The Health Benefits of Walking for Cancer Survivors

“Walking is so simple that everyone can do it,” says Austin. “Plus it has tremendous benefits, from supporting a healthy immune system to boosting your metabolism to strengthening your joints, muscles, and bones—not to mention it’s amazing for stress relief and enjoying a little ‘me time.’” Here’s what else you can expect when you start walking for just a half hour every day—that’s less time than it takes to listen to one album on your ear buds!—most days of the week.”

Walking is hands down one of the best things you can do for your health, especially as a cancer survivor. Going for walks is an everyday activity that most take for granted, but the benefits of walking shouldn't be taken lightly.

Cancer takes a toll on the entire body, and recovery often requires a balance of rest, proper diet, and activity. Walking is a simple activity that works wonders for the body and aids in the healing process. As you take steps to restore your body to optimal health, consider taking up walking and watch your body reap the following benefits:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Walking is key to a strong, healthy heart. Your cardiovascular system supplies your body with the vital oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Walking gets your blood pumping which helps work both your heart and lungs. As your heart and lungs take in oxygen, the rest of your body gets a boost in oxygen flow. Over time, walking can strengthen the heart and help it transport nutrients more effectively throughout the body.

If you’re not ready for high-intensity workouts or strength training, walking is a great way to burn calories while doing a low-impact activity. Walking can also be modified to suit your level of endurance. If you are just starting your recovery journey, walking slowly can help you rebuild your stamina. After a few weeks of consistent aerobic activity, you should feel a difference in your breathing and ability to walk the same route with more ease.

Prevent and Manage Chronic Conditions

Walking does more than improve heart health; it also helps with managing chronic health conditions. Issues like high blood pressure (hypertension), joint and muscle pain, diabetes, and high cholesterol all can be improved and managed by an increase in aerobic activity. If you want to prevent chronic health issues before they impact your life, start walking!

Improved Mood

On the days when you're feeling down, walking can boost your mood. Walking increases oxygen intake, which helps the body release endorphins. When these feel-good hormones are released, you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Rest and relaxation are integral parts of recovery that walking can help facilitate. After your walk, take a few moments to stretch, rehydrate, and allow your body to cool down to reach a restful state.

Recovery can be filled with ups and downs, but if you are proactive about boosting your emotional well-being, walking can help ease feelings of depression or anxiety. The more you walk, the more positive effects you will feel.

Weight Management

Like other forms of cardio, walking helps you maintain a healthy weight because it burns calories. Exercise doesn't have to be complicated to help you stay fit. Whether you’d like to shed a few pounds or maintain your weight, walking can help you reach your fitness goals. Getting serious about weight management will help you gain clarity on your health goals as you recover.

Improved Overall Health

In addition to these benefits, walking is linked to decreased joint pain, a lowered risk for breast cancer, and boosted immunity. In a nutshell, walking is good for the mind, body, and spirit. Make it a point to get moving every day and watch your well-being improve. 

Grab a comfortable pair of running shoes and head out to your favorite trail, or hop on the treadmill and walk to the sound of your favorite song. Whichever way you decide to get your steps in, know that each step is one in the right direction!

Row Row Row ...Your Rowing Machine

From FitnessRepublic.com  |  By Bethany McIlrath


Excerpt: “Many gym-goers tend to focus on just a few common pieces of equipment, like the treadmill, the elliptical, or free weights. The rowing machine, however, gets woefully overlooked and is rarely incorporated into one’s regular fitness regime. Combining both cardio and strength training, the rowing machine is one of the most efficient, low-impact exercises out there.”

For a sample 20-minute rowing workout from shape.com, click here.

Rebuilding your body after battling and defeating cancer is no small feat. However, using a rowing machine to strengthen your body can help you reach your health and fitness goals in no time! Known as ergometers, rowing machines measure the performance of your body as you exercise so you can assess how much effort you exert during your workout.

Believe it or not, rowing is an excellent way to burn calories. There’s a reason why competitive rowers are in such good shape – rowing works both your cardiovascular system and your muscles. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional rower to see some of the same amazing results.

Rowing For Cardiovascular Health

Rowing boasts wonderful benefits for your heart and lungs. After strenuous health issues, the body needs physical activity to assist in the healing process. Rowing is a great stepping stone to more difficult workouts because it suits people of all fitness levels. What’s more, ergometers are adjustable and can be set to a comfortable level for cardio novices.

When it comes to cardio, few exercises get the heart pumping like rowing. Rowing works both the heart and lungs because it forces the heart to work harder to transport larger volumes of blood through the body. The cardiovascular system transports oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and organs, so heart-strengthening workouts are essential to helping the body function optimally.

Intense workouts, like rowing, can be very beneficial for individuals at risk for issues that threaten heart health.

Rowing is Both Effective and Low-Impact

Rowing machines are great for low-impact workouts. Rowing is known for torching calories, but it does so without placing stress on joints. Another great benefit of a low-impact workout is it affords you control over your pace and range of movement – making it a great active recovery exercise. Unlike high-impact exercises like running, rowing can actually help gradually improve joint function.

