East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support Gym

Excit­ing new project is tak­ing place for can­cer sur­vivors and their fam­i­lies in Bal­li­nasloe, Co. Gal­way.   Jacque­line Daly Direc­tor of East Gal­way & Mid­lands Can­cer Sup­port Cen­tre envi­sioned how to fur­ther enhance survivor’s recov­ery in none other than build­ing a gym on site to improve health and fit­ness eas­ily and con­ve­niently for all members.

This is a state of the arts project and the first of its kind in Ire­land. The cen­tre has licenced the ‘Mur­phy (METs) Pro­gramme’ which will allow classes to be thought by qual­i­fied per­sonal. “I have worked towards this moment for many years; to finally teach oth­ers to teach my pro­gramme safely and effec­tively and it is my goal for the ‘Mur­phy (METs) Pro­gramme’ to expand to other cen­tres across the coun­try so that a greater num­ber of can­cer sur­vivors can reap its benefits”.

Dáil Éireann 23092015This week we met with the Min­is­ter of Health ‘Leo Varad­kar’ and dis­cussed the plans for the cen­tre. I had the oppor­tu­nity to share with him a lit­tle about the ‘Mur­phy (METs) Pro­gramme’ and my goal to increase aware­ness to the health ben­e­fits asso­ci­ated with daily phys­i­cal activ­ity and draw atten­tion to the amount and inten­sity of phys­i­cal activ­ity for can­cer sur­vivors to achieve these ben­e­fits; phys­i­o­logic, meta­bolic and psychological.

I will keep you posted on our progress in Bal­li­nasloe, Co Galway.



Exercise and Cancer

Marie MurphyThere is a grow­ing body of lit­er­a­ture that sup­ports the impor­tance of exer­cise in the pre­ven­tion of can­cer and can­cer recur­rence. Exer­cise helps increase lean body mass, reduces fat and decreases the like­li­hood of weight gain. To lose weight, activ­ity and exer­cise must be increased. Bod­ies with more mus­cle mass require more energy expen­di­ture than bod­ies with more fat, thus the more mus­cle you develop, the greater the amount of calo­ries you burn. Any increase in activ­ity and exer­cise is likely to have ben­e­fits and each per­son must increase their activ­ity at a level that is appro­pri­ate for them. If you have been inac­tive, it may be impor­tant to check with your doc­tor about lim­i­ta­tions, and then begin an exer­cise rou­tine that starts slowly and increases in inten­sity and dura­tion over a period of time. If you start too hard or too fast, you may injure your­self and stop exer­cis­ing. Exer­cise really needs to be viewed as a life­time process that has phys­i­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal benefits.

Activ­ity is mea­sured based on METs or meta­bolic equiv­a­lent. One MET is defined as the energy it takes to sit qui­etly for an hour. When at rest, each per­son uses the same amount of oxy­gen which is 3.5ml per kilo­gram per minute. For the aver­age adult, this means that they will burn approx­i­mately one calo­rie for every 1 kilo­gram (2.2 pounds) of body weight per hour. A per­son who weighs 68kg, will burn about 68 calo­ries while at rest. Mod­er­ate inten­sity activ­i­ties are those that make you move fast or are stren­u­ous enough to burn three to six times as much energy per minute as you do when you are sit­ting qui­etly. EilishThese types of exer­cises would include brisk walk­ing (about 3–4 miles in an hour). Walk­ing is an excel­lent exer­cise; how­ever, it is impor­tant to do enough of it to increase the num­ber of METs. While the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Med­i­cine (ACSM) has deter­mined that peo­ple need 3–6 METs five days per week, some exer­cise research sug­gests that you need more and it is rec­om­mended that peo­ple strive for 15–20 METs per week. To fig­ure out how many METs you are using and how to increase it, con­sider the following;

• Walk­ing 1.6km (1 mile) in 30 min­utes = 3 METs/hr, thus you would need to walk 5 hours per week to achieve 15 METS.
• Walk­ing 1.6km (1 mile) in 15 min­utes = 4.6 METs/hr, thus you would need to walk 3 ½ hours per week to achieve 16 METS.

