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What Does the COVID-19 Delta Variant Mean for Fitness Professionals and Facility Operators?

By Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Faculty Member
World Instructor Training Schools

The murmuring of cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant has sounded the alarms of multiple public health agencies throughout the US in recent days. As of Tuesday, July 20th, the Delta variant represents 83% of new COVID-19 cases — which since the middle of July has averaged 32,837 new cases per day nationwide. Additionally, hospitalizations in that same span are up 35% from the week prior according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Delta variant’s ascension comes at a time as many of us are finally settling back to the settings in which were most comfortable working with our clients, athletes, and students.

Let’s first dispel some falsehoods about the Delta variant and provide fitness professionals and facility operators suggestions on how to remain open in light of its recent proliferation.

1. The Delta variant is more dangerous than COVID-19. FALSE.

Variants are mutations of a virus and festooned nomenclature, in this case Greek alphabet characters to differentiate them from the original virus (COVID-19 Alpha) and other forms. A hallmark of the Delta variant are pronounced spike proteins which make it easier to penetrate cells and gain entry into angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) which are found within the cells of the skin, smooth muscles, bronchial tract, and sebaceous and eccrine glands. Delta variant is highly transmissible and potentially more contagious than COVID-19 but no more dangerous.

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Increased Physical Activity Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a monoclonal antibody that targets amyloid beta, a chief constituent of amyloid plaque that is implicated in neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Though preliminary reports suggest hope in treating the devastating disease which has robbed 6 million living Americans of their dignity and independence, the drug’s approval has been vehemently debated on the grounds of spurious initial clinical trial data validating its potential efficacy. (more…)

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Improve Mental Health through Physical Activity

By Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults (52 million Americans) is grappling with mental illness per the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at addressing quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services related to substance abuse and mental illnesses.

The convergence of public health, economic, and societal crises in 2020 served as a watershed moment that inequality and disparities in resources exist, but more harrowingly that our country is panged by an illness significantly more widespread than COVID-19 and perhaps less reported than the common cold. (more…)

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Prevent Groin Pulls with These Exercises

By Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

Injuries of the groin muscles, or adductor muscles complex, are one of the most problematic issues in a number of sports. According to a 2007 report featured in the Sports Medicine Journal, groin injuries are most common in field sports such as rugby, soccer and ice hockey [1]. Groin overuse injuries are also relatively common in other field sports such as football and lacrosse.

The report identified core weakness as a possible underlying cause in groin pain in athletes & groin injuries, as coactivation, or simultaneous firing of the core musculature and adductors must occur during the athletic movements the adductors generate.

The adductor complex is a composed of an assemblage of muscles layered on top of one another, cordoning the inner thighs. They balance the pelvis during gait and as mentioned earlier, contribute to athletic movements, which include twisting, turning, and pivoting, they are also key players in pelvic stability, such as activities of daily living which include climbing stairs and picking up objects. (more…)

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Four Healthy Exercises To Lower Blood Pressure

First of all, let’s look at some high blood pressure facts from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):

  • High blood pressure (also referred to as Hypertension) is defined as a chronically elevated blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg. Also stated as “one forty over ninety”.
  • Elevation in blood pressure increases chances of a heart attack or stroke
  • More than 75 million Americans have high blood pressure
  • Three out of every four people over age 60 has high blood pressure
  • Many men and women don’t even know they have high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure can be controlled
  • Death rates from heart attacks and strokes in the United States have decreased by 40-60 percent over the last 30 years

That’s good news. And those who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. But let’s explore how you can lower your blood pressure with some simple exercise.

In 2011, the ACSM recommended for healthy adults at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (working hard enough to break a sweat, but still able to carry on a conversation) five days per week. Or 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week. Combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation.

The ACSM also states that a well-rounded physical activity program includes Aerobic Exercise and strength training exercise, but not necessarily in the same session. Let’s focus on Aerobic Exercise:

According to the American Heart Association (AMA), with an average weight of either 150lbs or 200lbs, adults can expect to burn the following calories with the following exercises:

Walkingat 3mph: 320 – 416 calories/hour

Running at 5.5mph: 660 – 962 calories/hour

Cycling at 12mph: 410 – 534 calories/hour

Swimming at 25yds/min: 275 – 358 calories/hour

Most of us find it difficult to add exercise to our already busy day — even if it will improve our health. However, the physical activity required to lower blood pressure can be added without making major lifestyle changes. The ACSM suggests these simple measures to increase activity as a part of your existing daily activity:

  • Park your car further away so you can add some walk time to and from work
  • Take the stairs, instead of the elevator
  • Take a 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break
  • Choose a restaurant with low-fat, low-cholesterol options and walk to it for lunch
  • Take your children or grandchildren to the park
  • Take a 30-minute window-shopping walk around the mall when weather is bad
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to start your day with exercise (Most people find they look forward to their exercise time!)

You can vary all of these activities to make exercise interesting!

