How to Create Your Own Cancer-Fighting Exercise Plan
At OHC, our top priority is to help you beat cancer, and maintaining your strength is vital to your recovery. At OHC, it isn’t enough to simply say, ‘You should exercise.’ We help our patients identify what they can do considering their current status and treatment. If they’re at home, we ask about available indoor space or the distance from the front door to the mailbox. If they want to go to a class, we help them determine the type of class and level of intensity that’s best for them. We are their partners through the entire journey, and that means more than just administering chemotherapy. It’s taking time to fully understand their situation and providing them with everything they need to fight cancer.
So, we suggest you try creating your own exercise plan. Here are some tips to help you get started and help you stick with it:
- Always check with your doctor first, especially before or during cancer treatment. If you are a survivor or have never had cancer, you should still check with your doctor to make sure what you have planned won’t affect any conditions you have or be at risk for.
- Identify the type of activities you like to do.
If you like to dance, consider a group class like Zumba. If you enjoy stamp collecting, consider reading about it while walking on a treadmill. If you have bad knees, you probably shouldn’t take up running. The important key to success is to do something you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with it because it won’t seem like a chore.
- Decide when you’re going to exercise.
If you aren’t a morning person, then don’t plan to exercise in the morning. Consider everything you do on a daily basis and determine what time of day works best. And you can mix it up if you want. For example, during the week, you might walk on a treadmill in the evening after work. On the weekends, you could walk late morning since you don’t have to go to work.
- Start slowly if you need to.
Guidelines say we should do aerobic exercises four to five times per week for at least 30 minutes. If you’re just starting out, try 10 minutes, and then increase as it becomes easier. Or maybe you walk up one flight of stairs and take the elevator for the other seven. Slowly increase your way to walking up all eight flights!
- Incorporate resistance training into your routine
Regular resistance training should be part of your exercise plan. As we age, we lose muscle mass and gain fat, which can slow down our metabolism. This can produce inflammation associated with chronic diseases, including cancer. You can lift weights, use stretch bands, or do exercises like squats and lunges that use your body’s weight for resistance.
- Change your plan so you don’t plateau.
It’s easy to do and stick with an activity we like, but that can make us plateau and stop burning the calories we need to stay healthy. By mixing up our exercises, we confuse our muscles and burn more calories and maximize our efforts.