Making time in your day or just finding the desire to be active may not seem that important when you’re living with cancer. But it’s worth the effort. There are many ways that being active during and after treatment helps both mind and body. Being active during treatment can:
- improve your sleep and appetite
- lower your blood pressure
- reduce stress and anxiety
- ease side effects like nausea, pain and fatigue
- boost your self-esteem and improve your quality of life
- How often are you physical active?
- What type of activity works best for you?
Exercise is SO important....for the mind, body and soul.
You will feel terrific, even if a brisk walk is all you have time for.
I try to walk every day.....do my thinking.....stop and stretch a bit too.
This week, in Toronto....we have had gorgeous, warm temps......20C......am heading out now!
Oops.....gotta find my sunscreen!
Even on the days during treatment I can just show up and do the best I can to just move my body!
Because of this program I have also become more motivated to walk outside and yesterday I walked 20 minutes in my neighbourhood!
Exercise helps with fatigue and leaves me feeling much better about my day! Just gotta stay motivated through the winter to keep going!
But I feel awful and am not sleeping well so I'm in the midst of trying to give myself a real ass-whooping to get back to it. Did well for a couple of days and then yesterday was hit with ridiculous fatigue all of a sudden again and didn't do the yoga I'd planned.
Do other early stage BC women experience fatigue that comes and goes sometimes with no rhyme or reason?
I am/was, as many here will relate to, not having a particularly good day and felt like going into “turtle mode”. Then Toby, 100lb. of happy black lab decided I needed exercise which meant chasing and “fighting” him for his toy. Being outside, moving around and laughing certainly helped me a lot.
Depression and anxiety have often made their presence felt for much of my life and I have put together my toolbox to deal with them. This morning though, just before reading this topic, my husband and I were talking about how COVID, social issues, politics, climate change, shorter daylight etc etc and in our case illness
are having an impact on everyone’s lives. Exercise has certainly in my life become more important to both my physical and emotional well-being.
Personally I cannot run marathons or the 100mile mountain race which my son does but gardening, stretching and chasing the dog a few times a day certainly keep me moving physically and emotionally.
I was told by a naturopathic oncologist to try to walk everyday to keep the cancer away. I have always been a person that loved sports, so for me it is a pleasure to be out and about. I try to walk at least 4 kms. everyday. I love seeing the changes of the season right now. They are beautiful.
I also love gardening, so you will find me in my garden whenever I have a chance. I can feel the stress just disappearing when I am out there. The flowers, colour and new life in the garden just make me smile.
Even after my mastectomy, the second day I was walking only about 1 block, but out in the fresh air. It felt so good to have the wind in my face.
I know that some of you are suffering from pain and find it hard to exercise, but I would suggest to find something that gives you a peace of mind so you stay healthy and take your mind off your problem. Be patient with yourself, it will come.
Stay safe everyone,
Hugs from beautiful BC
I was really worried about not being able to stay active after my bowel resection for colon cancer this mast April. I’m 54 and active but not a jock. I’m slightly overweight but strong and had been quite healthy before cancer. I started back a bit too quickly and had to learn to slow down on the hard stuff for a while. We live off-grid from April to September, and as such, exercise is not really optional. I have to hike to get to our cabin and we carry our groceries and supplies in that way. My husband was great helping to do not only his share, but also much of mine for the first 4 months or so. I’m back to being able to do most of what needs being done now, although I’m learning to space out bigger tasks. Moving logs with a peavy was the last to return at almost 6 months, but it’s a real strength activity. I am still struggling with muscle cramping when extending my legs or arms too long or too quickly. This was surprising and I didn’t expect it, having never encountered this symptom before. Walking has always been a joy for me and a comfortable “go to” when no big projects or jobs are looming. I’ve never been good at exercise for the sake of it, no judgement, that’s just my experience. When I feel like I’m not active enough we start another project of some sort to get moving. Tomorrow I have my two granddaughters for the day, age 3 and 6, which definitely keeps me moving. Hopefully it will stop raining enough to get outside.
with my friends, it lifts all our spirits. I say do what you can , start small and work your way up from there . Enjoy and have fun .
i have always loved to walk. I grew up tramping around the Scottish hills with my parents, and it just went on from there. Recently, a friend sent me a book called “In Praise of Walking “, by a neuroscientist who says that, among other things, walking helps to protect and repair organs, slows brain aging, helps us to solve problems, improves our mood, and lowers stress. Any one of those would be a good enough reason to go for a walk every day!
