Physical activity can help you stay healthy

Published: 7/25/17

Running shoes on a treadmill

Physical activity is a prescription for health and happiness that more and more healthcare providers are recommending for their patients because it:

  • Helps reduce anxiety and fatigue
  • Increases strength and boosts energy
  • Lifts mood and increases feelings of optimism
  • Helps protect your heart
  • Promotes healthy sleep
  • Improves appetite (but controls weight!)
  • Can be a lot of fun

Most survivors, including those with special needs, can be physically active. If you want to be more active here are some tips to help you get started.

  • First, get your doctor’s ok. He or she can help you find activities that are right for you, given your treatment history and current health status.
  • Start small, especially if you’ve been inactive for a long time.  A daily 10-minute walk is a great way to begin.
  • Make the commitment to take part in physical activity every day. Exercising with a friend is a good way to ensure that you keep your commitment.
  • Do what you enjoy! Physical activity is another name for exercise but it doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. Brisk walking is one of the best and easiest exercises available. Biking, swimming, gardening, dancing are also great ways to be physically active. If you do something you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to keep it up.
  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week – 30 minutes a day five days a week. You can even break it up into 10-minute chunks and still enjoy the same health benefits.
  • Once you’re up to speed, choose a variety of activities (appropriate for your circumstances) where you stretch, breathe hard, and work your muscles. Consider flexibility exercises like yoga, aerobic activities like brisk walking, and resistance-training with weights or bands to increase strength.

Many organizations sponsor run/walk events. Supporting a local charity of your choice by joining such an event can be a great motivator to exercise!