Physical Activity -- Getting Started

Talk with your Healthcare Provider about safe ways to start an exercise program

  • Talk with your oncologist or general practitioner about your health and taking part in physical exercise
  • Start off slowly
Anonymous quote from breast cancer survivor, 1996: It used to take me about 1/2 hour to make the bed. I'd straighten a sheet then sit down and rest. Then pull up the blanket and sit down and rest. Everything was so hard... then, I'd walk 20 feet to the refrigerator. My friend had moved a chair next to the refrigerator so that I could sit while I opened the door and looked inside ... gradually, I was able to walk around the living room, then out the door into the front yard and just stand, then I walked to the mailbox .... Now I walk 1 mile a day. So, it does get better
Jared, let's add Ken Lone Elk or one of the other survivors who talk about physical activity here???
  • Start by wearing a pedometer

    How many Calories are Burned Per Minute for different activities?

    • Increase the number of daily steps by 500 more a day
    • 2000 to 2500 steps (depends on length of stride) = 1 mile = about 50 to 100 calories (varies by body size for how many calories you burn
    • Goal is 10,000 steps per day for health
    • When you take part in physical activities, you burn or use calories (energy).
    • Your body weight affects the number of calories burned for any activity (the more you weigh, the more you burn).
    • For some activities (e.g., drumming) you will need to estimate the calories burned from an activity that is similar.
    • The table below is an estimate of calories burned per minute for specific body weights.
    • Example: Jolene weighs 185 pounds
      • She will use the column for 190 pounds because it is the closest to her weight.
      • She and her daughter, Rosa, walk slowly so they can visit and talk while they walk. This is probably about 2 miles an hour.
      • According to the chart, Jolene is burning 3.6 calories per minute.
      • If they walk for 30 minutes, 3.6 times 30 minutes = 108 calories.

  • If you don't want to mess with a pedometer, try to walk for 3 minutes, and do these walks 3 to 5 times a day. Then increase the time to 5 minutes. Eventually work up to 30 minutes a day. Walking also is very good for bone strength and endurance.
  • Remember than many activities can replace or add to the walking. Preparing and cooking a meal, gardening, building a fire ... all are physical activities may take time before you feel able to do them comfortably.
  • Have a family member or friend take part in the physical activity with you. Having such a commitment makes most people feel more motivated and obligated to do the exercise.
  • Try different physical activities to see which ones you enjoy the most and also to work different muscles.
  • Take time to stretch before and after you exercise.
  • Find safe places to take part in physical activity
    • In an urban area, find a safe, well-lighted park or neighborhood
    • Some Reservations have safe, dedicated walking trails
    • In harsh weather, perhaps drive to a nearby shopping area (if feasible) and walk