If you have been diagnosed with cancer or know someone who has, exercise is most likely not the first thing that is on the mind. But exercise is very important for so many reasons with a cancer diagnosis, going through treatment, or in remission and beyond. Always remember, your physician should be consulted first before starting any exercise plan. Also, what type of cancer diagnosis, what stage it is in, and the treatments and medications that are being administered all affect what type of exercise that should be done.
Being active can help manage some of the common side effects of treatments, speed up recovery time, and improve quality of life. For some cancers, exercise may even improve how the body responds to treatments. Exercise can also aid in stopping cancer recurrence as well. In some countries, exercise is part of cancer treatment prescribed by a physician to help with the effects and treatment.
The mental effects that exercise provides are as amazing as the physical. Even on the hard days, feeling accomplished after doing any type of workout is a great feeling. Getting mental stimulation from following a workout program is another important benefit. And get the mind on other things and not just cancer.
Different types of cancer will dictate what physical activities are best to do. The body will be affected differently, and will respond differently. And some activities are not as safe as others. Again, talking to your physician is the best option to know what is best and safest at the many stages and many types of cancer.
A workout program chosen should challenge the body without straining it. When the program is no longer a challenge, it can be made more demanding, but do this by making small adjustments over time.
Always remember to take it day by day, minute by minute…how you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically. You will go through ups and downs. Allow yourself to have the many emotions being felt. They are valid, just like you! And keep moving every day, in any way. Strength, cardiovascular, flexibility, stretching, and balance work should all be done. A little something each and every day, for the body, soul, and mind. You can do it! You can help others going through these feelings!
Stay happy, healthy, and positive always! -Meredith
PS: Please also check out our podcast that expands on this topic: “Podcast 48 – Staying Active After A Cancer Diagnosis”