Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of exercise for prolonging life and preventing cancer. One recent study found that individuals that exercise just 15 minutes per day were 10% less likely to die from cancer (Washington Post 2011). In addition to decreasing the likelihood of getting cancer, exercising helps increase one’s health overall (Mayo Clinic 2011) and it is very important for cancer survivors to stay in good health.
Finding time to exercise often can be difficult, especially for adults with full-time jobs and a family. For those individuals not currently exercising, beginning an exercise routine is a daunting task. Although all last summer I planned to start a regular exercise regime, I still have yet to actually begin one. However, even when some types of exercising may be difficult to fit into one’s schedule, there are plenty of options to live an active lifestyle without creating too much stress. Below are four easy ways I’ve found to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
(1) Walk – Walking is a great way to exercise and is an activity that many of us already do during the day. Walking is my main form of exercise. The walk from the parking lot to my office is a little over 10 minutes. Instead of riding the bus, I walk every day – ensuring I get at least 20 minutes of exercise a day. Additionally, I take my dog on at least two long walks a day. Walking is low impact exercise, meaning people can walk for longer without the aches and pains of some other types of exercise. A great motivator for walking more throughout the day is to wear a pedometer. These are usually very cheap and encourage more activity throughout the day (WebMD). Additionally, America on the Move has suggestions for ways to walk more throughout the day.
(2) Take the stairs – For some, taking the stairs may not be an option. However, for the rest of us, taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator is an excellent source of exercise.
(3) Play with children or pets – In addition to walking my dog, I usually play fetch or tug-of-war with him at least one time a day. This provides him with some exercise and I get a good workout from it too. Children or friends are often up for some type of physical game. The benefits from playing with pets, children, or friends extends beyond exercise, there are also often psychological benefits for everyone involved.
(4) Find a form of exercise you enjoy – I love walking. Therefore, when possible, I prefer a long walk (especially with a friend or my dog) to about any other type of exercise. If you hate to run, don’t force yourself to run. There are lots of activities that are great exercise: swimming, hiking, team sports, yoga, dancing, bicycling. Select an activity you already enjoy. If you choose activities you enjoy, working out will be less of a chore and something you can look forward to.
Hopefully these suggestions can help you lead a more active life. I really think the most important one is to find an activity that you enjoy. If you need more encouragement or information about fitness, check out TheSurvivor Network on CancerForward. You can join the Fitness, Nutrition, Health & Wellness General Support Community for support or to discuss fitness routines with other cancer survivors.