Rowing Workouts to Build Muscle

If your goal is to look and feel your best, rowing should be part of your regular workout routine. Many people believe that rowing only works the arms when in reality, it works out your entire body. Rowing machines offer a workout for both the upper and lower body, toning and strengthening your muscles and increasing endurance.

A round on a rowing machine targets these major muscle groups:

  • Glutes
  • Calves
  • Quadriceps

If you want to see more definition in your arms, pectorals, abs, and obliques, rowing helps in those areas, as well. Rowing engages your legs when you’re pushing off from the foot base, also known as the drive portion of the stroke. In short, rowing can help transform your body from head to toe. 

Rowing Helps With Mind-Body Connection

Exercise of any kind promotes the release of endorphins – the feel-good hormones that decrease stress. Lower stress levels mean better mental and physical health, which is key to healing the body after a battle with cancer. Use rowing as a way to fuel your mind-body connection, making sure to focus on each phase of the rowing stroke as you perform the exercise to feel great inside and out.

As your endurance improves, so will your cardiovascular and muscular health. Hit the gym or order a personal rowing machine to use in the comfort of your own home to start seeing the results you desire. You can start slow and gradually increase the intensity to suit your activity level, using rowing as a stepping stone back to peak health.

How Hiking Is Good for Body and Mind

From WebMD.com  |  By Kara Mayer Robinson

Excerpt: "Hiking outdoors has plenty of perks: nice views, fresh air, and the sounds and smells of nature. It's good for you, too. Benefits include

  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Stronger core
  • Improved balance
  • Mood boost: "Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety," says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. "Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that."

For the complete article, click here.

Sean Cowan, Going the Distance

Sean Cowan, a longtime Mission Ambassador, Ultra Marathon Runner and Survivor is taking great strides to raise awareness and funding of the programming provided by Mission to cancer survivors everywhere.  Sean is an advocate of running as a healthy means of staying active and connecting with others at any level.  To join Sean's running group locally or virtually click on the link provided and connect with others who wish to put some miles behind them.

Mission Running Group with Sean Cowan

Want to really get moving? Go to sleep.

From Shape.com  |  By Adam Bornstein

Excerpt: " Even with the very best diet and fitness routine, if sleep is off, you're wrecked. Here's why: No matter what your fitness goals are, having some muscle on your body is important. But sleep (or lack thereof) is the enemy of muscle. Scientists from Brazil found that sleep debt decreases protein synthesis (your body's ability to make muscle), causes muscle loss, and can lead to a higher incidence of injuries. Just as important, lack of sleep makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormone—your natural source of anti-aging and fat burning that also facilitates recovery."

For the complete article, "Why Sleep Is the No. 1 Most Important Thing for a Better Body," click here.

Don't Just Sit There

From Harvard Health Publications | By Julie Corliss

“According to a study about the health hazards of sitting too much, more than half of the average person's waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, commuting, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. But all that sitting could be sending us to an early grave-even those folks who exercise up to an hour a day, say the Canadian researchers who did the study.

The health hazards of not moving much are wide ranging, says Dr. Joanne Foody, who directs the Cardiovascular Wellness Center at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. ‘While we often think of the dangers of inactivity in terms of worsening cardiovascular health, there are a myriad of negative effects,’ she says. The current study documented higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people. An unrelated study has linked more sitting and less activity with an increased risk of developing dementia.”

For the complete article, click here.

Some Like it Cold

Say it with us: winter is here. For some of us that means it’s time to hide inside until the days are a little longer and the flowers are in bloom. But did you know that spending time outside in the cold can be really, really good for your health? You do now.

Rethink Rural wrote about five reasons we should spend some time out in the cold during fall and winter.

Cold air helps us sleep better, boosting immunity

Nearly every doctor, scientist and health expert agrees, the best natural remedy for boosting immunity is NOT mega-doses of vitamin C or more Echinacea, it’s getting enough sleep. At least 8 hours a night to be exact. Sadly, Americans are chronically deprived of sleep, sleeping 30-45 minutes less per night than other nations. Though sleep aids and therapies may have their place, one of the best ways to ensure a quality night’s sleep is to open a window and let in the cool, fresh air. Why? Before it’s time to sleep, your body temperature naturally drops, signaling your sleep system. And, as this University of Pittsburg study concluded, cooler temperatures help your brain wind down to sleep.

 Cold temperatures can help you burn more fat and calories

As reported by the Endocrine Society, long-term exposure to mildly cooler temperatures can help your body produce more beneficial brown fat leading to enhanced metabolism. Brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue, is a beneficial type of fat that burns energy and glucose to produce heat. It is prevalent in babies and small animals, and helps protect from diabetes and obesity.

Cold temperatures can help reduce inflammation

Just like an ice pack helps soothe strained or sore muscles, science says cold temperatures can help reduce exercise-induced inflammation. Olympians have reported to use the extreme cooling technique known as cryotherapy to help them recover faster and alleviate soreness.

