Saturday, April 20, 2013

Taking Up Running after a Cancer Diagnosis

This was a great article written by an advocate for Running as a form of recovery after a cancer diagnosis.  Her name is Melanie Bowen and I think you'll find this information helpful:

If individuals have recently received a cancer diagnosis, they should look for ways to keep their spirits up as they go through chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Running is an especially beneficial activity when it comes to both physical and mental health. When cancer patients can get together with other runners for a jog through the woods each weekend, they will surely feel better. In this sense, then, one’s spiritual health and physical health will grow stronger through time. Outdoor running allows access to fresh air and is generally more uplifting than running on a treadmill inside.

Running is an invigorating activity and can actually lead to increased energy levels. In fact, physical fitness will allow people to slowly work on their stamina. Once they are able to run several miles in one session, they might even experience a natural chemical high. When the proper chemicals are released within the brain, people will find themselves in better moods. As a general rule, a positive mindset can be quite important to one’s overall wellbeing, which is especially beneficial for cancer patients.

As a solitary activity, running also allows people to get back to basics. By jogging through the forests and fields of the local wilderness, most individuals will develop a much stronger appreciation for the true beauty of the world. Runners who are less than enthusiastic about rural areas might instead choose to run on busy city streets. Taking in the sights and sounds of a bustling urban metropolis as the sun rises over the hills to the east will set the tone for the day ahead. On a very basic level, this can be a way for cancer patients to clear their minds and relieve some of their stress.

Cancer patients who do not currently have the stamina for long runs or jogs can instead choose to walk, or even try other forms of exercise. Simply getting out into the world and moving around a bit will help with mentally and physically. Some people might choose to listen to music as they make their way around the block while others may jog at night. No matter what level of runner you may be, any level of physical exertion can help improve your immune function as well as your mental state.

The wonderful thing about physical fitness is that it will assist people with all kinds of cancer. Whether patients have been diagnosed with leukemia or mesothelioma, they will undoubtedly benefit from cardiovascular activity. Long runs through the woods and short jaunts around the block will be equally helpful.