Carol Michaels is the founder and creator of Recovery Fitness®, a cancer exercise program designed to help cancer patients recover from surgery and treatments, and the author of Exercises for Cancer Survivors. Here she shares one of her favorite exercises to
Exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind after a cancer diagnosis; however, exercise that focuses on functional fitness will help you carry out the activities of daily living and return to the activities you enjoy. A well-designed program can also decrease side effects and improve quality of life.
Each person is unique and heals differently. Moreover, there are many types of cancers, treatments and late-term side effects, each one affecting survivors in different ways. It is important, therefore, to work with a cancer exercise specialist or possibly a physical therapist who can design the best program for your unique situation and fitness level. Check with your physician or other specialist tracking your survivorship care for recommendations of qualified exercise providers.
A good way to start an exercise program is through relaxation breathing, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Inhale for five seconds and fill the torso up with air, then exhale from the lower abdomen for five seconds, pressing the navel in towards the spine. Imagine all of your tension and stress leaving your body with each exhalation.
Scapular retraction and shoulder rolls are a great way improve posture and prepare you for an exercise routine. Hold your arms at your sides, elbows bent to create a 90o angle. Firmly squeeze your shoulder blades together as you draw your shoulders and elbows back. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as if trying to hold a walnut between them, then release to the starting position. For the shoulder roll, raise your shoulders up toward your ears, while inhaling slowly for five seconds. Slowly roll your shoulders backward and press them all the way back down, while exhaling slowly for five seconds. Increase the size of the circle with each roll.
Exercise that focuses on functional fitness will help you carry out the activities of daily living and return to the activities you enjoy. Carol Michaels, founder of Recovery Fitness®, shares two moves to get you going.