Being Fit While Fighting Cancer

Being Fit While Fighting Cancer

Guest Contribution by Melanie Bowen

General Benefits of Fitness

Physical fitness has a number of benefits for your many aspects of health. It plays a major role in the maintaining the energy balance of the body. The term energy balance is referencing the effects that weight, diet, and physical activity have on health. Some other benefits of physical activity include: weight control, reduction in the risk for diabetes and high blood pressure, keeping the bones, joints and muscles healthy, reducing the risk of heart disease, and reducing the risk of premature death. In order to gain the benefits of physical activity, it is recommended that adults get moderate-intensity activity lasting for at least 30 minutes for at least five days in a week. Vigorous-intensity level activity can be performed instead for twenty minutes at least three times a week.

Fitness and Cancer

Since the body’s immune system fights cancerous cells, along with other foreign bodies that may be in it, any aids to the body’s overall health can also be direct aids for the immune system. This makes it easier for the body to fight any foreign bodies including cancer. Another major reason for participating in physical activity is the increased cancer survival rates. Fitness, in addition to improving quality of life and minimizing fatigue, helped in dealing with treatment side effects. For those afflicted with mesothelioma, simple activities, such as walking, were shown to be strong aids in the energy levels of those undergoing treatment. Furthermore, physical activity has been shown to increase the rates of survival in women diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who were sedentary. Colon cancer patients were also shown to have lower risks of the recurrence when patients participated in regular physical activity.

Physical activity has been shown to be a good overall aid to human health as well as to surviving many, if not all, types of cancer. The amount of activity needed to gain the benefits is a reasonably small portion of a person’s day and thus can be easily worked into a daily routine. Getting in the much-needed exercise today could help keep away a potentially deadly adversary down the line. Talk to your doctor today to develop a plan and get fit today!

Update on Dad

Many of you have followed my Dad’s progress as he fights prostate cancer.   Posts about his battle can be found HERE and HERE.

Last week my Dad called to update me on his latest appointment at the Cross Cancer. This was his first checkup since his extensive round of Radiation.

The results show he still has cancer. His levels are a bit higher than when he started Radiation treatment.

He can’t go for anymore Radiation, and he’s already had the surgery. They are going to monitor his levels, and will discuss further options such as hormone treatment.

Dad gave me permission to post this, as he would love some prayers.

My Dad with a few of his Granddaughters, Christmas 2011

I will leave you with my Dad’s words after he shared his break-our-hearts news:

It certainly wasn’t the news I was hoping for. I had a pity party on the drive home until I stopped in Vegreville and saw an elderly couple that needed help loading their groceries. I felt much better after I helped them.

My Dad has always reminded me of Johnny Cash…the man in black with a heart of gold. I love you Dad.

We truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

From my Dad’s heart-of-gold to yours,


One Year Later

One year ago, I published this post:

What I didn’t know then, was that that post would be the wake up call I needed for change and authenticity to start a new year. I started 2011 with a weight on my shoulders that I immediately felt melt away after I dropped the mask I was wearing for much of the previous year. I felt free to be myself, there is no greater feeling than to just let it all go.

And now one year later, I look back on the past year with a smile and a grateful heart. Our family went through a lot in 2011, but we grew closer because of it. My love and respect for my Dad grew like I didn’t know possible.

With a new year, there is always that feeling of starting fresh. I want to take a moment before moving on to 2012 to revisit some of the things I learned in 2011.

~We are all struggling with some area in our lives to some degree…whether it’s personal or it’s professional…some just hide it a little better. Life has it’s share of failure and defeat. The important part is learning from it, and picking yourself up a little smarter and a little stronger.

~It makes a difference if you start your day off with gratitude.

~An act of kindness towards a stranger, a friend, or a family member can change the course of their day…and as an added bonus it will change the course of your day as well.

~There is beauty in the break down.

~Laughter cures a lot! So do exactly what it is that brings the laughter out. Laugh everyday. Every single day.

~Tell the people you love that you love them. Don’t wait. Tell them now and often.

~Be honest with your friendships, and cherish them. They are valuable. If you find there is a toxic friendship in your life, it’s OK to take a step back. Friendships aren’t supposed to be filled with guilt. If you are kind, loyal, and accepting…you deserve the same respect in return. Not every friendship has to be a close friendship, there are all levels of friendships in life, and they are all important to find balance.

~Enjoy the simple joys in life. A great meal out with someone you love, a phone call with a friend you miss, an afternoon with family, a night playing cards, an afternoon tobogganing with kids.  You will smile more. You will laugh more. Life is meant to be fun. If it’s not fun, make some fun.

Note: now that you’ve seen some cute kid’s tobogganing, may I draw your attention to how adults look when they toboggan….

Where was I…

~If you work from home, get ready in the morning just as if you were heading into work away from home. You will feel better. I spent one year working from home in my PJ’s. I think you could hear the dishevelled in my voice had you called me.

~Eat healthy, drink lots of water, go for a walk/a run/a bike ride. It’s unbelievable how much that improves your health and your over-all well-being. Your body was designed to work that way! Be good to yourself.

~If you hear a song you love and you feel like dancing. Then dance. It’s fun.

~Be exactly who you are, because you will attract like-minded friends. Life is just better when you surround yourself with a whole lot of love (and it’s lots of fun too).

~If you don’t like something about your life, guess what…you can change it. Or you can at least change how you react to the negative circumstances surrounding your life. A cup half-full is half-full.

~Balance is key: in all you do, strive for balance.

~You can’t change anyone else…you can only change yourself, continuing to evolve and grow as life does. Work on you. Don’t worry about anyone else.

“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

~Life is FILLED with people who can teach you something. Listen. Resist the urge to talk…simply listen and your life will change as those lessons (they are gifts) from others sink in.

~We all have different belief systems. Respect other’s beliefs and values. They are as sacred to them as yours are to you.

~It’s rude to text when someone is talking to you. It just is. I’ve been guilty of this! I’ve realized when I’m on the other end of it that it’s just not polite, it sends a message that you are not important enough to look in the eye.  Drop the phone, make eye contact and engage in conversation. 🙂

~The things you fear most in life are the very challenges you should face. I’m not outgoing, and I have to force myself to meet new people and forget the fact I’m socially awkward. If I wouldn’t have taken the steps to meet new people, or if they wouldn’t have taken the steps…I would have missed out on some incredible friendships and experiences.  (Hope: I’m so glad that I forced myself to go to your workshops…the hours leading up to the workshop, my stomach was in knots because I didn’t believe in myself as a photographer…even though I was going to learn. I was so close to not going because of my own insecurities. And look what I would have missed out on!)

~Give your best to your guests.

~Say thank you.

That’s about all I can think of! I know I rambled! Thank you for reading my thoughts, and I am so thankful for each and every person that visits my blog and takes the time to comment.  May 2012 be filled with a ridiculous amount of love and laughter within your life!

From my heart to yours,

I welcome 2012 with open arms and a thankful heart