By Nancy Gay
Are you a cancer patient who wants to run in Miles for Moffitt, but don’t know where to start?
Moffitt Cancer Center’s supervisor of Physical and Occupation Therapy Ron Jennings offers these five tips for patients interested in beginning or reviving an exercise routine.
Start Slowly: First and foremost, patients in the middle of treatment or who have completed treatment for cancer need to check with their physician before beginning an exercise routine. Once given the go-ahead, Jennings recommends walking and increasing the pace slowly. He says mixing short running intervals with walking is good preparation for longer runs. He recommends aiming for steady progress and consistency, since most injury stems from progressing too quickly.
Exercise during Treatment: According to Jennings, most cancer patients can and should exercise while undergoing treatment as long as it is OK with their physician. He says aerobic and strength exercises are beneficial during treatment because it improves physical functioning.
Take Precautions: Though it is usually safe to exercise while undergoing cancer treatment, patients should take any necessary precautions recommended by their doctor. Some patients may need a consultation with a physical therapist for a more individualized program.
Listen to Your Body: Each person faces their own challenges and should listen to their body after exercise. He says the body needs time to heal after each run as it gets stronger. Jennings also says good sleep and good nutrition are critical.
Find Smooth Surfaces: In addition to fatigue, many patients who have undergone chemotherapy treatment may feel reduced sensation in the feet. According to Jennings, exercise may lessen these side effects. He recommends running on surfaces that are well-lit, smooth, without obstacles like tree roots or uneven sidewalks to make up for the lost sensation.
Miles for Moffitt is Saturday, Dec. 8, in downtown Tampa. All proceeds go directly toward funding cancer research. Learn more and register at www.MilesforMoffitt.com.