In a 2004 study, women who exer­cised greater than 17.2 METs per week had a reduced like­li­hood of breast can­cer recur­rence com­pared to women who exer­cised less than that amount, sug­gest­ing that exer­cise is ben­e­fi­cial both in terms of pre­ven­tion and recurrence.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion please see:

Know Your METs for Pre­ven­tion — Recur­rence of Disease

Cal­cu­lat­ing your weekly METs km

15 weeks Walk­ing Programme

Infor­ma­tion for Health Professionals

Effects of Alcohol on Sports Performance

Picture1Any­one who has an inter­est in play­ing sports or keep­ing fit should under­stand the effects alco­hol can have on their per­for­mance. Not hav­ing a bal­anced approach to alco­hol could be what gets in the way of you reap­ing the rewards from all the work you’ve put in.

The two main ways alco­hol affects the body dur­ing exer­cise are in dehy­dra­tion and energy;

Dehy­dra­tion leads to reduced per­for­mance.  Because alco­hol is a diuretic, which

means it makes your kid­neys pro­duce more urine, drink­ing too much of it can lead to dehy­dra­tion. Exer­cis­ing soon after drink­ing alco­hol can make dehy­dra­tion worse because you sweat as your body tem­per­a­ture rises. Com­bined, sweat­ing and the diuretic effect of exer­cise make dehy­dra­tion along with your body over­heat­ing much more likely. You need to be hydrated when you exer­cise to main­tain the flow of blood through your body, which is essen­tial for cir­cu­lat­ing oxy­gen and nutri­ents to your muscles.

Alco­hol inter­feres with the way your body pro­duces energy — When you’re metabolis­ing or break­ing down alco­hol the liver can’t pro­duce as much glu­cose, which means you have low lev­els of blood sugar. Exer­cise requires high lev­els of sugar (car­bo­hy­drates) to give you energy. If your liver isn’t pro­duc­ing enough glu­cose you will be slower, have less energy and won’t be able to exer­cise as intensely along with the added risk of adversely affect­ing your con­cen­tra­tion, coor­di­na­tion, reac­tion, dex­ter­ity etc.

Both of these effects hap­pen imme­di­ately which is why it is not advised to exer­cise or com­pete in sport soon after drink­ing alcohol.

Alcoholism/Alcohol abuse causes

  • Nerve dis­or­ders
  • Mus­cle cramps
  • Speeds up ageing
  • Osteo­poro­sis
  • Appetite loss
  • Depres­sion

 Binge drink­ing can lead to;

  • Atrial fib­ril­la­tion
  • Increases risk of blood clots
  • Increases risk of stroke

Physical Activity and Living With Cancer

Pub­lic talk at Can­cer Care West 72 Sea­mus Quirke Road, West­side, Gal­way Thurs­day April 16, at 7.30 pm.

Marie MurphyI will be address­ing such top­ics as the impor­tance of phys­i­cal activ­ity, side effects of can­cer treat­ment, the impor­tance of resis­tance train­ing and the role of nutri­tion. I will also out­line the key com­po­nents of the Mur­phy (METs) pro­gramme, a spe­cialised fit­ness regime for peo­ple liv­ing with cancer.

This pub­lic talk is free of charge and will be par­tic­u­larly use­ful to can­cer patients who are adapt­ing to liv­ing with the ill­ness. Please call Can­cer Care West Sup­port Cen­tre at 091 540040 for more details.



Atwater’s Vision: A Healthy Balanced Nutrition

The first pub­lished dietary guide­lines were writ­ten in 1894 by W.O. Atwa­ter.  Atwa­ter ini­ti­ated the sci­en­tific basis for con­nect­ing food com­po­si­tion, dietary intake, and health, and empha­sized the impor­tance of vari­ety, pro­por­tion, and mod­er­a­tion in healthy eat­ing.  It is worth not­ing that at this time spe­cific vit­a­mins and min­er­als had not yet been discovered.

