A resolution worth sticking to
A resolution worth sticking to
By Jo Taylor
There are many New Year resolutions made at the beginning of every year. We see it time and time again. A huge push on diet and exercise, yet how many actually fulfil their own wishes and dreams and stick to what they 'promise' to do?
I have always exercised in various ways, aerobics and going to the gym mainly over the years, but after my first child I wondered how I could fit in fitness without it taking up too much time. started running as it was an easy and less costly way of exercising; you simply step out of your door and run! No waiting around for anything or anyone. I built up a healthy distance of 8 miles a run.
After getting pregnant with my second child, I obviously had to stop running for a while through my pregnancy. Then, just before I got back in to the swing of things with exercise and getting back to running, I was thrown the devastating news of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
It completely threw me and frustrated me with the excess weight, especially when on treatments with steroids, chemo, Herceptin and Tamoxifen. After I finished my radiotherapy I tried to run again and I was sorely disappointed at how hard it was. My body has never been the same.
I waited another 6 months, found a running buddy who also wanted to start running and so we started training together. It was real hard work, harder than I thought it would ever be. We would run 2 miles in total and I would stop every other lamp post. It took a good 6 months to progress, but we stuck with it and started going further. Unfortunately, my friend then moved out of the area and we were no longer able to run together, but I then mentioned this to another friend who had said she wanted to start to run. It was New Year 2011 and it was her New Year’s resolution.
I dragged Liz out in the first week of 2011 (in the drizzle) and we haven't looked back since. We built our runs up, running 13k but now do on average 3 x 10k runs a week. I never thought I'd be able to continue running like we have. We rarely miss a run - sun, rain or snow, were always there. I have also bought a treadmill but do find it so much easier getting out into the fresh air and with a friend. Having a buddy helps so much with your motivation. It's still really hard work and I know my fitness isn't like it was post breast cancer, but I just have to accept that and carry on.
Another treatment I was on was Zolodex for 2.5 years. I had terrible hot flushes and menopausal symptoms, but I feel that exercise has also helped me cope with these symptoms & helps with my mood. I'm not saying running is for everyone and I hated it at school and never thought I'd be able to do this so there you go! If you are there now thinking 'I can't do that' - yes, you really can, the only person holding you back is you. If I can do it ANYONE can.
As well as running, the exercise I am very passionate about is mountain biking. I try to get out once a week and again usually go out with another friend. Charlotte had breast cancer over 10 years ago and she also believes in the power of exercise. If anyone can't run due to joint problems, then cycling is much gentler on the body (unless you have hills like where I live!)
I also try to do yoga once a week. Another friend, Angela runs a class so I pop along and it gives that necessary time out and focus as well as helping to get the mind and body in shape. It's beneficial for breast cancer patients and can help with the immune system, lymphatic system etc.
I am so lucky to live in an area of real beauty (yes with big hills!) which inspires me to get out there, but I find great pleasure being able to just put my trainers on, walk out of the front door and know that in an hour I'll be back, sweating and tired, but knowing that I have done something that may help to keep cancer at bay.
I also love to post pictures of where I have cycled and I hope that this has possibly inspired some people to take up exercise. I post these regular on my twitter feed and facebook account. Please, please try and give exercise a go. I can guarantee you won't regret the decision as the health benefits are huge.
Of course running, cycling or yoga may not be your 'thing' but there are plenty of other exercise classes and things to do even just walking and getting a pedometer. Joining a gym may be your thing, or exercise classes. There are lots of options out there and lots of groups where you will find a welcome and common ground. Please take time to try them and find something that you love and feel motivated to do. That way you will stick to it and it won't be a 'chore'.
Exercise is the ONE message I'm hearing loud and clear in the news and in reports about cancer and breast cancer time and time again. As I've mentioned, I'm positive exercise has helped me and not just to help with keeping weight off and oestrogen levels at an even keel, but even with my mental health. It gives you a boost and really does make you feel better and gives you a HUGE sense of achievement.
Here are some reports and information about exercise and its benefits:-
By the way, let me know if you start exercising and how you get on! I would love to know.
Happy New Year and hope 2014 brings you many health benefits of exercise as well as fun and happiness!
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