Can Fitness Prevent Cancer and Other Diseases?

Here’s a word: “Exercise.” When you read that word, what is your response? Is it a happy word that makes you think of having fun with friends or getting away from everything while you enjoy a long run? Or is it a word you dislike because it makes you think of being in pain, sweating, or simply doing something you don’t like?

If you like the word you’re probably engaging in exercise to one degree or another. We’ll get to what is the best type of exercise for you a little later, but let’s first address those who had a negative response to the word.

Let’s try a different word: “Fitness.” Maybe the connotation with that word isn’t as bad. For the purposes of this blog we’ll use “fitness” to mean a body that is easily able to perform all activities needed on a daily basis including lifting heavier items (not too heavy), while having a healthy muscle to fat ratio.

Even if you hate exercise, it doesn’t mean you can’t be physically fit. There are several important reasons to address fitness. Here are a few:

1. You’re less likely to get injured. You need enough muscle strength to make it through activities of daily living without being at risk of injury.

2. You’ll build muscle which is important from two perspectives:

–          Muscle burns more calories than fat, keeping you slimmer

–          Muscle creates more muscle, while fat creates more fat. Basically the body is either gaining more muscle or gaining more fat, it’s never stagnant.

Note: If you want to know your fat vs muscle percentage, we have a fast, painless test here at the clinic that is very inexpensive: it’s called a BIA test and it only takes a few minutes to perform.

3. Fitness is good for your heart. Exercise improves circulation of not only your blood, but the cells of your immune system. It also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

4. Fitness reduces cancer risk. A study revealed physically active men and women to have a 30-40% reduction in risk for developing colon cancer compared to inactive individuals.

Other studies note programmed cell death of cancer cells is triggered by exercise. That’s a good thing to think about when you’re pushing yourself to exercise!

Exercise lowers insulin and controlling insulin levels is a powerful way to reduce your cancer risk.

5. It strengthens your bones. We have a vibration platform here at HealthNOW Physical Therapy that helps to build bone strength while you exercise.

6. Fitness helps to burn calories faster. A number of studies have linked obesity to an increased risk for about a dozen different cancers, including cancer of the colon.

A 2014 study analyzed data from more than 5 million people over the age of 16. For every 11-pound increase in body weight there was an increased risk for 10 different types of cancer. If you’re overweight or obese, even small amounts of weight loss can lead to significant benefits for your health. In terms of cancer prevention, losing excess belly fat is particularly important, as belly fat is linked to an increased risk of not only cancer, but heart disease and diabetes, regardless of your body weight.

Hint: If you want to burn calories faster throughout the entire day, exercise in the morning, rather than later in the day. For fat burning, there is no better time to exercise than first thing in the morning.

7. Helps stabilize mood through elevating endorphins. Exercise lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.

8. Fitness increases your energy level.

The list of benefits is pretty nice, huh? Are you still thinking “exercise = yuck”? You’re in good company. 37% of adults report they are not physically active and only 3 in 10 adults get the recommended amount of physical activity.

More than 10% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight. In fact, 25% of U.S. children spend 4 hours or more watching television daily.

The percentage of students in high school who engaged in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more of the previous 7 days was only 25%.

Just because there are many adults and children who don’t get enough exercise is not a license to do so yourself. We want you healthy and healthy = fit.

We have a great solution for you!

Fitness evaluations and individualized custom-made fitness programs are offered here at HealthNOW. Our doctor of Physical Therapy will evaluate you to decide the best program and then our highly trained Physical Therapy staff will deliver your program.

We have had great success with this approach whether you are new to exercise and a little nervous about beginning or if you’re a veteran and very active. It’s tailored to you and directed by a doctor. You’ll be supported to reach your next level of fitness, and then your next and your next, until you can’t believe how great you feel!

Give us a call to schedule your Fitness Evaluation with Dr Rupa – call 408-733-0400.


To your fabulous health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”


Depressed? Eat This Carbohydrate, Not That One!

Can you increase or decrease your risk of depression depending on what you eat?

Yes, says a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involving 70,000 female participants whose mental status and diets were followed.

A dietary association to depression is exciting news when you consider the amount of prescription medications prescribed for the condition is enormous. The medications are riddled with life threatening side effects including violent behavior, not to mention suicidal tendencies. Identifying the true root cause of depression is vital.

According to the study results, those who consumed highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and soda, had a higher risk of depression and were more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness.

Those who ate the highest amounts of fiber, fresh fruits (not fruit juice) and vegetables had a lower risk of depression.

Dr James Gangwisch of Columbia University, study author, cited the hormone insulin as a contributing factor. Insulin is secreted when one eats simple, refined carbohydrates and its levels rise sharply after the consumption of refined white flour and sugar, followed by a sudden crash of blood sugar. The crash is associated by a variety of symptoms, including depression, anxiety, fatigue and further sugar/carb cravings.

