Connect With Others Touched By Cancer
Get to know Jaime, Liz and Sheryl as they blog about their personal experiences with cancer -- as patients, survivors, caregivers and friends.
(page 8 of 65)
August 2, 2010
I've always enjoyed exercising. I exercised before my cancer diagnosis, finding pleasure in jogging, dance classes and biking. I exercised as soon as I was able, following my mastectomy in order to regain my range of motion. And I continued to exercise during my chemo treatments to feel as "normal" as I possibly could and get myself back into a routine away from doctors and thoughts of illness.
What many experts didn't know so much back then was that exercise packs a ton of health benefits, both physically and mentally. You may enter the gym feeling depressed, tired and uninspired, but I can guarantee that when you leave, you are so glad you visited; feeling much better than when you first walked in. And recent research shows that even if you start exercising later in life, you can still reap the same health benefits of the people who have made exercise a part of their lives from early on.
Exercise can also help protect against some cancers. In the case of breast and prostate cancers, it is thought to be beneficial at regulating hormone levels. As for colon cancer, exercise can speed up the digestive process, shortening the time your bowel is exposed to toxic substances. And since being overweight is a big risk factor for many cancers, exercise can help by keeping your weight within manageable limits.
This is all well and good if I actually liked to exercise, you might be thinking. Maybe you're the type of person who would rather do anything but. Go for a walk with some friends. Garden. Park your car far from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Go out dancing. Do housework. Try yoga or tai chi. Although these might not be the obvious ways you think of exercise, they all accomplish the same thing -- they get you moving.
I recently rediscovered my love of dance when I signed up for Zumba classes. And then after about five classes, I did something I rarely do -- I quit going. The classes were fun, but just not as much fun as I had hoped, since they were overcrowded and I couldn't move freely (come to think of it, no one else could, either). I was really missing those classes, too, until one day while on the treadmill at the gym, an infomercial appeared on the TV screen in front of me. There was my answer -- DVDs to do at home. I called to order them as soon as I got off the treadmill.
Which leads me to another thought: do what you love, and you'll keep on doing it. And to avoid monotony, boredom and a risk of throwing in the towel altogether, mix it up. Variety has a wonderful way of making everything old feel new again.
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