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ClareC is a community member who’s blogging for us about the
challenges of getting back into physical activity while living with cancer.
challenge finishes, the next one begins.
eye opener in all this “challenge” is quite how easy it is to do nothing or
procrastinate…but we know more than many that we can no longer put off for that
ever elusive tomorrow as in our world, tomorrow occasionally comes.
Wednesday last week I was officially allowed to play tennis…well, that was the
question I asked…which would no doubt include being able to do any other form
of exercise too? Did I rush out to do any…? No, I waited for tennis on
Sunday. I just couldn’t quite make that move from walk to jog; it
really is shocking how lazy you can become so quickly…will power, that is the
secret ingredient. And this is where my friends have very kindly stepped
in to help. Some of you have been moving so fast you have forgotten to
tell me what you’ve been doing?!! However, I have been sent two amazing
stories and it is only right to keep them exactly as they are (see
As for me,
I played tennis today which I adored…I told the coach I was a liability and if
I dropped down on the court just call 999 and he accepted me into the
group! I will endeavour to jog from time to time but will definitely
restart my yoga course. Parkfit, yes please, the camaraderie is second to
none and it is good not only for body but for mind and soul and that to me is
the meaning of life. Please all keep moving and just do it to the best of
your ability, no more, no less…it’s not a competition but it does involve that
element of pushing yourself and bringing that will power to the front to get up
and do it but I know each and every one of you has that fight, just look at
what you have come through to get to where you are today. Never give up.
More pack about last September and from the many options I chose
walking, something I enjoyed before my movement was restricted following three
knee replacements (just think of the Isle of Man). A visit to my doctor
was not encouraging and his suggestion to stroll along the canal and feed the
ducks horrified me. Is this all that was left for me to the end of my days? My
oncologist was much more helpful and suggested that I should start with what I
felt I could do comfortably and each week increase it by 10%, with occasional
weeks on a more relaxed schedule.
already fairly active, I played bowls, always used the stairs (well nearly
always) and living at the top of a steep hill I often had to walk up the hill
to get home. I started with walks “around the block” of about 1.5 miles -
down the hill, along the main road and back up the hill the other side. The
first time I did this I had to stop for breath several times on the steeper
parts, but what a sense of achievement when I collapsed into the chair at
home. I set myself certain goals, which were walks I used to enjoy,
trying to make each one more challenging and now I am “comfortable” with walks
of 6 to 8 miles.
have given me great pleasure and, combined with photography, this has given me
a good incentive to continue them and I won’t mention the pubs all these walks
end in. My initial target was to walk 15 miles by May and obviously I haven’t
achieved that, but I am enjoying life more and my stamina has improved. That’s
a good result! I am also putting my renewed pleasure to good use and I shall do
for Macmillan, the 5.5 mile Severn Bridge Walk on 1st July. I’ve raised
more than £600 in sponsorship so far. Wish me luck!
thought I would be writing a blog post about exercise! Apart from swimming for
fun, I never did do any exercise before, but with impending osteoporosis from
treatment and exercise reducing
your risk of cancer returning, I had no option but to go the gym.
suffering with fatigue after treatment and I discovered that exercise really
did help me through it. I would never have believed it, but a swim could keep
me going for a couple of days. It gave me energy. First time I swam, I managed
less than a length and I burst into tears at how rubbish I was and how rubbish
I now looked in my costume... but I got back on my horse as it were and went
again. And again. That was in November. It is now June and after having nearly
3 months off for an operation, I am back swimming and at the gym and have
signed up for the 5km Race for Life in July. It has been slow going and I have
had to bite the bullet of not caring what I think anyone else might think as I
plod along at a slow walk on the treadmill at level 1 but it has improved
is my first full week at work since treatment. I am so tired like you would not
believe, but today, I got to leave work a little early and went to the gym. I
walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes, then did some weight exercises on the
equipment for my bones and then 10 minutes on the cross trainer. 6 months ago,
I could do 10 mins slow walk and 2 mins on the cross trainer and that was me on
my knees out of breath. I then went for a swim as a reward. I mostly floated
due to being worn out after all that, but I felt so good and relaxed and
energetic. I walked nearly 2 km today which is a new record and the goal
of having to do the 5km next month is one to work towards as I know I will feel
so proud when I do it, even if it is a slow walk round with a stop if needed.
what I would want to say to people is that when I first saw the Move More
campaign, I felt so awful about it as I could not walk to the end of my
driveway at that point and the thought of gyms and swims and running was just
way out of my league and I thought don't make me feel bad about not being able
to do things. I also thought that having cancer would stop me from being fit
and able to run or anything like that. Clare and Julia made me see that it was
possible to have cancer and do exercise, even really vigorous exercise and that
really inspired me to go for it, so thank you Clare and Julia!
So, here I
am exercising to stop my cancer coming back, to stop the fatigue and to stop my
bones from crumbling and best of all, I feel good and have more energy.
Dare to start small even if just standing up and sitting down again, or
wiggling your toes and keep going and from someone who could not walk down the
stairs this time last year, there is hope, it just takes time and patience and
I shall be running (walking) the Race for Life (and beyond!) for all of you.
thank you to Paddyman and Little My for their stories and masses of luck for
the challenges they have set themselves. Thank you to my Move More buddy
Julia and also to each and every one of you that has kept me going through my
12 weeks of moving more. Even when I physically couldn’t keep moving, you
still kept me going in spirit. If I can do it anyone can…so now it’s your
If you need some help getting more physically active
during or after cancer treatment, order
a Macmillan Move More pack.
Clare - thanks for all your blogs over the past 12 weeks - it certainly seems as though you've inspired many of your fellow community members to get moving, which is brilliant.
Thanks also to Paddyman and Little My for sharing your fantastic stories. As Little My says, the idea of physical activity can be incredibly daunting when you're living with cancer, so sharing your stories is a great way to encourage others. Move More is all about finding the level and type of activity that is right for you.
If you have any questions about our organisation our Macmillan team would love to hear from you
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2010
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