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If I am being honest, fitness is not high on my list of fun things to do. I actually put a great deal of effort into avoiding any type of exercise that I can. After Breast Cancer treatments ended, some types of exercises became difficult for me to do. Walking is my go-to exercise after breast cancer because it is so easy to do and because I can do it consistently.
According to studies, walking may reduce your risk of breast cancer as well as other diseases. We all know exercise part of a healthy lifestyle, so why not give it a try?
I recently wrote a post about my struggles with facing my breast cancer diagnosis (you can read that here). As part of facing my fear, I read all of my oncology records. Something came up in every doctor’s note and it surprised me. Almost every entry said, “Colleen exercises daily”. All I could think was, “Colleen hates to exercise”. Thinking back, however, it was true. I exercised every day.
How is it that I was able to exercise everyday working full time with two toddlers and breast cancer fatigue? I did a lot of different exercises back in 1995 when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I was only 26 so I could do some exercises that I wouldn’t do now. I used to go to aerobics classes and I belonged to a gym. But I didn’t do that every day. No, I supplemented my classes and gym time with walking.
Walking has always been a love of mine and I am not sure why I got away from it. It is the easiest exercise to implement and it can be the answer to almost every exercise barrier you have.
What do I mean by a barrier? I mean those things that you tell yourself to explain why you can’t make a certain lifestyle change, like walking, even if it is good for your health. Things like, “I can’t find the time,” “It’s too expensive,” or “I’m not that coordinated”.
You Can Fit It In
Well, the beauty of walking is you can do it any time and for any amount of time. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends between 150 to 300 minutes (2.5 -5 hours) of physical activity a week, for the average adult. BreastCancer.org has updated exercise guidelines for people who have been treated for cancer here. (You should check with your doctor before starting any exercise.) You can walk for ten minutes three times a day and you have done more than the minimum recommendation.
No Equipment Needed
I love to shop but if I don’t have time to exercise am I really going to shop for special clothes to wear to exercise? It seems like a stretch to me. I want it easy. I don’t have to get weights, outfits, equipment or gym time. I think that is about as easy as it gets!
You Don’t Need a Gym
You can do it anywhere. This one is important. You can do it on vacation, at work, or from home. Usually, I begin an exercise plan because I am going to the doctor and I want to be able to honestly say I am doing something, OR I also am famous for deciding to start a new routine right before I go on vacation. I have no excuses for walking. I can walk anywhere! If the weather is bad I can walk inside. I can pace around my house. I literally have no excuse. I have been known to walk while I am on the phone or march in place while watching TV.
You Can Do It Alone or Not
You can do it alone or with other people. The choice is yours! Do you feel like chatting with your best friend or catching up with your significant other? You can walk and talk. Do you want to get away from the chatter all around you and just breathe? Take a walk. Look at nature. Clear your head. Walk your dog!
There is no training required. Let’s be honest, I am not going to be taking up tennis anytime soon. If for no other reason, those of us that have had mastectomies prefer not to bounce around. Even if it was golf, which does not require bouncing, there is a bit of training involved to get started. Walking, you have been doing it since you were about a year old! You are already a pro!
In summary, if you can’t fit in a lot of exercises during your hectic days, but you wish you could, try walking. And while it’s absolutely not a necessary part of walking, you may want to get a Fitbit to track your steps — there’s something about getting that “You Did It!” notification at the end of the day that’s really inspiring.
- Can be done anytime
- Doesn’t require special equipment or clothes
- Can be done anywhere
- Can be done alone or with other people (or pets)
- Is easy! It’s Free. You already know how to do it!
So what do you think? Are you going to try to slip in a little extra exercise into your busy day?
This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about general breast cancer information and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not a substitute for professional, medical advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to ConsultColleen.com