Balancing Activity And Rest

When you’ve been injured or ill, especially with something as physically and mentally draining as cancer, the road to recovery can be a long one. The disease permeates every aspect of your life, so your recovery process has to do the same.

Sometimes you might feel too tired to do anything. Fatigue is a common symptom of both cancer and its treatment. Evidence suggests that trying to get some physical activity in even with these difficulties may be one of the best things to help your recovery (

Of course, overdoing it will make you feel even worse, but activities like hiking can be a powerful tool. Perhaps counterintuitively, doing exercise can actually make you feel more energetic. It’s also been suggested that raising your heart rate with physical activity can also be a way to reduce the risk of the cancer becoming recurrent.

The benefits of exercise aren’t just physical. Once the endorphins start flowing, you could also find it boosting your mood. Serious illness or injury can contribute to mental health problems like depression. Just getting out in the fresh air can provide at least a partial counter to that.

So, you have to balance your need for physical activity with your need to rest. Easy, right? Well, probably not. Even if you’re in full control of your body, it can be tricky figuring out where healthy exercise turns into overtraining. When you’re recovering from cancer or chemotherapy, it becomes even harder. Your physical and mental capabilities may have changed since before you became ill.

Recovery is in some ways about relearning what you can do. You need to test yourself to prove that you can still do things, but also remember that you might not be able to achieve the same level that you did before. It means being careful and taking your time. Maybe walk around your local area before you try to climb a mountain.

Ways to make this process easier and safer include making sure you consult with experts like your doctor or physical therapist beforehand, and making sure you wear the right kind of shoes, carry the right kind of equipment and don’t forget warmups and cooldowns. And just remember: there’s no substitute for patience. You don’t have to succeed at everything right away. Don’t be afraid to stop and try again another day.

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