By comparison, complex carbohydrates release energy more slowly, thereby ensuring energy levels stay even and keep a person’s mood relatively stable.

Complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, do not result in an insulin response. These carbohydrates are broken down slowly yielding a stable blood sugar level, not the steep rise and fall seen with refined starches and sugar. The fiber content of complex carbohydrates are stabilizing to the health of the digestive tract, the 100 trillion friendly probiotic organisms housed within, not to mention healthier hormonal balance.

It’s almost unfortunate both groups of foods are known as “carbohydrates” when they couldn’t be more different in terms of their tendencies to cause health vs. disease.

Too, it’s worth mentioning when we speak of white bread and pasta, we are speaking of gluten. It has long been known gluten creates neurological problems such as depression before digestive problems become manifest, and it’s not unusual for neurological problems to be the sole manifestation of a negative reaction to gluten. This happens in those suffering from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

Depression is often categorized solely as a mental illness, causing it to be less objectively evaluated as compared to other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. This is unfortunate because it is a real and common health disorder affecting millions, and those suffering deserve to have its true root cause identified. In individuals with negative reactions to gluten, it appears somewhere between twenty and thirty percent are affected by depression, significantly higher than the five percent attributed to the normal population.

Children don’t escape gluten’s impact on emotional health. Research evaluating twenty-nine children and adolescents with celiac disease (an autoimmune disease caused from gluten consumption) conducted assessments for depression and behavior disturbances. Compared to twenty-nine children without celiac disease, thirty-one percent of the affected children had depression compared to seven percent of the control group. Additionally, twenty-eight percent had disruptive behavior problems compared to three percent of the healthy group. The researchers noted depression was the presenting symptom for many of the children who eventually were diagnosed with celiac disease.344

There are many such studies and they are included in our upcoming “The Gluten Effect 2” book. The concept that depression, anxiety and other mental symptoms are due to a chemical imbalance of the brain, have not been born out. Fortunately the association with diet has been documented quite vigorously through research. It’s much easier to change what’s on the end of your fork as opposed to swallowing a pill with hazardous, life-threatening side effects.

Our goal here at HealthNOW is to identify and treat the true root cause of the problem – it’s something we specialize in. If you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or mood swings, consider contacting us for a FREE health analysis – call 408-733-0400. We can diagnose the true root cause underlying the symptom – there always is one. We are here to help!

To your fabulous health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”


All my physical problems are reversed!

When I first came to HealthNOW I was, frankly, a mess. I was extremely depressed and moody, was having horrible headaches, and was literally getting the flu every few weeks. I had extreme fatigue and trouble concentrating. I felt like I was going crazy. I was anxious and irritable all the time. I felt sick all the time. All this had been going on for years, getting worse each year until my life was falling apart.

The doctors approached my problems in a logical manner and persisted in handling the various areas I was having trouble with despite my own laxness at times. 

Physical Therapy, Chiropractic and nutritional supplements turned all the symptoms above around. I’m often amazed how much clearer I think. 
My memory is normal again. The moodiness is much more under control. 
I rarely have a headache. (I cause them myself when I do get them by going off my diet and vitamins.)

For me miracles have occurred and I’m very grateful to the doctors for their help. The tests they had me do to find the right supplements and diet were amazing and have changed my life to a higher quality. The diet has worked very well for me and, one learned and refined, contributed to the final change in life and health for me. 

I honestly thought I was too old to reverse the physical problems I had. My energy and vigor for life is way back up.


— S.A.

Now all of my symptoms are gone!

“I was feeling depressed and fatigued. I had continuous discomfort in both of my wrists due to using the computer too much. I had a stiff neck and was feeling older than I really was. My body was not as flexible as it used to be and my posture wasn’t as upright as it used to be. I had had all these symptoms for at least 5 years.

 Now all of these symptoms are gone.
 I am 36, but I feel as if I was 26! 

Thank you, 


I sleep without medication and I’m not depressed. I feel great!

2 years ago I suffered an allergic reaction to a Sulfa drug causing serum sickness. After a month and a half of Prednisone I developed Shingles. Since then I have had a non-stop episode of Fibromyalgia. 

I was unable to sleep without awakening multiple times a night due to hip pain. My ankle was stiff and instead of walking, I “stomped”. My hands hurt to bend them and I had swelling in my hands, legs and feet. Everything hurt. I was depressed, irritable and always exhausted. And, to top it all off, no matter what diet I tried, I only gained weight.

One Saturday I saw an ad in the paper for Dr Petersen’s lecture.
 What could I lose? All my doctors ever did was increase my dose so I would sleep deeper and not feel the pain. I did sleep better but nothing else changed.

 Since I started the program here I’ve lost 32 pounds. I have no hip, hand or generalized pain. My ankles bend and I don’t “stomp” when I walk. I can get up and out of a chair easily without hesitation or pain. I sleep without medication and I’m not depressed. I feel great!


— A.O.