How to Exercise After Cancer

Once you’ve finished cancer treatment, your first priority should be to let your body recover from everything it has gone through. Because it has been through a whole lot!

When you’re starting to feel as though you might want to start working out again, speak to your doctor to get their advice on what type of exercise would be best for you. For example, I’ve been told I can’t run (which didn’t make much difference to me as I’ve never been a runner anyway) so I tend to walk a lot, both for my physical and mental health.

Your doctor will be able to suggest the best type of workout for you. They’ll also be able to refer you to a physio or a specialist personal trainer who will be able to help you get back into working out.

Here are some tips that helped me to get back into fitness again after treatment:

Don’t overwork yourself

This is a biggie. You might be eager to get back to the gym or missing your local spin class with your mates. But the most important thing is that you remember how much your body has been through and that it needs to be nurtured to full health again.

If you push yourself, you might end up doing more damage than good. Take baby steps and let yourself rest. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a workout if you need a nap instead. These things take time and you will get there, but not if you have unrealistic expectations. Set goals you know you can meet.

Add comfort to your routine

You might not be able to work out in the same way you used to and that’s something you’ll need to come to terms with. It might be harder to do certain activities and you might be told that you can’t do some of them at all.

For some of the routines I do, I use a pillow underneath my leg so that I’m more comfortable. These are routines I do at home so I have these things easily to hand. But if you’re in the gym, let the staff know about your requirements and see if there’s anything they can help you with.

Eat a healthy diet

Okay, it’s strictly not a way to exercise after cancer but eating a healthy diet can help you so much.

Eating the right balance of good foods can give you the energy you need to exercise properly and keep you on track.

I love food & I will eat practically anything but I know that I feel horrible after I have a weekend of junk food. On the other hand, eating tasty, nutritious food gives me the energy to do the things I want to do. Plus my skin is nicer, my belly is less bloated and I just feel so much better in myself.

Adapt the moves to suit you

You might need to take two steps back to take ten steps forward. Do it.

Don’t be afraid of taking it back to beginner mode and building yourself back up to where you left off. Adapt the moves to suit you and don’t be afraid of standing out for doing so. If you’re in a fitness class, speak to your instructor before it starts to let them know you might be doing things at your own pace.

At the end of the day, it’ll only be you who benefits.

Know your limits

Get to know your body and how much it can take. It took me a while to get used to it but after a few months, I reached a point where I knew exactly what each little ache and pain meant.

Spend time stretching or doing yoga and getting to know how each muscle and joint feels when you move it. Knowing your limits will stop you going too far and risking injury to yourself.

Let me know how you get on,

Allie x

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