The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for physical activity:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
    • Avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible following diagnosis.
    • Aim to exercise at least 150 minutes per week.
    • Include strength training exercises at least 2 days per week.

Step 1: Understanding Benefits and Risks

  • Controlled Weight
  • Improved Mood and Self Esteem
  • Increased Energy
  • Better Sleep
  • Can be Social
  • Stress Relief
  • Improved post treatment effects on bone health
  • Reduced risk of cancer recurrence and overall survival
  • Reduced risk of blood clots, nausea and fatigue
  • Improved strength will lessen dependence on others to perform daily tasks

Things to Consider:

  • When starting, always begin slowly.  Several 10 minute sessions throughout the day will still yield exciting results.
  • Allow yourself enough time in your routine for a 5 minute warm up and cool down (slow walking pace and/or stretches).
  • Listen to your body and rest when you need to.
  • Remember to eat a balanced diet and get plenty of rest in between workout sessions to allow your body time to recover.

When to Avoid Exercise

  • Do not perform exercises if you are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.  In addition to dehydration, your mineral levels will be affected.
  • Avoid activities that raise your risk of falling to avoid chances of breaking a bone.
  • Do not exercise if you are experiencing any unrelieved pain or numbness.
  • If undergoing radiation, avoid swimming pools.

Step 2: Talk With Your Doctor

  1. Ask if you have any risk factors or are on any medications that could interfere with exercise.
  2. Ask if it’s okay to drink extra fluids during exercise.
  3. Ask if they have recommendations on types of exercises that are safer for you (strength, cardiovascular, mind/body)
  4. Ask if it’s safe for you to exert yourself above a moderate level
  5. Ask what warning signs you should look for during and after activities

Step 3: Finding Your Baseline

  • Strength Testing: This test will help to determine your overall strength that will be used as a guideline for programs moving forward.  The most common is the push-up test.
    • Step 1: Assume the standard push-up position if you're a man: Face-down with your weight supported on straight arms and toes. Your hands should be palms-down beneath your shoulders, your body straight like a board. Women can use the modified push-up position, resting on bent knees instead of toes, body straight from knees to head.
    • Step 2: Bend your arms, lowering your chest until it's about 2 inches from the floor.
    • Step 3: Press back up to the starting position. Repeat, doing as many push-ups as possible in a consistent, controlled rhythm. Once you stop to rest, break rhythm or break proper form, the test is over.

Only complete as many pushups as you can.  Record your number and plan on retesting in thirty days to gauge any improvements.  Simply adding 1 pushup during this time frame is success!

  • Flexibility: Your flexibility will be a marker in the type of exercise you perform and will aid you in tracking your stretching routine.  To test yourself, place a box against a wall and place a pencil on top.  Sit behind the box with your feet flat on the front of the box.  With your legs remaining flat on the floor, bend forward at the waist and push the pencil.  Measure the distance you pushed it and repeat process three times to find your best result.
  • Cardio Endurance: Cardio endurance will give you a baseline of how you feel while moving.  To complete this test, find a spot and measure half a mile (a car’s odometer will work).  Using a stop watch begin walking as fast as you can on your marked route.  Record your time and use this information to gauge how strenuous you are able to walk.
    • Low Intensity: Able to hold full conversations while moving
    • Moderate Intensity: Able to have intermittent conversation
    • High Intensity: Unable to speak more than one or two words at a time

Step 4: Types of Exercise

  • Yoga: a system or set of breathing exercises and postures derived from or based on Hindu yoga.
  • Tai Chi: a Chinese form of physical exercise characterized by a series of very slow and deliberate balletic body movements.
  • Stretch/Flexibility: the ability of your joints to move through a full range of motion.
  • Body Weight Resistance Exercises: performing a series of weight bearing exercises using one’s own resistance.

Step 5: Stay Consistent

  1. Continue to track your progress
    • Wear a pedometer
    • Repeat Fitness Tests every 30 days
  2. Schedule a daily appointment with yourself
  3. Allow enough recovery time between activities so you feel rested
  4. Continue to challenge yourself to beat boredom
  5. Invite family and friends to join you
  6. Set achievable goals

Step 6: Be K.I.N.D. to Yourself

Know your limitations

Introduce daily activities slowly

Never ignore what your body is telling you

Discuss your progress with your Doctor

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