and get rid of tension that builds up over time. It also increases oxygen delivery to the brain to help you feel more alert and get through that afternoon slump!
This 2-page booklet from stitchlinks gives a great overview of this topic, including “Dos” and Don’ts” of posture. It also includes a series of posture tips for every position including sitting in a chair, sitting at a computer, standing, and lying down. 
Check out the link below!