Exercise: My Unlikely Remedy for Fatigue
Exercise is important. Whether you are healthy or you have lung cancer. It doesn't make a difference. As a lung cancer survivor, exercise becomes even more important. If you have experienced surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy, you know that the major side effect is fatigue. And what is the remedy for fatigue - exercise.
Luckily, there are many ways to help combat fatigue. Light, non-aerobic exercise can do amazing things. I know from personal experience that when you are craving a nap in the middle of the afternoon (sometimes two or three), exercise is the last thing you want to think about.
SilverSneakers Fitness Program
But did you know that if you have Medicare, you probably have a benefit that you don't even know about. It's called SilverSneakers. They have an amazing program. With a SilverSneakers card, you can join almost any gym you would like to, at NO cost to you. SilverSneakers provides you with the opportunity to choose from over 13,000 gyms nationwide.
Livestrong at the YMCA
If you haven't received your Medicare card yet and if you are still working, you can still benefit from exercise. The YMCA has partnered with Livestrong to provide exercise programs for patients diagnosed with cancer. They have developed a program of low-impact exercise combined with educational resources to help you with all aspects of your life. Livestrong at the YMCA is a 12-week program and during this session, you and your family can receive a free YMCA membership. The YMCA collaborated with the Dana Farber Institute and Yale University to research the effects of cancer patients exercising. Per Livestrong, "we found that participants experienced significant increases in physical activity, overall quality of life and fitness performance as well as decreases in cancer-related fatigue. By the end of 2016, we will offer the program in 19-25 new YMCA associations."1 If you have ever thought of joining a YMCA, this is a great way to check it out.
According to the American Cancer Society, "you don’t have to be a marathon runner to consider yourself physically active. Walking at about 3 mph (or 20 minutes per mile) is considered moderate intensity. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week (or a combination of these). You can get in the recommended activity levels by just walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week."2 Take a walk around the block, go to the mall or just walk around a local park. Your choices are endless.
So there really isn't any reason why you can't get some sort of exercise. As Nike says, JUST DO IT.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?