Cold fresh air supports a healthy respiratory system and encourages exercise

In the winter months pollen counts and pollution are naturally lower. If you have children who suffer from bronchial issues, the winter can be a perfect time for them to get outdoors more and breathe in all the benefits of fresher, cleaner air. Likewise, those who suffer from seasonal allergies (or just can’t take the summer heat) are more likely to benefit from outdoor exercise in the winter, when pollens and humidity are at their lowest. As we’ve written about before, outdoor exercise has numerous advantages compared to indoor exercise including enhanced calorie burning, stress-reduction and increased small tendon and muscle strengthening.

Acute exposure to cold has an immunostimulating effect

It seems counter-intuitive, but acute exposure to cold air actually revs up your body’s defenses. How the heck does this work? When your body gets hit with a blast of cold air, like during a brisk walk or outdoor playdate, it perceives this as a stress and temporarily increases its natural killer cells to compensate.”

So whether you’re hitting the slopes, going for a hike, or just taking the dog for a walk, getting outside during the cold winter months can have a seriously good impact on your health. How are you getting outside?

Essential WFH Workouts

For many of us, a workout has always been part of our daily routine. But now, those daily schedules are anything but routine. It’s unlikely that we’re in the gym on the way to work or getting together with a group to play basketball, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find ways to stay in shape, all from the comforts of home.

Sharp Magazine put together eight exercises we can do while we work from home (or while we’re on the go, watching TV, almost any time). Here are our six favorites, we love them because you don’t need a single piece of equipment — besides your body.


You know it, you hate it, but there’s a reason it’s the first on our list. Pushups activate every muscle in your body. Start with your chest nearly touching the floor, then push upwards, keeping your head, glutes, and heels in a straight line. Fifty daily reps will go a long way.


Start in a standing position, take one huge step forward, then lower your upper body until your knee is at a 90-degree bend. Repeat with the opposite leg. Your glutes and calves will thank you later. 


High school teachers used to use wall squats as punishment, but they’re phenomenal for your thighs. With your back flat and your feet hip-width apart, lower yourself until your knees bend at 90 degrees. Hold it for a minute — if you can.


If you could hold it for longer than a minute, you’re some kind of hero – but a minute will suffice in helping you work your way to a six-pack. The plank is a core strength exercise that strengthens your spine and abdominal muscles – it should be an essential part of your at-home workout routine. 


A side plank is similar to a regular plank in terms of setup and benefits. In a side plank, form matters a little more. Make sure your hips are in line with the rest of your body for a more intense muscle stretch.


If you’re looking to burn fat, the burpee is your friend . A cardio-forward full-body exercise that’ll help you look #shredded without leaving your bedroom.”

If you’re looking to get some work in while working from home, you’ll do well to create a regimen using these bodyweight exercises. You’ll see results without ever leaving home.

Creating an Exercise Routine for Cancer Patients

Recently, the benefits of exercising both during and after cancer treatments has begun to be promoted by oncologists and their teams. Some studies have shown it can fight treatment-related fatigue and even help improve the chance at survival for some.

Beginning to work out with cancer can be tricky, it’s not as simple as going for a run or lifting some weights. Cancer.net put together five tips for starting an exercise routine.

1. Learn about the physical activity recommendations.

For adults, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. The guidelines also recommend 2 days of full-body strength training.

2. Use a variety of exercises.

There are different types of exercise. An effective exercise plan will include a variety of types of exercise to have the best benefit for the whole body.  

  •   Aerobic training. Activities like walking and running are great aerobic exercise. But activities of daily living (ADLs), such as laundry, bathing, dressing, or cooking, may be your starting point.
  •   Resistance training. Although resistance training is one of the most important types of exercises during and after cancer treatment, it’s not done enough. Movements such as standing up from a chair or toilet, climbing stairs, and carrying grocery bags all require muscle. Resistance exercise, which can help reduce fatigue and improve body function, will make these tasks easier.
  •   Core training. Core training is the basis of movement. The muscles around the middle of your body, from just under the ribs to a few inches below where your hip bends, are your core. These muscles are used in every single movement your body makes, even rolling over in bed.

3. Train for your life by using functional fitness.

Think about the movements that you need to accomplish in your life and train for them. For example, if you need to bring laundry from one level of your home to the next, start by moving an empty laundry basket or small pile of towels multiple times to activate the needed muscles. If you find it difficult to carry groceries, train with a sack that has just a few small canned goods.

4. Remember to refuel your tank.

Hydration and food, especially protein, is key to recovery after exercise and resistance training. Exercise also has a powerful role in improving the quality of sleep, which also aids recovery. If your body cannot recover properly from new physical exertion, it can be harder to stick with your exercise program.

5. Find an accountability partner.

Another way to make your exercise program consistent is to tell someone close to you what your exercise plan is. Then, empower that person to encourage you by asking you about it regularly, or even join you. Share your goals and ask them what theirs are.”

These tips can make it easier to create and stick to a better-for-you exercise routine. The key is to find workouts that are relevant to the specific life and battle of each cancer patient and go from there.