For many people, one of the hardest things to do after treatment for breast cancer is to start or resume exercising. It seems that those who have had exercise as a regular part of their lives in the past are those that are most likely to begin again as soon as they receive clearance from their medical professionals. But such is not the case for the majority of people for so many reasons as I have found in my own experiences.
The feeling of accomplishment will automatically make you feel better about yourself and you will also physically feel the improvement. Barbara Jacoby
No matter what your course of treatment may be, just about anyone with breast cancer will have a surgery. And for most, along with surgery comes pain. You find yourself trying to do everything possible to limit your movements and this is something that might continue for a long time, if not forever. As a result, you quickly adopt this as a way of life. After all, no one wants to do anything that is causing them physical pain if you can do something to stop it. And before long, you convince yourself that it is okay to continue living this way and find that you are sitting more and limiting your movement, particularly in your arms and upper body, as much as possible.
You might find that you may continue to have pain in your chest area that is intermittent or managed with medication and while pain interferes with just about anything else going on in your life, you will find that it is really necessary to get up and move. And while this is something that is easier when the weather is nice and you get out and walk around the neighborhood or go to a park in your area, enjoying the scenery helps to take your mind off of everything else. And while it may be difficult if you have not been doing anything for a long time and you find that your duration is extremely limited, don’t give up. If 5 minutes is all that you can do today, that is fine.
Setting some simple goals for yourself might help. Promise yourself that you will walk for 5 minutes at a time but then you might want to increase the number of times per day that you do this. As it becomes easier, you can then increase the number of minutes each time you walk and set that as your goal for each time that you do this during the day. In no time, you will not only have created a new habit that will become a part of your regular daily routine but you will find that you will start feeling better both physically and mentally. Then as your stamina grows, your time and speed will most likely grow as well.
The most important thing to do is to have a measurement for what you are doing and set your goals accordingly. You might want to focus on your length of activity or perhaps to count your steps and challenge yourself in that way. To make your walking time more enjoyable, you might want to put together a play list of your favorite music and listen while you walk. This really helps the time pass much faster and it will usually lift your spirits at the same time. And if your content consists of upbeat music, you might just find that the tempo of your walking will also pick up.
I understand that the weather may keep you indoors and if you can’t get to a gym or don’t have access to a treadmill, you might want to do what I do. I have a path through my apartment that goes from the living room and down the hall to the bedroom where I circle around and come back and I do this walking with my music to make the time go faster. Another thing that I sometimes do is turn on the TV in the living room and the bedroom to the same station and listen to a favorite show. If something comes on that I want to stop and see, then I continue to walk in place while I watch that part of the show.
Most importantly, you will want to create your own scenario as long as you keep the focus on moving. You will still have days when you don’t feel like getting up and moving but just do it anyway, if at all possible, with the focus on a practical goal for that day. The feeling of accomplishment will automatically make you feel better about yourself and you will also physically feel the improvement. And this is something that you can continue to do for a lifetime as you will never be limited by age and/or an appreciation of the world around you.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.