health

'When I had cancer, I never thought I'd be fit again. Now, I'm doing The March Charge.'

Cancer Council
Thanks to our brand partner, Cancer Council

I remember the first time I felt really truly grateful for my body. 

I was in hospital having chemotherapy. Watching the toxic yet life-saving chemicals pump down through the tubes and into my veins. I wrapped my arms around myself, closed my eyes, and felt connected and grateful to my body in a way I’d never felt before.

I realised that this was my one precious vehicle for life, and it was doing everything it could to fight the good fight.

I remember making a promise to my body to look after it in the future, and never again take it for granted. 

But you know it’s all well and good to make big bold promises to yourself in dramatic life-altering moments. Sticking to those lofty notions however can be tough.

I’m so fortunate to be in remission and out the other side of my cancer experience, but I’ve really struggled to find the motivation and time to exercise regularly now life has returned ‘to normal’.

Let’s be honest, we can all be pretty great at finding excuses to avoid exercise. So I was excited to learn about Cancer Council’s The March Charge, which is a really fun way to inspire you to walk, run and get that body moving in March while raising money for cancer research.

You can also do any other activity you like such as yoga, dancing, hiking or swimming – anything you can track by GPS, so you know how many kilometres you’re doing. And you can get your family and friends to sponsor you or make a team and join in together.

Because here is the crazy thing. 

One third of all cancers can be prevented.

I’ll say that again. One third of all cancers can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle, which means exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight. Trust me as someone who has been through chemotherapy and has been fortunate enough to make a full recovery, if you can give it a miss, you really want to. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

In fact, 37,000 cancer cases in Australia could be avoided by prevention alone every year.

The March Charge can kickstart your fitness motivation.

"I had a mindset shift and realised I could actually do this." Image: Supplied.
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Until recently I’d felt really stuck when it came to exercise. There was some kind of block to me beginning, but The March Charge has made me realise it’s just about making a start. It inspired me to go for a nice long beach walk and jog a section of it. It was nothing major and, yes, I might have gotten a stitch, but it unlocked something for me. I had a mindset shift and realised I could actually do this. That this could just be something I slowly build towards.

Learning about The March Charge has made me realise that exercise is not an optional extra in life - love it or hate it, you’ve just got to do it if you want to give your body the best chance of being healthy and well.

How much exercise do you need to reduce your risk of cancer?

To decrease your cancer risk, it’s recommended that you aim for at least one hour of moderate exercise or half an hour of vigorous exercise every day in conjunction with maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet.

Even the best New Year's Resolutions are normally fading by this time of year, so there's really no better way to kickstart your health plan than with a goal to help raise funds for an amazing cause.

How to get involved.

"The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step." - Lao Tzu. Image: Supplied.

You can do it by yourself or grab a friend or a team. First sign up and register here, then you set your own walk or run goals (or whatever measurable fitness goal you choose).

Next, you can promote it and tell everyone you know, to get their support in telling cancer where to go. Then Charge through March and track your progress.

Tips to keep you going.

Make it fun.

That might mean doing it with a partner, friend or a group. For me, I’ve enjoyed exercising by myself and slowly building on the day before. I’ve been keeping track of what I do by writing down how far I walk and jog each day in the front of my diary. Seeing the progress makes me feel really motivated. 

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Schedule it.

Research shows we are far more likely to follow through with exercise if we have actually scheduled the time and place this will happen. So, at the start of the week I’ve been writing when and where I’ll do my exercise and pinning it on my wall. It makes it so much easier to follow through.

Set prompts.

I’ve made this little reminder on my wall to get me thinking about how important moving my body and nourishing it each day is. 

“How are you showing your body some love today?” Image: Supplied.

Reframe.

Even when you think it’s tough or you don’t feel like it. Just think, 'How lucky am I that I get to do this today? How amazing that my body is capable of doing this?'

Remember to love your body 

As I think back to that first day sitting in the chair at the hospital and beginning chemotherapy, it really did make me wake up to what a gift our bodies are (even when we feel like they’ve backfired on us).

It’s easy to forget how extraordinary our bodies are and forget to appreciate what they allow us to do. It’s the only body we’ll ever get so why don’t we celebrate them more and show them the love by getting moving with The March Charge. You’ll be reducing your cancer risk, getting fit and helping raise vital funds for cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support, so we can all tell cancer where to go.

Want to be a part of my team? Join Briony Benjamin's Crew and we can do The March Charge together.

For more information on Cancer Council's The March Charge, visit themarchcharge.com.au.

Feature image: Supplied.
Cancer Council

Join The March Charge, fundraise for Cancer Council, reduce your cancer risk and feel the Charge you get when you tell cancer where to go. Funds raised will support Cancer Council’s lifesaving cancer research, vital information and support services and cancer prevention programs to reduce cancer in the community.
Sign up today to be a Charger at www.themarchcharge.com.au/mamamia

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