Caring For Yourself After Cancer

Cancer diagnoses are an all too common occurrence in the United States; consider that in 2020 alone, over 1.8 million people are believed to have been diagnosed with some form of cancer. While many people survive and lead long lives after a cancer diagnosis, it is crucial for cancer survivors to take proper care of themselves in the years following their recovery.

Starting an Exercise Routine

While starting an exercise regimen might seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t take too much work to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Minor adjustments – such as opting for taking the stairs over the elevator – can eventually add up into real progress over time.

It is key to remember, however, to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Following a recovery from cancer, it is best to slowly ease your way into a routine. According to the American Cancer Society, adult cancer survivors should eventually aim for 150 minutes a week of exercise, which would ideally include at least two days of strength training. Of course, cancer survivors should not push themselves too hard when engaging in physical activity.

Dietary Changes

As you might expect, maintaining a healthy diet is also a very important goal for adults with a history of cancer. The American Cancer Society provides the following dietary guidelines for such individuals:

  • Each day, consume at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat foods high in healthy fats, such as fish and walnuts, on a regular basis.
  • When it comes to protein, opt for sources that are rich in protein but low in saturated fat. Some candidates that fit the bill include fish, lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes.
  • Try to pick up healthy sources of carbohydrates at the grocery store. Whole grains, legume, fruits and vegetables are all viable options.

Rest Up

Upon making a recovery from cancer, many adults find themselves struggling to get enough sleep. This problem can be addressed with a few relatively easy lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeinated drinks for at least 8 hours before bedtime. Other useful tips include avoiding both television and computer screens 1-2 hours before bed, and to keep your bedroom as quiet and dim as possible. And as hard as it may be, try to adhere to a healthy and regular sleep schedule.

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