Exercise is a powerful tool that can help you take control of your physical and mental health. An exercise program tailored to your level of energy and ability can help you:
- Keep or improve your physical abilities
- Improve balance and lower risk of falls or broken bones
- Improve blood flow and lower risk of blood clots
- Improve self-esteem
- Improve sexual functioning
- Lower risk of anxiety and depression
- Reduce impact from side effects such as nausea and fatigue
- Lower risk of heart disease and osteoporosis
- Aid with sleep
- Help prevent or improve cognitive symptoms
- Help maintain a healthy weight
Regular exercise can improve your health and quality of life but it is important to develop an exercise program that is right for you. Your energy and fitness may be very different after treatment. Learn how to ACE your workout, and talk with a member of your health care team or physical therapist if you have questions or need additional advice on how to get started.
When you ACE your workout, you feel better after exercise than you did before. That’s part of the magic of exercise. Exercise can improve the way you feel, even when you are a little sick, tired or sad. Be sure to customize your exercise to match how your body is doing on a given day.
After completing your workout, use this test to decide whether you aced your workout. When you ACE your workout, you will feel:
If you feel mentally tired, emotionally upset or physically exhausted, you probably overdid it. If you feel bored or uninspired, you probably didn’t do enough. Make changes for next time, and keep moving!
Once you establish an exercise routine that fits your body and your schedule, start thinking about how to keep exercise in your life. Three simple steps have helped many people stick with healthy lifestyle changes, whether it is losing weight, exercising regularly or quitting smoking.
Set Realistic Goals
Doing too much can be frustrating and use up more energy than it creates. Doing too little can make exercise boring and not give you much energy either. Customize your workout to make sure that you get the most benefit from exercise.
Making time for exercise can be hard. Come up with some simple rewards you can give yourself to make it more fun. A reward can be anything that feels like a treat to you - a call to a friend, a book, an extra five minutes in bed in the morning or something special like tickets to a show or sporting event. You can reward yourself for one workout, three workouts or a week or month of regular exercise. Keep track in a exercise log if it is helpful. Do what works for you. Vary the rewards so you stay interested and motivated to meet your goals.
Note: Some experts tell people who are trying to lose weight not to use food as a reward. If you must use food rewards, choose a small treat. A reward should never be a food that a doctor has told you to avoid for health reasons.
Establish A Support System
Find a friend or exercise buddy to help you keep moving. Tell your family and friends what you are doing so they can support you. Identify some rewards that your family, friends or buddy can share with you.
Everyone’s Human: What To Do If You Fall Off the Exercise Wagon
Even Olympic athletes take a break, by necessity or choice. You may have to let some ailments run their course, or keep your feet up while an injury heals. Maybe you were traveling, or life became overwhelming for a while.
If you had been exercising and stopped, for any reason: skip the guilt. Instead, remember why you started exercising, remember the gains you made and recommit yourself to an exercise plan.
Go back to the basics. Set goals suitable to where you are now and work back to where you were. Each day that you exercise is a day that you do something good for yourself. It is helpful to understand what got you off track—then look forward, not back, and take one day at a time. Remember to reward yourself and record your results in an exercise log. Stick with it, and you will be ACE-ing your workouts again in no time!