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The effects of childhood cancer on nutrition and physical activity are different for everyone. Some survivors may have a hard time gaining weight and others may gain too much weight. How able you are to be physically active varies, too. Nonetheless, making good choices about what you eat and how often you are active has many benefits.
Eating right and getting regular exercise is good for your mind and body. The benefits include:
A healthy diet is one that is made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. It includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, too. It is also low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
Here are some tips for eating a healthy diet:
If you need to lose weight, talk with your health care team and a nutritionist. They can help you make a plan that works for you. Before starting a weight loss plan, ask yourself these questions to make sure it suits you:
Also, speak to your doctor before taking any herbal or dietary supplements. Not all of them are truly healthy.
The American Cancer Society recommends having a physically active lifestyle. This means that adults should be physically active for at least 30 minutes per day on five or more days of the week, doing activities such as brisk walking, riding a bike, and gardening. Children and adolescents should be active for at least 60 minutes per day at least five days per week, doing activities such as running, hopping, dancing, and swimming.
Short bursts of activity that are at least 10 minutes long count toward your physical activity goal. Here are some ways to become more active without going to the gym:
First you must decide what type of activity you want to do. When choosing an exercise plan, ask yourself these questions:
Here are some tips to get you going once you have an activity in mind:
Survivors with special needs can take part in most activities with the help of a physical or occupational therapist to adapt them. A social worker may be able to help find insurance coverage or other resources for special equipment. Also, you might find exercise programs for people with special needs at your healthcare center or in your community. For more information on physical activity and disability, visit the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability’s website at www.ncpad.org.
Talk with your doctor before you start an exercise plan or take part in a new sport or recreational activity. Based on your medical history, your doctor can let you know which activities you can safely do and which you should avoid.