A cancer diagnosis can be life changing and have a major impact on your well-being, but many individuals continue to live a healthy and active life during their treatment plan. While one should always talk with his or her doctor before making any lifestyle changes (even if for good), here are a some tips for staying active and healthy while at home and outside of your doctor’s realm of care:
Whether or not you were an avid exerciser prior to your cancer diagnosis, exercising can be beneficial when you have cancer. Your doctor may even encourage you to stay active and get a moderate amount of exercise if you feel well enough. Although it’s not likely that you’ll have the energy to run a marathon or start crossfit training, a regular routine of moderate exercise may help keep you strong and reduce fatigue.
Know Your Limits
While you may be eager to jump right into exercising, it’s wise to know your limits as you would with other activities. Don’t be discouraged if a walk, that used to be effortless, is more challenging. Your body is working hard to fight a disease and may not be as strong as it used to be. Give yourself some credit, take it easy, and be proud of your accomplishments. Keep in mind that if you push yourself too hard, you’re less likely to make exercise part of your routine. Start slowly and continue to work at a comfortable yet challenging pace.
Similarly, choose activities that will be complimentary to your abilities. For instance, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your breathing may be compromised. Try to find an exercise, such as yoga or tai chi, that won’t push you too hard, but will keep your body moving.
Change Up Your Diet
A healthy diet is just as beneficial as regular exercise, particularly if you are receiving treatment for your cancer. While everyone responds differently to their treatment, some individuals notice changes in their appetites or in their ability to eat or digest foods. It’s best to focus on a balanced diet of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins/minerals, and water. If you’re unsure how to create a healthy diet, talk with a nutritionist who has experience working with cancer patients. This would also be a great time to stock up on well-known cancer fighting foods, such as garlic and leafy green vegetables.
Healthy Habits Throughout the Day
In addition to a healthy diet and exercise, it’s important to make sure that you are getting enough sleep and trying to manage the stress in your life. It may be easier said than done, but stress and sleep deprivation can compromise your immune system even more. You may be dealing with a lot of different emotions, but positive thinking may be another healthy habit to adopt into your day. You have every right to feel the way you do about cancer being part of your life, but a good attitude has been known to be helpful and healthy in many patients.
Finally, when making all these healthy changes in your life, why not ask your family and friends to join you? Whether you go on a walk together or gather together to make healthy meals, a support system can be beneficial for everyone.