This is a guest post from Jillian McKee. Jillian is a fitness and health enthusiast as well as a cancer activist. She works as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Her time is spent mostly on outreach efforts and spreading information on complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer treatment. You can contact her at [email protected] and check out the Cancer Alliance at
@canceralliance on Twitter and Facebook.com/mesotheliomacancer.
The word “fitness” and “cancer” may not seem like they belong in the same sentence, but they do. After being diagnosed with a cancer (like mesothelioma) it will be important to do as much as you can to remain fit. The Science Daily published an article about fitness for cancer care that included revised guidelines for exercise in 2010. This is good news for those who had a fitness routine before being diagnosed with cancer. For those who didn’t, it can help design an appropriate approach to fitness.
FITNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH AFTER A CANCER DIAGNOSIS
How you felt about your body before you were diagnosed with cancer and the way you feel about it following diagnosis, will be very different. When you receive a cancer or mesothelioma prognosis, it can be very intimidating. Focusing on what you’re able to do and continuing to do it will help you have a more positive outlook. The hormones that are released during exercise contribute to a feeling of well-being, which will help you remain strong as you fight cancer.
FITNESS ROUTINES AFTER A CANCER DIAGNOSIS
Fitness routines will need to be planned around treatments. The most activity should be done the days before a treatment, when your body is on an upswing from the previous treatment. After a treatment session, the fitness routine will need to be mild. For help on exercise ideas, look at recommendations for people with physical disabilities and for the elderly. These exercises will be easy enough to sustain throughout your care.
ATTAINABLE GOALS FOR FITNESS AFTER TREATMENT
After treatment ends; it will take some time to build yourself back up – especially if you are returning to a demanding sport. It can be done, though, so make the steps slow and attainable to maintain motivation. Eating well and a following consistent routine will help you to reach your potential as a survivor. Some people will return to their former selves, while others will need to adjust to permanent changes to their health or to their body.
It is important to stay fit during cancer care, but it is not necessary to wear yourself out. Treatment takes a lot of energy both physically and mentally, and this needs to be considered when setting up a fitness routine. A good balance of exercise and rest is important.