I’m going to take a break from my witty repertoire and What I Ate Wednesday to talk about something a little more serious.
Melanie reached out to me because she wanted to do a feature on my blog. Since I’m self-diagnosed OCD with a touch of a controlling nature, I’m pretty particular about what I will and will not publish.
Obviously, mad monkey love and an unhealthy obsession with nuts is perfectly fine in my book, but McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and the like can kiss my ass. Some might consider my less than peaceful response a little hostile, but mad monkey love hurts no one (unless you’re doing it very wrong), whereas I happen to believe the Industry’s faux food-like substances are directly responsible for some pretty serious illnesses in America, obesity being one of them. Did you know obesity, with an emphasis on inflammation, has been linked to an increased risk of many cancers? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/weight-loss-cancer_n_1468213.html
What does all this have to do with Melanie? Well I’m glad you asked.
Melanie’s here today, with my full support, to talk about Cancer; a subject far too many of us have dealt with in our lifetimes.
Let’s face it, we all know someone who was directly or indirectly impacted by cancer. For Melanie, it was her grandmother. For me, I’ve watched friends lose spouses, parents, and loved ones far too early. It’s hard and heart breaking, and I’d do anything I could to lessen their pain, whether it’s walking in a Relay for Life, donating to the cause, or just being a source of support and comfort.
Melanie wants to help too and for that reason alone, I’m happy to give her a voice. She’s here today to talk about exercise and how it can help those already diagnosed with cancer.
Without further ado, a word from our sponsor. (i.e. Melanie):
Slow and Steady Exercise for Cancer Survivors
As a cancer survivor, your challenges range from fatigue and treatment side effects to recovery solutions. If you are like most survivors, your biggest concern is keeping the cancer away. According to the latest research, exercise can help.
Surviving cancer and the aggressive therapies that treat it are major accomplishments. However, you may wonder what you can do to build your strength and stay healthy. Exercise can maximize your health during recovery and for the long term.
Combined with healthy eating, exercise can decrease the risk of cancer recurrence. It may also increase your survival rate. It changes the composition of your body as well as the chemicals that your body produces, which can make it easier to fight infection and secondary illnesses.
Exercise benefits cancer patients in the same way that it helps other adults. Better fitness, leaner bodies and stronger muscles are some of the benefits. Exercise also provides a boost to your mood and self-confidence.
Slow and steady are the best ways to start exercising. Walking, yoga and weight training are three exercises to consider for your cancer fitness program. Ask your doctor for other recommendations, and make sure you stay at the right level for your stage of recovery.
Those who are recently diagnosed or beginning treatment should begin at a light exercise level. Walking is a great example of an exercise at this level of activity. It is a relatively easy activity which can be done virtually anywhere and requires no equipment. Because the activity level is light and isn’t taxing on the body, it serves as an ideal exercise for those undergoing treatment for mesothelioma or other lung related cancers. Walking offers physical, emotional and social benefits which can help you through recovery. Best of all, you can walk as little or as much as your body can handle.
Whether it involves a few steps to the mailbox, a stroll in the neighborhood or a speed walk at the track, this relatively light activity is a great way to build your stamina. It is a good exercise option when other activities are too demanding.
Have you tried yoga? This alternative medicine practice is a good way to improve your strength and flexibility after cancer treatment. Yoga is a whole-body exercise that focuses on the mind, body and spirit. In addition, some other health benefits of yoga include, improved mood, circulation and sleep, as well as increased flexibility and balance.
The MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and other treatment centers offer yoga classes along with standard medical treatments. They recognize the benefits of yoga for stress reduction and overall health. This form of exercise plays an important role in quality of life issues.
Consider weight training if you want advanced exercise. This level of activity is only recommended for those who are in the later stages of recovery and wish to fully gain back their strength. Often, muscle mass is lost during traditional chemo and radiation therapies. Weight lifting may not seem as advanced as other activities, but nothing can match it for building muscle strength.
Weight training helps you build muscle and lose fat. Your cardiovascular system benefits too. Weight workouts help you feel energized and alert. Ask your doctor or physical therapist to devise a workout, and remember to supplement resistance training with aerobic activity.
Although exercise alone is not a cure for cancer, it should be thought of as another important component of the treatment and recovery plan. Your ideal plan will depend on your cancer, treatment, general health and more. Ask your doctor for recommendations, and do not take on more than you can handle. Remember that battling cancer and recovering is a process, so start slow and build gradually for long-term success.
For anyone curious (translation: all of us), Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative, nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie or get in touch with her, you can visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you’ll find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.
Thank you Melanie.
Only one question today: How has cancer impacted your life?