In 1902 Atwa­ter stated:

“Unless care is exer­cised in select­ing food, a diet may result which is one-sided or badly balanced-that is, one in which either pro­tein or fuel ingre­di­ents (car­bo­hy­drate and fat) are pro­vided in excess….The evils of overeat­ing may not be felt at once, but sooner or later they are sure to appear-perhaps in an exces­sive amount of fatty tis­sue, per­haps in gen­eral debil­ity, per­haps in actual disease.” 

By the 1950s, nutri­tional guide­lines moved to four food groups known as the “Basic Four” with the focus on get­ting suf­fi­cient nutri­ents.  This con­cept was widely used for the next two decades.  Dur­ing the 1990s, the Food Guide Pyra­mid was released.  The pyra­mid con­veyed key con­cepts regard­ing vari­ety, pro­por­tion­al­ity, and mod­er­a­tion; Atwater’s words repeated ten decades later.Nutrition Chart MMP

Lets get back to basics.  A diet that is high in veg­eta­bles, fruits, whole grains, beans, fish, and low in fat, high in fibre is can­cer protective.

Improving your Health and Fitness in 2015

If you have made a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to improve your fit­ness; do more exer­cise, increase your strength, eat a health­ier diet, lose weight then fear not, help is at hand. The fol­low­ing tips will help you feel health­ier, fit­ter and more energised:IMAG1760

  • Get­ting your METs is Clare Holiday Pictures 220first and fore­most!  If time is lim­ited for exer­cis­ing make car­dio­vas­cu­lar exer­cise your first choice by using the largest mus­cle groups in a repet­i­tive move­ment (exam­ple; walk­ing, jog­ging, swim­ming etc.).
  • Set real­is­tic goals.  If you can­not see your­self hold­ing your exer­cise rou­tine for a period of 15 weeks then the task is too great.  The aver­age time a per­son holds an exer­cise pro­gramme is 6–8 weeks; this is too short for life chang­ing benefits.

  • Be con­sis­tent, take small steps. Increase time, dis­tance or rep­e­ti­tions of your work­outs every 3 weeks.  This allows the body time to adapt to the routine/stress level which makes advanc­ing to a higher level eas­ier and safer.

  • Stay hydrated, drink at least 1.5 litres of water daily. Keep in mind high water-volume foods also pro­vide your body with flu­ids. Fruits and veg­eta­bles are com­posed of 90 per­cent water.

  • Healthy SaladWhen it comes to eat­ing healthy, los­ing weight or main­tain­ing your cur­rent weight, you are more likely to be suc­cess­ful if you make small changes over time rather than chang­ing your entire diet all at once.


For a con­sul­ta­tion con­tact Marie at 085 196 5468 or email murphyprogramme@gmail.com to place your name on the wait­ing list for upcom­ing course.

Staying active over the holiday period

Whilst you may not be able to stick to your nor­mal exer­cise rou­tine over the hol­i­day period, you can still fit some exer­cise in. For exam­ple, if you nor­mally walk out­doors but find the weather too cold, try work­ing out indoors. Walk­ing up and down a flight stairs once is equal to one minute of weight bear­ing exercise. 

Merry ChristmasStair climb­ing is also excel­lent for increas­ing your bone strength (bone den­sity) in your hips; it works on the main mus­cles for walk­ing and is very good for your over­all health. While watch­ing your favourite TV pro­gramme or lis­ten­ing to your favourite radio pro­gramme march­ing on the spot or any form of danc­ing are addi­tional choices.

You may not have an hour to spare to com­plete your reg­u­lar work­out how­ever, short reg­u­lar bursts of activ­ity can help main­tain your fit­ness level and reduce the chance of an extended period of time going by with­out exer­cis­ing (it is always eas­ier to main­tain then to gain back).  5 min­utes walk­ing, jog­ging or march­ing on the spot on and off through­out the day all adds up and con­tributes to bet­ter health.