I’m dreading the winter days when I can’t walk (and I’m a wimp about cold weather, so there will be some for sure), so for backup I have a yoga CD from my former teacher, and also a “poor man’s exercise bike”, which is just a set of pedals on a little stand. I mean, why have wheels? You sit in a chair to use it, or even put it on the table and pedal with your arms. It tells you how fast, how long, etc., and has adjustable tension....I love it!
I usually go for a 2 hour walk along the Rideau Trail every day. In the summer I was kayaking one day a week. Apart from the physical benefit, the mental benefit to getting out in the woods, or on the water, is huge.
I also have neuropathy, having had it in both hands and both feet I now only have minimal neuropathy left in my left foot. I have gone to physio and continue with physio three hours a week both for the neuropathy and for body strength and muscle rebuilding. Massaging my foot (or feet) helped a lot and just using your feet even if it hurts is very good medicine. I would say I maybe have about 5% left in the one foot so nothing really. I was doing 5 hours a week of physiotherapy, but have had to cut back to three hours as was finding the five hours to much.
I still have weak legs if that makes any sense even with all the walking and exercising. I am told that is a side effect of the steroids. Has anyone else experienced that?
I encourage all of you who are struggling with getting in exercise I totally understand as it can be a absolute grind on some days, but don't give up it will get easier!
This is 100% truth ! And I slack sooo bad. I’ve heard from an oncologist my GP and research students that regular exercise can reduce cancer up to 40%!! Also an intern told me there is significant research that proves that daily exercise with woman in breast cancer it is particularly true. 40%!!! I personally need to do way better at this. I find it hard to get motivated. Extreme fatigue is a side effect I am experiencing and even the days that I do exercise, I have way more energy. So I have no excuse haha.
A good way to make yourself get out there!
There’s a Zen saying that goes: walk your dog every day, even if you don’t have one.
A good way to make yourself get out there!
there's a church i pass regularly.
they have a sign outside right now saying:
" Daily Exercise
Walk with the Lord "
I'm not religious, but that one speaks to me.
There is a meditative thing about walking that gets you closer to that frame of mind. (Unless you have an actual brat of a dog with you...)
Did you all work out during radiation? My doc doesnt want me to. I used to do weights and was quite active. Now I feel like I'm spiraling. In a matter of a few weeks, I had a lumpectomy, 4 sentinel nodes removed and a colonoscopy. I dont think my body has bounced back.
I need to get out of my funk
Exercise kept me sane through diagnosis and I was in good shape by the time I had surgery. My surgeon gave me very specific instructions based on my activity choices and I was back in that gym as soon as I could after my partial mastectomy. I tried to exercise through chemo but it got challenging as I wasn’t working and the gym was at my workplace. However, yoga and dog walking and the odd snow shoe trip helped - getting outside daily was an objective whatever the weather and however I felt. There were times when I wanted a bench to crash on halfway round town with my dog though.
After chemo was completed I got back in the gym and eased into it gently. I discovered that exercise was my medication against fatigue. I put energy into exercise and got energy for daily living back. I started running (couch to 5k) 3 weeks after finishing radiation and I credit it with helping me back to work within 3 months. Running has become part of my life now. It’s good weight bearing exercise and I can do it from my door, even through COVID. I complement it with a full body weight program done from home with resistance bands. A shoulder injury has cut the canoeing this year, but I hike too, and of course the dog walking. Yoga has been great for my mental health working from home all these months.
The benefits for me from exercise were obvious during treatment. I was fit and strong and recovered reform surgery well. I tolerated chemo well and my immune system was in excellent shape. I bounced back quickly after treatment. It also helped me come to terms with the neuropathy. I worked hard on balance stuff which was an issue (and still is but less so) and I got used to the ‘walking on pebbles’ feeling in my feet - my running style can be a bit odd when it hurts but I keep moving!
