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Everyone knows that being physically active can benefit your heart and your waistline. But did you know that there are many other benefits to being more active? Physical activity can help prevent some diseases, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain cancers. It can help ease fatigue; help keep your muscles in good condition; and it can help you feel better by increasing your energy, appetite, and mood. Recent studies suggest that people who exercise while getting cancer treatment have less fatigue, anxiety, and stress. Still, not everyone can exercise safely during treatment, and it’s important to discuss any exercise program with your doctor before starting.

People getting chemotherapy and radiation who already exercise may need to do so at a lower intensity and build up more slowly than people who are not getting cancer treatment. The main goal should be to stay as active as possible and then slowly increase your level of activity over time after treatment. Taking walks can be a good place to start and can give you an increased sense of well being. Try taking a 10 minute break to go for a walk or try going for a walk after dinner. Look for ways to be more active as you go about your day. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking up the escalator, or parking your car further away from your destination. Remember to start slowly and check with your doctor about what level and type of activity is best for you right now.

Here are some tips for being more active:
• While most people can begin a routine of regular moderate activity with little health risk, it’s very important that you check with your doctor first, especially if you are in active treatment. Be sure to ask if there are any special precautions you need to take.

• If you have not been active for some time, start slowly, 5-10 minutes at a time, and work your way up to more activity each day. Listen to your body and do not push yourself.

• The key to sticking with exercise is to do what you enjoy. There are many types of physical activity you can try. Find something you like that fits into your lifestyle.

• Bring a friend. Being active is more fun when you have a buddy to share it with. You can remind and encourage each other to be active. And it’s a great way to spend time with family or friends. Try to meet at the same time every day.

• Stay hydrated. Remember to drink plenty of fluids. In hot weather, you may want to exercise early in the morning or in the late afternoon or early evening. Let someone else take care of the dinner dishes!

• Don’t be a couch potato – but don’t be a baked potato either. Avoid the midday sun, wear protective clothing and a hat when out in the sun, and use sunscreen!

Remember, while exercise can improve your health, being active can and should also be just plain fun!

Para solicitar información en español, llame al 1-800-227-2345. Un especialista en información sobre el cáncer le asistirá en español.

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