The benefits of regular exercise are well-established, and of those, stress relief, immune support and benefits for sleep and mental health feel especially relevant right now.
Our response to these unprecedented times will vary greatly from person to person, though many may experience a rise in stress levels, shifting moods, and anxiety about health and immune function. Despite each person’s response, what we know to be true is that daily habits—something largely within our own control—can impact our state of well-being within body, mind and spirit.
It is understandable and relatable to feel challenged keeping with healthy habits at the best of times and especially during times of significant stress. However, it is during intense times that your body, mind, spirit and emotions need some extra care and attention.
One of the healthy habits that can make a great and positive difference is exercise.
Here are some common questions that we receive. Please note that our responses, included here, do not apply to everyone as every person and every circumstance is unique. Please connect with our exercise team to discuss your personal questions and concerns.
Q: Why bother exercising when I’m already tired?
A: This is a very important question. In many cases, exercise can actually GIVE you energy. It’s funny that way – but you have to spend a little energy and you’ll get it back. Exercise consistently over time and you will gain more energy than you spend; exercise will become energizing. In fact, clinical studies have shown that exercise can improve cancer-related fatigue (CRF).
Also, sometimes we feel tired in our mind but our body has more energy than we might assume. Exercising in this context can bring increased clarity of mind and can support relaxation of both our mind and body.
If you discover that exercising makes you feel more tired, including the next day, please connect with an exercise specialist or your physician.
Q: I know exercise would be good for me but I don’t know what to do.
A: Join us! We are here for you every step of the way. We have a variety of online exercise and movement classes. Book an appointment with an exercise therapist to discuss class participation, or if you prefer a personalized home exercise program, we can create one for you, tailored to your specific physical health and energy levels and your personal goals.
Q: But what if I don’t have equipment at home?
A: You can use common items found around your house as weights. Soup cans, water bottles and milk jugs provide some resistance. A chair, a wall and your own bodyweight are really all you need to work up a good sweat or to build strength in your muscles.
Q: But I don’t like to exercise.
A: We all need to move our bodies and we all benefit from fresh air. Go for a walk – walk on your own, take your dog or someone from your household, listen to a podcast or your favourite music. Breathe in the fresh air and move your body knowing that you are doing something good for your health and well-being. Any sluggish feelings that you may feel will likely start to fade as you move. Many people ask us for support with their motivation in the initial stages of exercising, however over time, as they experience positive changes, they start to feel naturally motivated within themselves.
It’s true that exercise requires effort, but the benefits can be great. There are many options and we are confident that together with you, we will find something that you will enjoy doing in a way that works well for you. Our exercise therapists have knowledge, skill and experience working with people living with cancer. We look forward to hearing from you and to supporting your next steps with exercise.