EXERCISE: CANCER NO EXCUSE!

I made a choice to get back to my workout routine.

I have let that slide a bit lately. Although cancer makes an excellent excuse:

“Oh, I don’t feeeel like it!”

“I can’t, I’m writing my blog”

“I’ve got to take my pills/drink more water/go to the bathroom again”

There is a dearth of time in the day and exercise gets de-prioritized easily. There is so much I want to do, like research online, catch up on emails, reading from the many cancer survival books gifted to me. Each activity takes quality concentration. Of course, all of the regular activities (pre-cancer diagnosis) are still there, like cooking, cleaning, laundry and paperwork.

Now, there is a 4-hour chunk of daylight taken up by the driving trips to the hospital for treatment, doctor meetings and errands. When I get home, it’s unloading the car, cleaning,  popping more supplements, fixing a snack, emailing, and then a well-earned nap! Then it’s time to fix dinner. So, when is there time for it all, let alone for exercise?

Sound familiar to you? Well, it should because everybody is busy! For most of us fitting daily activities together is  often like fitting pieces into a puzzle. When a new activity joins the day, we have to integrate it with the others in a balanced way, so that we will keep doing it!

Here are my 2 reasons why exercise must be prioritized:

1)    The stronger I go in to surgery, the quicker I will come out. That is, if I am able to maintain a level of fitness, then my nutrients and calories will process optimally, muscles will rebuild efficiently, and I will spend less time in that horrible post-op recovery agony.

2)   Exercise is for mental health. Time dedicated to exercise results in accomplishment, meditation, and the satisfaction of a strong, flexible body. I have come to rely on this time by myself, and miss it when I don’t get it.

Here’s an unofficial 3rd) People will tell you you’re amazing. Who expects someone with an illness to work out? Nobody, so as a patient, if you can do it, then why would you want to miss out on that “wow”?

Most people need to have a set routine, such as exercising before breakfast, or after work, or else the workout gets passed over for TV, snacking or some other cherished activity. We are all busy, and working out just doesn’t sound as good as the other things. I’m fortunate, because I’ve always valued fitness, and will fit it in, even if I missed my usual work out time, even if it is just stretching and sit-ups on the deck while I’m cooking dinner.

These days, I tire more quickly, and burn calories faster due to the radiation/chemo therapy, and still fitness is a must. It’s my mental health time!

The floor routine…

…is boringly regular (some might say), and consists of a full head-to-toe routine. It simply maintains, rather than builds strength and flexibility, as a training program would do. I do it in silence, because my mind can go wherever it needs to then. No music, no clutter. Well, I’m an introvert, and clear air does me best!

Ahhh, that’s it. So now, I begin with neck rolls, slow and gentle, but to feel a stretch in the shoulders.

Shoulder rolls, arm stretches, torso stretches, back twists, back rolls.

Leg stretches – calves, hams, quads.

Yoga stretching for hips, deeper muscle stretches and holding poses.

Down dog, and back arch (I’m sure there’s a yoga term for it).

Push-ups, sit ups, glute presses, leg lifts.

Leg stretches on the floor.

Weights & bands – arm curls, shoulders, back.

TADA! Accomplishment!

In the evenings, Matt & I will hike the neighborhood hills together and talk about our day before we start cooking for dinner.

At the end of the day, I feel the bliss of having accomplished something just for myself.

Matt_Michelle_Hiking

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