According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Aside from symptoms and side-effects of treatment, one of the biggest challenges for cancer patients and survivors is maintaining healthy levels of physical activity. Regular exercise allows the body to release endorphins, a group of hormones produced in the central nervous system that affect your physiological functions and can boost your mood.
The following activities can help shape your active routine and enhance your physical and emotional health:
Numerous studies evaluating yoga’s benefits for cancer patients have found that practitioners enjoy higher quality of sleep, reduced anxiety and depression and improved spiritual well-being. By helping patients better manage their emotional stress, which can exacerbate physical discomfort, yoga can likewise help patients better manage their physical pain.
While walking, jogging and running are often attributed to helping maintain a healthy weight, which has been shown to help prevent certain types of cancers (e.g. colon, breast and uterus), many cancer patients and survivors find refuge in these disciplines’ flexibility. Like yoga, walking, jogging and running are activities that can be enjoyed individually or with a group, in a city or rural setting, indoors or outdoors.
Support the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure ® at Coney Island on Sunday, October 1. Click here to learn more or register.
Daily activity and chores
Don’t underestimate the amount of physical activity and exercise that comes with daily activities and chores in your everyday life. The American Cancer Society recommends getting back to normal activity levels as soon as possible following treatment, suggesting at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Take advantage of activities (such as washing and waxing your car, mowing the grass, walking your dog, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, plus many others) to help get you back on track.
No matter what types of physical activity you choose to make part of your routine, listening to your body is one of the best ways to regulate your fitness levels and progress. Focus on having fun, setting short-term and long-term goals, and mix it up to keep it fresh.
If you have any questions or concerns about the level of physical activity you should undertake during or after cancer treatment, consult your doctor or talk to the Cancer Care Team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.