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Episode 21: Going After Your BHAGs with Devora Peterson

by | Jan 14, 2021 | Podcasts

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Devora Peterson didn’t know that learning to mountain bike would help her overcome cancer, but it did. Her Big Hairy Audacious Goal related to biking helped her focus her energy on something she could control and keep her mind off cancer. In this first episode of 2021, Devora shares her strategy to stay fit and encourages you to take on your own BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals)!

Get Fit, Stay Healthy

I often talk and write about how important physical activity is to staying healthy and avoiding cancer (and its recurrence). 

Lack of physical activity is its own risk factor in many diseases including heart disease (the heart is a muscle after all), diabetes (movement helps manage blood sugar), and cancer prevention (as we know that sedentary behavior contributes to weight gain – and independent factor in many cancers – and slowed bowel function – a factor in colorectal cancer). 

Being physically active, no matter what your activity of choice, helps you detoxify your body by releasing toxins through sweating.

Fueling Your Body

If you’re just going out for a short activity, you may be alright with just water for hydration, but if you’re engaging in endurance sports you may need to fuel your body with other nutrients.

Staying well-hydrated is always important for optimal functioning of all of your body, but especially for your brain, and especially on hot days. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in water (in pounds). And, by the time you feel thirsty, you are probably already somewhat dehydrated. So instead, aim to drink 6-8 (8-oz) glasses of water each day (or about a glass an hour).

When fueling your body for activity, it’s important to recognize the amount of physical exertion you are putting forth. The more difficult and the longer the activity, the more you need to think about proper nutrition. For a cyclist, this could mean specially formulated shakes that deliver vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients (fats, carbs, and protein) in the right doses.

How to Stay Active When You Can’t Get to a Class

Whether it’s cold outside or you’re trying to avoid picking up Coronavirus or the flu, sometimes getting to a class isn’t feasible. Thankfully, these days we have many virtual options to choose from. There are apps and equipment with programs (Swift and Peleton) that can help you stay active indoors, in your own home, social distancing.

Making a Plan

Devora found it helpful to set a number of hours to stay active each week as a personal goal. You may find it helpful to do the same. For Devora, going after your BHAG meant doing the 5280 Challenge. Riding 5,280 miles on your bicycle in the course of a year. For a cyclist, that’s a lot. If you don’t cycle, maybe that could be a goal for walking 5,280 steps per day.

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy. Do it with friends and keep each other accountable… and healthy!

Highlights from the episode and a link to the whole episode are below.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

  • 1:49 How Devora became a cardiology nurse and exercise physiologist.
  • 2:26 Making her way West to Colorado.
  • 4:44 Risk-takers are fun-makers!
  • 5:25 Setting your Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
  • 6:48 The shoulder pain that started it all….
  • 15:09 How cycling and a training plan for getting healthy got Devora through cancer.
  • 18:15 Using cycling as a purpose and plan for survivorship – tracking the numbers.
  • 21:50 The basics of good nutrition.
  • 29:05 Taking lessons learned on the bike to fuel other parts of your life.
  • 35:49 The 5280 Challenge.
  • 37:37 The importance of recovery.
  • 40:30 Getting your physical activity in when it’s cold outside!
  • 45:10 The power of strength training.
  • 46:47 Cross training for self-improvement.
  • 51:15 Movement meditation for well-being and calm.

Links mentioned in today’s podcast:

  • IMRT Radiation
  • American Cancer Society (ACS)
  • American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)
  • Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA)
  • Breck EPIC Ride
  • Perpetuem Endurance Fuel
  • Peleton
  • Swift App
  • Converting Biking to Walking

A new podcast will be released every second and fourth Thursday of each month.

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