A woman does yoga toward a warm sun with soft circles and wavy lines in the background

Start Small: Adding Movement Back in To Your Routine

For those of us who had an active lifestyle prior to being diagnosed with cancer, determining how we maintain some movement after diagnosis/surgery/during treatment, and/or how do we start again on the other side. What I learned was that both need to be tackled separately, so let’s start for those of you in treatment.

Start slow and gradual

If you’re like me, multiple surgeries and then chemo left you pretty battered and beaten down. You have no idea where to even start because you’re so tired. I get it, I was you...but I had someone who had been through this before me and was able to give me a bit of advice.

Start slowly...maybe it was making it from the bedroom to the kitchen one day, out to the mailbox the next few days. Whatever you could muster up the energy to do, do it, you need some kind of movement.

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What I found that was by the last 5-7 days before my next dose of chemotherapy, I was able to slowly walk through my neighborhood. Whatever you feel you are capable of doing, do it. For some this may be taking on light weights or spinning – your level of activity is based on what you’ve been through and what your treatment plan is and how your body reacts to it. Do not compare yourself to another person going through treatment and get defeated – this is a you versus you game plan when it comes to activity/fitness level. Walking, yoga, stretching, lightweights are all excellent options, maybe even a leisurely bike ride from time to time.

Don't give up, but be kind to youself

For those of you looking for a little bit of help post-treatment, remember your body is completely different than it was before. Read that again. The manner in which you may have once worked out is going to be different. Cardio is going to be hardio. I was left gasping for air and wondering if it was ever going to get easier. Four years out and there are times I still wonder this based on the activity I am doing. It’s frustrating, you may feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. Don’t do it. Your body needs activity more than you know. It’s good not only for your physical health but your mental health as well. For me, I took up cycling and spinning because running was super painful on my joints. Yoga helped me regain strength and flexibility and a sound mind.

Take it one day at a time

Regardless of where you are in your cancer diagnosis, start small. Take it day by day and as you feel you can, add more things...slowly. You are different, your body feels things in ways it didn’t before...it hurts frequently. You will learn to adapt and adjust to what you can do and you will thrive with those things.

One day at a time, one step at a time, one activity at a time. You’ve been through a lot, but movement and physical activity are just as important as the rest your body needs.

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