Sunday, April 14, 2013

Guest Blogger: Physical Activity after Cancer

I recently connected with Melanie via Google + and was inspired by her passion for physical fitness inspired by her grandmother’s diagnosis with cancer.  She writes about the importance pursuing a physical fitness program after cancer. The purpose of my blog is to inspire different populations that face adversity and fight to overcome it using physical fitness. My main focus has been on Veterans since I am a Wounded Warrior but I am glad my blog can be used to inspire the large population that has fought and own the battle with cancer to pursue physical fitness programs.  FIRED UP!!!

Here is what she writes:

Surviving the Impossible: Physical Activity after Cancer

Getting physical exercise after cancer is an important step in your body's transformation. What cancer takes away from the body, physical activity and training can help recoup. It's been shown in studies that physical activity improves the body's chances to prevent cancer and heart disease. When cancer patients go through such harsh periods like mesothelioma treatment, physical activity can be the one thing that keeps their energy and wellbeing balanced. If you are just getting started with physical activity, there are some exercises and machines that you should really consider before jumping right in.

Start with What You Know
Most people understand physical activity from days in P.E. class, or playing a sport. Those same stretches, games and warm-ups can really help when you are trying to get your body back. Light stretches every day with a short walk or some low impact exercises like yoga or light strength training can really help you build the strength back into your bones, joints and muscles. As you continue to build upon your physical activities, you'll start to see changes in your body and recognize when you can move into more strenuous activities to help with dexterity, endurance, weight control and muscle mass.

Getting Exercise Every Day
You definitely want to train and do something each and every day that you can. Sometimes with cancer recovery, your body is so pushed to the limits that getting out of bed is just an activity. You should always talk to a physician when in recovery to ensure what is considered too much to push yourself to do. If possible, lifting weights in bed, doing stretches, yoga, tai chi and other low impact exercises will help each and every day that you do them. As you go forward, look for different workouts to keep you engaged that include swimming aerobics, rowing machines, cycling, elliptical machines, and even all-in-one machines.

How Will Exercise Help Cancer Patients?
Much of what cancer breaks down in your body needs to be replaced. When you start to lift weights and get physically active, your body will adjust its energy levels and even produce endorphins, which will make working out much easier. It's been proven that physical activity can change the body and improve even mental wellbeing. As cancer is just as much a mental challenge as it is physical, physical activity also provides a sense of focus for the mind. It's something that has helped many cancer patients stay strong during and after treatment.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Celebrating my "Alive Day" on April 9th

Today is my “Alive Day”. Nine years ago today in the early morning hours of April 9th , 2004 I was wounded in AL Kut, Iraq (Read more here)  while leading my scout platoon in an attack against an enemy held bridge.  Recovering from the injury was a crucible event for me. Due to the nature of the injury I never regained my full speed and endurance. Over time I came to grips with that and was happy that I was still able to compete in endurance events.
The pictures show a map and picture of Bridge 3 East in Al Kut which was my platoons objective, and a picture of me shortly after the fight.

In combat you can get lost in the “Fog of War”if you do not keep focused on what is important. A person can get lost in the “Fog” as well if they do not focus on what is important in overcoming adversity and injury. For me, the ‘Fog” was trying to regain my speed. That was not what was important. What was important was that I was still able to run and that I had my family, unit, and community to support me. 

This morning I woke up and celebrated life by working out. Physical fitness, especially endurance events helps me keep a positive attitude and is a great way to burnoff negative energy. The role physical fitness has played in my life, especially in my recovery has been HUGE.  Physical fitness, especially endurance events helps me keep a positive attitude and is a great way to burn off negative energy. It helps keep me focused on what is important, helps keep my mind clear and helps bring clarity when things get "Foggy”.

When I woke up this morning and reflected on the events from nine years ago I was inspired by the actions of my soldiers that morning as they fought hard for each other and this country. Those memories motivated me to push myself hard during the workout.

Toujours Pret!! (Always Ready- My units motto)