A story in yesterday's New York Times, Cancer Survivors Who Exercise Live Longer, cites new research showing that exercise reduces the risk of premature death from cancer and other causes.
This is comforting news to those of us who already exercise and a get-up call to those who don't. Studies show that you don't need to start a vigorous exercise program: Walking will be fine.
People commenting on this story in the Well section pointed out that exercise is not a panacea, writing that they knew people who exercised and died anyway. I was in the hospital when four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher died of leukemia at age 51 in 2006. A pall came over the pod as the news came over the TV. How could someone so young and healthy die?
Yes it's no guarantee. But for those who are able to do even some walking, it definitely can't hurt.
I have viewed my exercising as part of my therapy of getting healthy and back to normal. People who know me point out that I often over-do it, which is true. It's counterproductive because then you just end up tired. I am working on finding a balance.
Of course for years experts have stressed the benefits of eating well and staying active. When I was diagnosed in 2003, I was stunned. I did everything they said to do, and still, I got cancer.
Exercising didn't protect me, but it did help me get through everything they threw at me. My doctors said that because I was otherwise healthy, they were confident I would emerge from the treatment just fine.
So there are good reasons to keep on carrying on, or in my case, swinging that tennis racquet.