The science on exercise and cancer is the strongest of any of the lifestyle therapies. Exercise is vital, but Moving More includes stretching, movement therapies such as qigong, and the movements of everyday life.
I have found that Moving More is one of the most powerful and subtle of our 7 Healing Practices. Most people will think Moving More automatically means exercise. Yes, exercise is vital, but Moving More also includes stretching, movement therapies such as qigong, and sensing into the ways your body wants to move.
There are also all the movements of everyday life that can be undertaken more consciously. Washing the dishes. Doing laundry. Sweeping the floor. These can even be a form of meditation.
We’re born to move. Babies move from the moment they are born. Our culture often discourages movement. We sit at computers, at desks, in cars, at meetings. In front of screens. We weren’t designed for a sedentary life. We gain weight. We lose muscle tone. We don’t feel as well, sleep as well—and soon we don’t move as well either.
Most people, asked to guess the best healing practices for cancer, would likely put diet first, support groups second, and Moving More somewhere further down the line. In fact, says Julia Rowland, founding director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, the science on exercise and cancer is the strongest of any of the lifestyle therapies.
Like all the 7 Healing Practices, Moving More works best in combination with the rest. Studies of women with breast cancer showed some benefit from a healthier diet, some benefit from exercise, but a big jump in benefit when exercise and a good diet are combined.
Moving More is not just about exercise. Qigong, tai chi, yoga, and other movement therapies can also be beneficial. They may be more accessible if you are physically limited. There is a benefit from exercising or movement in nature. Being in nature is one of the great healing practices. Some cultures practice “nature baths” as a profound force for healing.
The thing about exercise—and the movement therapies—is that you don’t have to be a triathlete to benefit. Even a short walk helps. You can build up slowly. Find the form of exercise or movement that you really enjoy. Dance, or a sport you love, or just walking your dog.
So move more. Try it.
Wishing you well,
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