I see exercise as an investment in my future. It’s the best defence against cancer returning, it’s my medication against osteoporosis. But it also helps me manage my weight, sleep well, maintain a healthy appetite and manage my mental health. Through COVID I have used exercise to break up my time at my desk, and those Teams and Zoom meetings.
anyone looking to get started - I totally recommend the couch to 5k program for running. It took me from my fatigued getting breathless getting dressed state to being able to hike in the mountains. I hadn’t run since high school either. Yoga - check out Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. Walking, anyone can do at their own pace and it’s great to get out with a friend or family member to do this. Dogs help too - they demand walks, daily! For working out with weights, it’s best to do a few classes to learn how to handle things without hurting yourself and there are programs for cancer patients to take advantage of, some of which have gone on line. It’s hard to buy your own weights for home with COVID but bottles of water, or sand, and resistance bands make great alternatives.
Thanks for starting the discussion - as you can tell, I’m an enthusiast!
I also like to stretch and try to do some arm stretches throughout the day. It seems to help my stiff shoulder. I would love to try some weights and try to build some strength in my arms and shoulders. I also try to do beginner level yoga stretching at night before bed.
Thanks for the tips and suggestions!
pre-cancer I was kind of a slump-a-dump------I HATED exercise and really the only activity I participated in was walking and breathing.....
I was lucky enough to be accepted into the ACE, (Alberta Cancer Exercise), programme at the end of my treatments this fall--it is all on-line and offers exercise classes 2X per week. (found out about the program here in the discussions --- THANKS AGAIN Cancer Connection)
I also found some Covid lock-down seniors zoom stretch/yoga sessions following my surgeries that I credit with restoring my complete range of motion so quickly.
I now follow a local yoga practice online, and not only participate in the yoga classes, but enjoy the mindfulness sessions as well. (happy to share - DM me if you'd like the link)
And I am starting to gingerly walk more & more each day - (broken foot was the icing on my COVID Cancer cake this August)
I still feel EXHAUSTED by the end of every day -- have started back to work full time healthcare, so I am counting my 7.5 hours daily as stamina building exercise also ;)
I guess you could say, breast cancer has given me a more active lifestyle! huh-who knew that I could ever be a jock--certainly not me! I'm still waiting for the 'hard body' and the fatigue relief, but for now I feel great after each and every session knowing that it is making me stronger than before!
Wonderful that you have terrific support at home.....everything helps along this journey.....
Off to the park.....with sunscreen....
Growing up I was not athletic as the rest of my family was - read - very, very uncoordinated. The focus of "gym" at school was always team sports or gymnastics - so i tried to avoid this as much as possible. It was until later that i realized the physical exercise can be fun - it can be anything you enjoy. When i hurt my back - i did chair yoga, during cancer treatments exercise may have been as simple as just walking outside and enjoying the fresh air. Later, running became part of my healthy routine for my mental health.
I really think our medical system needs to prescribe "exercise" in addition to medications. Even if your exercise is just moving more - shuffle your feel, move your arms or run, paddle, swim, dance, hike - there is something for everyone.
Now with gyms closed in many areas, we get to be creative on how we get our exercise. Thankfully there are now some online classes - even free - or video classes on YouTube that you can do in the comfort of your own home, if the weather outside is frightful!
Got to go walk the dog! Kim
I am so often lazy that I don't walk daily---- I used to during my first months of recovery over the past 2 years, but I find I need more motivation these days...Maybe it's the COVID wackiness? Any suggestions are appreciated.
1. Schedule it into your day in the same way you would a medical appointment. It is medicine. We all need this medicine and so just like you wouldn't miss your medical appointments you won't miss this either.
2 Book it with a friend. If that isn't a option ask someone to keep you "honest". Have them text you when you have indicated you are heading out. Better yet have a visit with them while you walk. Technology and head sets make this possible.
3. Oops thought of one more idea. Find your favorite pod cast or music and only allow yourself to listen to it when outside walking. You will be excited to go, ha ha so you can enjoy this treat.