Before You Exercise

The ACSM recommends that, prior to beginning any exercise program, you should see your doctor and ask for an medical evaluation. It’s important for your doctor to clear you for strenuous activity. This keeps them in the loop as to your daily life and goals, but also allows them to provide critical, personal advice on how to go about your activities.

The ACSM warns, “Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, and some programs may result in injury. Activities should be carried out at a pace that is comfortable for the user. Users should discontinue participation in any exercise activity that causes pain or discomfort. In such event, medical consultation should be immediately obtained.”

Blog article courtesy of: American College of Sports Medicine

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Changing the Face of Breast Cancer – One Patient at a Time

By: Andrea Leonard, Founder and President
Cancer Exercise Training Institute

Most of us know that every October symbolizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the globe. I witnessed my mother battling breast cancer three times since 1981. She is currently fighting the battle with widespread-metastatic breast cancer. Today she is winning!

According to Breastcancer.org:

Face of Breast Cancer

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2019. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
  • About 41,760 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2019 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Women under 50 have experienced larger decreases. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2019, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
  • As of January 2019, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.
  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
  • The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
In 1995 my mother’s breast surgeon, Katherine Alley, was a personal training client of mine. After my mom’s second diagnosis she begged me to help her in her recovery to avoid all of the pain and debilitation she encountered the first time. I remember the day that I asked Dr. Alley what she thought of writing a book on exercises for breast cancer patients to help them in their recovery. Without hesitation she said “YES!” We solicited the help of the Chiefs of breast surgery at Georgetown George Washington, and Johns’ Hopkins University Hospitals, along with PT’s, OT’s, Patient Navigators, and exercise physiologists. In 2000, “Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors” was published by Harvard Common Press.

So began my journey into changing the lives of cancer patients worldwide. Since that time I have trained roughly 10,000 health and fitness professionals in 27 countries to become Cancer Exercise Specialists. It’s the most incredible feeling to know that each of these professionals is probably helping many cancer patients and survivors to fend off the debilitating side-effects of treatment as well as regain their pre-cancer level of strength and fitness, or better!

With a physician’s clearance, during cancer treatment, a Cancer Exercise Specialist can help patients determine the proper frequency, intensity, and duration or exercise to help minimize fatigue, increase stamina, improve sleep, decrease pain, prevent lymphedema, and manage stress and potentially counter-depression. During recovery a Cancer Exercise Specialist is trained to identify muscle imbalances and range of motion limitations and how they can be corrected through the proper combination of stretching and strengthening. This is of critical importance following mastectomy, radiation, and reconstruction which may all result in painful and functionally limiting scar tissue and adhesions. They also assess one’s core and balance and can help to manage the difficulties that arise with neuropathy while helping to prevent osteoporosis. Long-term side-effects of treatment may include damage to the heart and lungs, future cancers, diabetes, lymphedema, and osteoporosis; all of which can be minimized or prevented with the proper exercise “prescription.’
“So many people are needlessly suffering in the aftermath of cancer surgery and treatment. I want them to know that there is help! They do not have to accept this as their fate.” – Andrea Leonard
To find a Cancer Exercise Specialist near you, please visit the Cancer Exercise Specialist International Directory.
If you are a health or fitness professional that wants to make a difference in the lives of cancer survivors and are ready to begin your training as a Cancer Exercise Specialist, or Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU(R) Specialist, we want to help you. Throughout October you can save 30% off of either of the aforementioned courses and be on your way to helping those in need!
Register at:ceti.teachable.com
Consider getting started with the course Introduction to Cancer Exercise: Essentials of Cancer Exercise.
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Special Pops: Exercise and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

April is National Autism Awareness Month

The incidence of autism in American children has risen dramatically over the past two decades, increasing from one child out of 150 in the year 2000, to one in 59 in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those statistics exceed the global average of about one in 161, although the incidence in Western countries worldwide is also on the rise.

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Benefits of Exercise for Breast Cancer Recovery

One of the most important, if not THE most important part of recovery from the debilitating side-effects of breast cancer surgery and treatment is correcting postural deviations that are the result of muscle imbalances. We must re-educate the body to restore its’ normal balance. Most of us think of balance as one’s ability to stand without falling, but it actually represents the ability to stabilize and maintain a specific body position. Postural control is defined as the act of maintaining, achieving, or restoring a state of balance during any posture or activity. Therefore, it only makes sense that performing exercises to correct range of motion and postural deviations, while incorporating the aspect of balance, would yield the greatest results! (more…)

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Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Recovery

One of the most important, if not THE most important part of recovery from the debilitating side-effects of cancer surgery and treatment is correcting postural deviations that are the result of muscle imbalances. We must re-educate the body to restore its’ normal balance. Most of us think of balance as one’s ability to stand without falling, but it actually represents the ability to stabilize and maintain a specific body position. Postural control is defined as the act of maintaining, achieving, or restoring a state of balance during any posture or activity. Therefore, it only makes sense that performing exercises to correct range of motion and postural deviations, while incorporating the aspect of balance, would yield the greatest results! (more…)