A guest blogger – Melanie talks about physical activity and cancer

CrossFit Games 2012

CrossFit Games 2012

Melanie sent me an email asking if I accepted guest blog posts. To be honest I was a little taken back at first. A guest blogger!? Hmmmm… I wasn’t sure if she knew that I’m really not a big deal. I’m not even sure how many people read this? But, I was excited and honored that she asked.

I feel like Melanie sent me this blog post at the perfect time, a time when I am struggling with my own health. As most of you know, I had to have surgery on my parotid gland six months ago.  I had a tumor with atypical cells. I was fortunate because the tumor was benign, but I haven’t been myself since surgery. My gland is swollen and the swelling causes me to be in pain all the time. Worst of all, I am still not able to work out. Or should I say — I’m not able to work out the way I’d like to. I can’t “train”. I can run 800 meters to a mile at a slow pace, but then that’s it for the day. This post by Melanie reminded me that what I am used to doing is rare for most people. CrossFittitng and pushing my body to the limit is not what the average person does. I guess… I just see it as “normal”.

The Northeast Nasty Girls Post WOD

The Northeast Nasty Girls Post WOD

Melanie began researching cancer when her grandmother was diagnosed. She lost her grandmother sooner then anticipated and wanted to know what they could have done differently. She wanted to know what others could do differently. This is what she has come up with thus far….

Fighting Cancer with Physical Fitness Activities

Unlike doctors in the past, physicians today want to enlist patients in aiding their own recoveries.  Doctors no longer aim to be solely in charge of patients’ care; they want people to be proactive in helping work toward their own cancer remissions.  Many physicians seek to accomplish this partnership with their patients by encouraging people to exercise on a regular basis.  In addition to receiving treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, cancer patients fighting mesothelioma and other forms of cancer can benefit by working out and committing to a steady fitness regimen. Being physically fit in addition to receiving cancer treatments can help people reach their goal of defeating this disease.  


However, many patients are not familiar with what it takes or what they can do necessarily to start a physical fitness regimen.  In particular, sedentary individuals may find starting a workout routine to be a challenge.  Working out every day does not have to be difficult, however.  Doctors advise people that this process starts with realizing the benefit of exercising and committing to taking on some form of activity each day.  Even more, patients do not have to perform elaborate aerobic routines or become proficient weightlifters in order to overcome cancer.


Patients of all capabilities may be able to benefit from walking every day.  Many people dismiss walking as an ordinary daily activity and one that can be done without forethought or too much effort.  However, while leisurely walking does not take much effort, walking for exercise requires that patients focus on their exertion and increasing their resistance to this activity.  Cancer patients ideally should try to walk as briskly as they can and moving their arms in motion with their steps.  Something as simple as walking can provide cancer patients with physical and mental benefits that will go a long way through their treatment.


Like walking, moderate weightlifting can be of great value to patients.  Research shows that lifting weights, even those that are light and easily lifted, can help people overcome and even help prevent certain conditions in their bodies.  While they should not abandon their treatments, people may also help their bodies recover by lifting weights every few days.  This activity tones their muscles, strengthens bones, increases their blood circulation, and helps them feel better about their prognoses.  


If they are physically able, another exercise patients can benefit from is riding bicycles.  Like walking and weightlifting, biking provides people with the opportunity to work out the muscles in their arms, legs, back, and abdomens.  They also benefit by being outdoors in the fresh air.  Bicycling is an exercise that can be enjoyed alone or with friends and family members.  Because it can be tempting for a person who is going through cancer treatments to want to avoid others, this exercise proves beneficial in that it brings that patient into contact with others who are concerned about that person’s wellbeing.  Cancer patients who work out regularly feel better and remain more optimistic about their recoveries.



By no means am I going through the difficulties that someone who has been diagnosed with cancer has to go through. I also do not have the experience or expertise to advise someone in that position. But, I can relate to how they feel. I have so much empathy for anyone who is struggling with any illness. It’s so hard, but you need to keep moving forward.

Melanie’s post reminded me to keep doing the small stuff. I don’t always feel great after work and almost every day I take a nap. However; I do try to go for a jog, a walk, do 100 lunges at a slow pace, or heck… do 13.3. If I am moving slow and not breathing heavy my gland won’t swell any more than it already is. I have learnt that if I am smart, I can help my recovery and healing process. I am trying to do some physical activity because moving my body is beneficial both physically and mentally. I am trying to move forward and eventually I’ll get back to my “normal”.

My "normal" LIFT HEAVY!!

My “normal” LIFTING HEAVY!!



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