HCA Midwest Health - April 21, 2022

Wellness, better described as an ongoing, proactive, and individual strategy to live your best life, is essential to living the highest quality of life after a cancer diagnosis.

Wellness does not mean that you have to be done with cancer treatment or need to manage any chronic health conditions. Living a wellness lifestyle means making daily choices to eat a plant-forward, minimally processed diet, have a planned exercise regimen that includes muscle-building exercises, and regularly incorporate relaxing and enjoyable activities into your day.

For individuals impacted by cancer, having components of wellness in your life has been proven to reduce many cancer-related side effects such as fatigue or anxiety. Including wellness strategies into your cancer care plan has also been proven to impact your life quality and quantity of life. A recent study in the Journal of Oncology showed that patients treated in cancer programs with a comprehensive wellness program have up to 48% improved survival.

The Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health comprehensive wellness program is staffed by patient-focused wellness coordinators who meet in person or via phone with patients and caregivers. We provide individualized wellness strategies for all cancer types and stages. This program is free for patients of Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health.

These 7 simple wellness tips can help you to live your highest quality of life.

  1. Move every hour you are awake. Reducing physical inactivity is essential to maintaining strength, energy, mental health, and resilience. Complete 15 sit-to-stands from your chair, or if you prefer to remain seated, complete 30 chair marches. The larger your range of motion, the more energy you will gain! Walk around your home for one minute (set a timer and work to increase this time!), or try pointing and flexing your feet 25 times while watching some Netflix
  2. Increase your protein intake. Protein helps fuel your muscles and helps your body repair from surgeries or treatments. Make sure you get protein at each of your meals and snacks with a combination of plant-based (such as beans), dairy (Greek yogurt or eggs), or animal (look for leaner choices of chicken or pork.)
  3. Build your muscles. Lean muscle is essential to your physical function, strength, and balance. It also helps to reduce pain by supporting your joints and bones. Try some countertop push-ups on your kitchen counter every morning to improve your chest, arm, and core strength.
  4. Take some deep breaths. Relaxation breathing helps you reduce stress and is also beneficial when you are trying to get some zzzzzs! Place one hand on your chest and the other on top of your belly button (while seated or lying down.) Your belly hand should move as you breathe deep but not your chest. Complete at least 10 cycles of breath.
  5. Listen to music. Music can be energizing or relaxing. Need an uplifter? Play some high-energy music to dance, walk or exercise. Need to calm your mind, try some ambient music and find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  6. Watch a funny animal video! Some studies have shown that a bit of time spent every day in four-legged cuteness can improve your mood and boost your resilience. Check out some online content or TV shows for some uplifting downtime!
  7. Start each day with water! Water is vital to your body's function and makes up about 70% of your cells. We actually lose up to one liter of water during sleep through respiration and automatically start our day being a bit dehydrated. Try to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day and ramp up your flavor with lemons, drink flavoring packets, or make a new type of tea. Watch for things with added sweeteners and stick to calorie-free options, especially if you are watching your weight or blood sugar!

Try one or more of these tips to improve your wellness today! Reach out to the wellness team directly for more individual guidance at cancerwellness@hcamidwest.com.