As you look into fitting exercise into your lifestyle, here are some tips that may help you along the way:
- Discuss exercise with your health care team. They can advise you on types of exercise that are safe and would work best for you.
- Start out slowly and work your way up to a maintainable level. If you have been ill or have not been exercising on a regular basis, go for a short five minute walk and add more time each day as you gain more endurance.
- Exercise moderately and don’t forget to take time to rest. Don’t push yourself to an uncomfortable level.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
- Ask for support from others. It may be helpful to have an exercise buddy to keep you motivated. Ask friends, family, and co-workers to exercise with you.
- Focus on making cardiovascular activity and exercise routines fun and don’t be afraid to mix up your routine. Try yoga, dancing or tai chi.
- When you have fatigue and are too tired to exercise, try stretching exercise for 10 minutes instead.
- Regularity is the key. Short periods of physical activity on most days of the week are far more beneficial than the occasional work-out session.
- Add exercise into your daily routine. Some examples include walking around the neighborhood after dinner, using the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
- Use charts to record and track your exercise progress. Click here [link to myfitnesspal.com] for a free online tracker.
- Recognize and reward your achievements.
Cancer treatment can be harsh on your body, so there may be some precautions you may need to take. This does not eliminate or prevent you from exercising; there are just merely things to observe for safety reasons. It’s always a good idea to discuss with your healthcare team to clear any questions or worries you may have about being physically active.
- If you still have a catheter, you must avoid pools, lakes, and other exposures that can cause infections. Speak to your medical team about precautions to protect your catheter site prior to engaging in any activity.
- If you have had radiation, don’t expose the treated area to chlorine in swimming pools as it may cause irritation.
- If you have anemia (low red blood cell count), delay exercise until your anemia has improved.
- If you have a low platelet count, avoid contact sports and heavy weightlifting. Consult with a doctor before participating in any.
- If your immune system is comprised, you should avoid exercising in public gyms and pools. Speak to your medical team about when it is safe for you to use public exercise areas again.
- If you have peripheral neuropathies or ataxia (nerve damage that may cause reduced ability in the limbs), you may do better with doing stationary exercises such as using a stationary reclining bicycle instead of walking on a treadmill.
- Watch for bleeding, especially if you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin, Lovenox, Aspinirn, NSAIDS, etc.). If bleeding occurs, apply pressure to the site, and ensure that your physician is aware.
- While weight lifting can be beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis and muscle loss, speak with your health care team prior it engaging in any weight lifting.
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