Lastly, it may be eas­ier to keep to an exer­cise rou­tine when you share it with some­one. Walk with a friend, walk your dog, jog along­side your child while they cycle their new bike from Santa. It’s all about stay­ing active, get­ting your METs and reap­ing the benefits.

Hope you find the above tips help­ful and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christ­mas and Health, Hap­pi­ness & Pros­per­ity for 2015

Christ­mas Gift Voucher can be used towards start­ing the New Year with a per­son­al­ized train­ing programme.

Post-Marathon Recovery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen ath­letes com­plete a marathon dis­tance usu­ally their thoughts are not focused on the impor­tance of recov­ery; mak­ing the right choices in post-training and nutri­tion.  Cross­ing the fin­ish­ing line par­tic­i­pants are mainly excited and relieved that they have finished.

Nutri­tion and exer­cise are thoughts many ath­letes focus on dur­ing their train­ing and give lit­tle thought to these key ele­ments once the goal has been accom­plished. Yet the only way to reap the ben­e­fits from our efforts of run­ning a marathon is to do the right things fol­low­ing the event.

Also, ath­letes who have not taken the proper steps seem to never want to run another marathon or worse yet never return to reg­u­lar exer­cise. To avoid this hap­pen­ing to you, here are some tips on how to gain strengths from your accom­plish­ments and enjoy many more marathons in the future.

Please see Post-Marathon Recov­ery and Nutri­tional Guidelines


Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Guidelines

The pri­mary treat­ments for breast can­cer (surgery, radi­a­tion, chemother­apy) con­tinue to lead to sig­nif­i­cant mor­bid­ity for many indi­vid­u­als diag­nosed with this dis­ease.  A num­ber of phys­i­cal impair­ments com­monly result from treat­ments designed to save or pro­long the lives of those affected.  These include impair­ments of upper extrem­ity range of motion and strength, upper extrem­ity and/or breast lym­phedema, pain, fatigue, loss of sen­sa­tion, and reduc­tion in lev­els of phys­i­cal activ­ity and health-related qual­ity of life.

Older woman holding weightsThe fol­low­ing 5 tips can help lower risk of impairments:

  1. Gen­tle range of motion exer­cises the first week after surgery.
  2. Active stretch­ing exer­cises 1 week after surgery, or when the drain has been removed.
  3. Active stretch­ing exer­cises con­tin­ued for 6–8 weeks or until full range of motion is achieved in the affected upper extremity.
  4. Pro­gres­sive resis­tance train­ing can begin with light weights (0.5-1kg) within 4–6 weeks after surgery.
  5. Post­op­er­a­tive assess­ments should occur reg­u­larly up to 1 year after surgery.

This infor­ma­tion is in line with the Insti­tute of Med­i­cine report ‘Clin­i­cal Prac­tice Guide­lines We Can Trust’.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion on how you can start a pro­gres­sive resis­tance train­ing pro­gramme early please email Marie at murphyprogramme@gmail.com

Know Your METs to Lower Breast Cancer Risk/Recurrence

Exer­cise reduces an individual’s risk of devel­op­ing breast can­cer. Fur­ther­more, in indi­vid­u­als who have already been diag­nosed with the dis­ease, exer­cise reduces the chance of a can­cer recur­rence as well as improves qual­ity of life.

Below is an easy expla­na­tion of the METs pro­gramme which I did for an ini­tia­tive called Choose­ToTri.  June O’Connell started Choose­ToTri  after hear­ing me speak at the Irish Can­cer Society’s Annual National Breast Can­cer Con­fer­ence (2010) when talk­ing about the rela­tion­ship between exer­cise and can­cer pre­ven­tion (METs).

In this video, I explain METs in a clear and easy to under­stand way.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion on METs please see:

Know Your METs for Pre­ven­tion — Recur­rence of Disease

Cal­cu­lat­ing your weekly METs km