Exercise for every Treatment
Just Say OM
Try these yoga exercises to reduce treatment side effects, boost stamina and relieve stress.
Using a yoga mat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms straight out to the sides and breathe in. As you breathe out, bend forward and extend your right hand and try to touch your left knee, calf or foot. (The goal is to be able to touch your foot.)
Slowly uncurl and return to the starting position and breathe in. As you breathe out, bend forward and extend your left hand and try to touch your right knee, calf or foot. (The goal is to be able to touch your foot.) Repeat four times.
NECK STRETCH (improves neck flexibility) Using a yoga mat, stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Interlace your hands together behind your back and raise your arms as for away as comfortable from your back. Re-turn arms to back. Breathe in through the nose; as you breathe out, lower your shoulders. Your chest will be lifted. Keeping the shoulders down, slowly tilt your head down to the right shoulder; hold for Five seconds. (You should be able to feel a pull in the neck muscles on the opposite side.)
Return your head to the upright position and repeat move-ment, tilting your head down to the left shoulder as you breathe out; hold For five seconds and return your head to the upright position.
Interlace your hands together behind your back and raise your arms as far away as comfortable from your back; return arms to back. Lowery our chin to your chest, feeling the pull on the back of the neck; hold for five seconds and raise your head upright. Repeat three times.
Exercise for Every Treat
CHEMOTHERAPY—Walking at a comfortable pace lust 30 minutes five days a week can help alleviate fatigue during che-motherapy treatment. Start slowly, just five minutes twice a day, and work your way up to 30 minutes at least five days a week. If you don't have 30 minutes to spare in one chunk, break it up and do ten minutes before you leave for the office, ten minutes at lunch and ten minutes before dinner.
RADIATION THERAPY—Stretching exercises can improve flexibility due to underarm radiation scarring during breast cancer treatment and increase breathing capacity in lung cancer patients. Here are two quick exercises to try:
FOR THE ARMS: Hold both arms to the right and rotate in a circle eight times then switch your arms to the left, and rotate in a circle eight
FOR THE LUNGS: Breathe in throug rotate in a circle eight times. 1 the nose for the count of four; as you breathe in raise your arms straight over-head; as you breathe out, turn palms out, extend your arms out and then down to the sides of your body. Repeat four times.
SURGERY—Be sure to clear any exercise pro-gram with your doctor following a surgical procedure.
This simple shoulder roll exercise can improve arm flexibility fol-lowing breast surgery and can be done sitting or standing: Place feet hip-width apart, lift ribs and push shoulders down. Put
arms straight down alongside the body with palms facing for I ward and fingers spread apart. Raise shoulders up toward the ears, then push back squeezing shoulder blades together and
push shoulders down. Repeat five times.
Exercise Dos and don'ts
Do Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
DON'T Overexert yourself. "Only do half the amount of exercise repetitions you did before your cancer treatment and then work your way up," advises Wilson.
DO Find a personal trainer with a medical background to help you launch a fitness program during or after cancer treatment.
DON'T Include exercises to the abdominal area oi the body, especially abdominal crunches, for at least two months after surgery. Check with your doctor
to see when it's okay to resume those ac tivities.
DO Know your body and pay a ention to the signals it sends you. For example, start a walking, jog- ging, bicycling or weight training program gradually and see how you Feel 24 hours later. If you are overly fatigued or have muscle sore-/ I ness, reduce your activities and then slowly increase your workout level.
DON'T Get discouraged."It's important for patients to understand that their body is not what it was pre-treat-ment, says Wilson. "They should just be consistent in their exercise process and be patient, because it takes a long time Smi to get back to the level oF activity they were used to before their diagnosis."
Fitness On the Go
By Jo Cavallo
A long-held belief that cancer patients experiencing fatigue while undergoing treatment should rest and remain inactive until they've finished therapy is quickly being eclipsed by new research showing that maintaining a regular exercise routine during and after cancer treatment actually improves stamina and overall quality of life. What's more, say experts, it may reduce the risk of recurrence, especially in breast cancer patients. "Many oncologists are recommending that overweight breast cancer patients lose weight, because it's suspected thot fat cells have an increased concentration of estrogen even though patients are on medications to decrease the amount of estrogen in the body," says Donna .I. Wilson, R.N., personal trainer and fitness coordinator at the Integrative Medicine Ser-vice at Memorial Sloon-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Regardless of your level of physical activity prior to your cancer diagnosis and treatment, Wilson cautions against overexerting yourself once you resume or start an exercise program. "I tell patients to use a one to ten scale to measure exhaustion. One is they are not tired at all and ten is they're exhausted," says Wilson, and pace yourself accordingly. And be sure to talk to your doctor about when to start an exercise program, what kind of exercises you should do and how much exercise is right for you.
Catch Your Breath
Breathing exercises can reduce anxiety, help you relax and improve flexibility. Here's how:
DEEP BREATHING (increases the flow of oxygen throughout the body) Breathe in through the nose for the count of four; hold your breath for a count of seven; breathe out through pursed lips for count of eight. Repeat four times.
MUSCLE STRETCHING (improves flexibility) Breathe in through the nose for the count of four; as you breathe in raise your arms straight up overhead; as you breathe out through pursed lips, turn your palms out, extend arms straight out and slowly lower arms. Repeat four times.
SNIFFLES (to strengthen the diaphragm) Close your mouth and breathe in and out of your nose quickly for 15 to 30 seconds; work your way up to 60 seconds.
Take a Two-Minute Break:
Three Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk These exercises will not only help reduce wrist and shoulder strain From long days at your computer, they will also improve flexibility and reduce stress.
- SHOULDER SHRUG: Place arms down alongside the body and breathe in through the nose. Raise shoulders to your ears and hold For five seconds; os you breathe out through the lips, push shoulders down and engage your back muscles; hold for five seconds. Repeat two times.
- SHOULDER AND UPPER BACK TONE AND TIGHTEN: Breathe in and as you breathe out, raise arms out to the sides, palms facing down. Force the arms back and up to create tension; hold for ten seconds, then release arms and move them back to the sides. Repeal four times.
- THE SWIM: Place both arms out in front, palms facing each other. Breathe in as you sweep your arms to the sides of the body parallel to the floor and push bock. Breathe out as you bring your arms forward. Repeat five limes.