Woman riding a stationary bike.

Exercising At Home

I have had a gym membership for as long as I can remember. Prior to my lung cancer diagnosis, I would go on my lunch break and either do the weight machines or walk on the treadmill. I always considered myself to be in decent shape and worked hard to keep my weight at an acceptable number. After being diagnosed, I still tried to make it to work out but most of the time I was too tired or busy with treatments. I had chemotherapy treatments in 2014 and participated in a clinical trial in 2016.

At the beginning of my chemotherapy treatments, I had a two-week-long hospital stay. After I was discharged it was apparent that I needed to work on building my strength back up.

Making small changes to my exercise routine

I learned how to make small changes at home to my exercise routine to still get a benefit that does not involve driving to a gym or being around other people. In the times of COVID-19, this has been very beneficial to those of us who are considered high risk to severe complications due to COVID-19.

Helpful equipment and exercise tips

I signed up for a program through my health insurance company and they sent me a goodie bag of items. Included was a set of resistance bands. I have found these to be helpful in gaining strength back in my knees and shoulders. I keep it very simple and follow the exercises that came with the bands. I have found that exercising with the resistance bands has also helped with the neuropathy that I developed from the second clinical trial I participated in.

If you do not have any kind of equipment you can use items in your homes, such as a chair or pillow. I have found a few YouTube channels that provide at-home workouts, including Silver Sneakers and MD Anderson Cancer Center. There are endless options on Youtube if you search “at-home exercises for cancer patients.”

When the weather is cooperating, I have found taking a small walk has helped as well. It is an activity that even during the pandemic we can do and not worry about being too close of contact with other people. I live on a busy street, so I walk to my local park.

Finally, a stationary bike is great for lung cancer patients. I was fortunate to have one given to me, but I have found that there are inexpensive options available. For this type of exercise, it is always best to start out small and work your way up. This will help with blood flow and build up your lung capacity.

Adapting to at-home exercising

At the beginning of 2020, I had started going back to the gym where I had built up to walking for about 30 minutes. Once the pandemic was underway it was much more difficult to make it and then they closed all non-essential businesses such as gyms. There was a recent spike in cases, so I have chosen to continue working out at home.

I hope this blog encourages you to make small changes to your day to incorporate an exercise plan. As always, please consult your doctor or oncologist before starting any sort of exercise plan.

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