Coping with lung cancer may require you to slow down, but you should never take it as a reason to stop being active.
While doctors used to recommend nothing but bedrest during cancer treatment, we now know inactivity poses a grave danger to seniors with cancer. Inactivity leads to poor physical fitness, which diminishes the benefits of medical treatments, and it also leads to a vicious cycle in which a constant state of fatigue further discourages you from being active. Inactivity also threatens your mental health, increasing the risk of anxiety and depression.
Staying active will increase your strength and appetite, as well as reduce your stress. You should always consult your doctor to make sure whatever you plan to engage in will support your treatment, but certain activities are well known to benefit seniors with lung cancer.
There is a common misconception that yoga is all about strenuous contortions that demand extreme flexibility. In reality, the practice of yoga is as much about relaxation and mindfulness as it is about exercise.
Yoga positions can be adapted to comfortably accommodate any level of physical fitness, and there is a special type of yoga that utilizes props to support people in a relaxing posture. This gentle practice, called restorative yoga, is often recommended to seniors with cancer. If you experience difficulty breathing, yoga’s emphasis on breathing techniques will greatly benefit you.
You don’t have to go to a gym or walk a five-mile circuit to get a healthy amount of exercise. A modest task like gardening may not seem like a championship workout, but any time you spend working with your hands is good for your mind and your body.
The added advantage of gardening is that you can improve your diet by growing your own vegetables and low-sugar fruit. Fruits and vegetables reduce inflammation, give you plenty of fiber, and provide balanced nutrition that supports cancer treatments. It doesn’t have to be all salad either, as cooked vegetables are often better for you because they are easier to digest.
If you want to get even more engaged with nature, pet therapy might be the thing for you. Pet therapy simply means spending time with the sort of animals you enjoy.
Feeding ducks or turtles at a pond is an easy and relaxing activity that will get you up and out of the house. If you’d rather stay indoors, a cat can provide a quiet form of companionship, and even something as simple as watching a fish swim can set your mind at ease.
Walking a dog will reduce your stress and give you a light workout at the same time. Don’t worry if you think you’ll have trouble keeping up with a puppy — there are plenty of senior dogs out there who would prefer to take it as easy as you do.
Perhaps you prefer to spend your leisure time with a human partner. Dancing is another great activity that can be as easy or as challenging as you want it to be. Exercise doesn’t have to be a serious or repetitive endeavor, after all. You will find you can get the most exercise when you are just having fun.
Taking up dancing also creates natural opportunities for meeting people and socializing. If you’re a long-time dancer, hold on to that rich aspect of your life. If you’re new to the dancefloor, it’s never too late to learn.