Dog Days of Summer and Exercise


dogdaysofsummerimage credit: Good Search

Think of yourself as a dog. (I mean this in a good way!)

Heal.

Sit.

Lie down.

Good boy/girl!

Want to go exercise? Let’s go!

Here’s some more water.

During cancer treatment, you’ll want to exercise but may find you lack the energy and strength. Especially if your treatment is in the dog days of summer. I was grateful my treatment was in the summer. As my iron levels dropped, I was always cold—until hot flashes kicked in, then I was back to being cold. Do what you can—even if that means a walk to the mailbox three times a day.

If you live where the temperatures are hot, you have some options for exercise: Go to an air-conditioned gym, or community center, head for a pool, or get up at zero-thirty to beat the heat for some outdoor activity. (If your treatment is in the winter, and you live where it’s cold, the gym or community center again will protect you from the elements.) No matter what you do, make sure you’re paying attention to what your body is saying.

I originally thought I’d be walking the beach during my treatment months, even if slowly. Ha. During the months of my treatment, I walked about an-eighth of the boardwalk when I did venture to the beach (usually with a guest I wanted to take to the beach.) We’d last 20 minutes maximum, then I’d need to come home. The sun was too bright, and my endurance was too low. I’d spend the next day with a cold. It was so worth it. The beach was my sanity. When my mom would visit me, she’d offer to take me to the beach for 15-20 minutes. I’d just sit in the car. She’s go to the water’s edge before coming back to the car where I was sometimes asleep, or ready to go home.

Consider going to an indoor pool and sitting on a “noodle” like a swing, pumping with your legs, one at a time. Or “stand” perpendicular in the water, holding the “noodle” in front of you, and move your legs like an egg beater. It’s not a weight-bearing activity, but it’s a great place to be if your joints are aching, or you’re building your endurance. Once you have the energy and confidence, you can swim half short laps, building up to long lane laps if that’s your desire. Water aerobic classes are plentiful and work major muscle groups.

Whatever you do, start slowly. You will hear of people who walk “The Walk” right after treatment. Do not compare yourself with anyone else. Go at your pace. Listen to your body. Respect your needs.

Scoot over. Doggie wants to rest on the couch!

 

 

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