Sunday, August 30, 2009

Getting back in the Groove

My new exercise attitude is still holding steady. Thanks very much to those of you who offered encouragement and advice. Music was an especially good piece of advice (thanks Leslie!), and I don't know why I ever stopped using my ipod when I exercised. But once I incorporated it back into the picture, it really helped a lot!

So far, my tally for exercise this week is:

Tuesday: 60 minute yoga class
Wednesday: 20 minutes on the rebounder and 10 minutes of yoga
Thursday: 40 minute walk
Friday: 30 minute bike ride and a 25 minute walk
Saturday: 75 minute yoga class
Sunday: Mowed the lawn (does that count?) and 30 minutes on the rebounder.

The rebounder, for those who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, is a little mini-trampoline. It's actually really fun to use (Jasper likes it too) and is much easier on the joints than running or jogging. I've read that it is also one of the very best exercises you can do for your immune system because it really gets your lymphatic system going. Ready for a quick biology lesson? This was all news to me, so I'm betting it might be newsworthy to some of you as well.

The lymphatic system is a little bit like your circulatory system. But unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system is not closed and has no central pump (a heart) to keep things moving. It only moves because of exercise or muscle contraction. Within the lymph system are lymphocytes like white blood cells (which if you remember anything at all from biology are great little disease fighters). They consume metabolic waste, bacteria, and dead cells. One type of lymphocyte known as T-cells enters cancer cells and destroys them. Yes. Destroys them. Moderate exercise not only helps to increase the number of lymphocytes in your body, it keeps the lymph system moving and unplugged, so those little buggers can get busy and do their thing. And the lymph fluid also helps bring nutrients to your cells while taking away their waste. It's like a combined sanitation system/grocery delivery system for your cells. But you have to move your body to make it work.

I don't know about you, but I sure didn't remember anything about the lymph system from high school biology. It's not like you get a primer on body systems from the doctor when you get cancer either. It seems like this would be a useful thing to tell people, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kicking it back into gear

I haven't posted a blog entry for awhile because, well, frankly I sort of lost steam after my mother-in-law passed away in June. I originally started this blog as a means of, hopefully, providing her with some inspiration and ideas for staying healthy through cancer treatment, but she got sick so quickly that, I really don't think she even saw more than one or two of the posts, and I really didn't have much heart to keep writing.

I also lost some steam in other ways. Two years ago I was walking every day despite being robbed of energy from chemo, and I was downright enthusiastic for awhile about going to yoga three times a week as soon as I was healed from surgery. But it's funny how you can let those things slip away. This summer, I've been lucky to make it to yoga once a week. And as for walking? Well, lets just say that the dog gets ecstatic if I bring out the leash. Why do I let exercise fall by the wayside when things get busy? Why don't I make the time for it? I have seen and felt what a great cost cancer has. I know from all the research that I've done that exercise is one of the key links in keeping my own cancer from returning. I know I feel great when I do exercise, and when I don't get frequent exercise, all the little back pains I've experienced over the years start coming back!

There really is no excuse for it other than pure laziness. So, earlier today, I decided that I needed to be excited about exercise again. Maybe by putting my goal in writing for all the world to see will be the motivation I need to keep myself focused and kick myself back into gear. They say it takes about 3 days for something to become a habit. So lets see if I can make this a daily habit again. I'll let you know in 3 days!