Becoming the Best U: Advice on exercise, gifts and self care

By Nancy Plummer, Columnist, The Times

Question: I stopped exercising during Covid, and I want to get back into shape, but don’t know where to begin. Do you have any suggestions?

Dana – West Chester

Answer: I always tell my clients who are getting back into exercising to turn it into a social experience, so they look forward to it. Depending on your budget, physical limitations, and time allowance, come up with a list of physical activities you’ve enjoyed in the past, and may be up for trying now. Invite a friend, spouse, or family member to join you. A budget-friendly option is a walk in the neighborhood or scenic park. If you work better with a routine, focus on finding a fitness class so you can attend classes regularly, but be sure to try a few before you make any commitment. Whether it’s yoga, tennis, rock climbing, spin or karate, there are classes morning, noon, and night to fit all schedules. If you can’t or don’t want to ask someone to join you, look into Meetup groups in your area. If you have limited time availability and enjoy the idea of working out at home, consider a Pelaton bike or any interactive home workout equipment. It’s amazing how social online workouts can be nowadays; with streaming live classes or on-demand. A good goal to set for yourself is 2-3 hours of cardio-focused exercise a week plus two days of strength training whether that’s with weights or resistance. Whatever activities you decide to try, just have fun and be consistent and you’ll get back into shape in no time! 

Question: I just started chemo and am overwhelmed by all the well-wishers who have been dropping off food, that I can’t even eat. I know they mean well, and I am grateful, but their dinners and desserts are not what I need right now. What should I do?

Emily – King of Prussia

Answer: I’m so sorry you’re having to go through treatment right now. And yes, your well-wishers want to help, but have no idea what to do; thus, they are doing what is customary when someone gets sick. However, with cancer, there are so many diet restrictions and a challenged appetite, to put it mildly. My suggestion in this situation is to have one of your loved ones call each person to thank them and gracefully ask them for specific help instead. Whether it’s cooking a certain recipe you can eat, or doing the grocery shopping, driving you to chemo sessions, or doing the laundry, you probably have a good sense of what each of your supporters would be willing and happy to do for you. Going through cancer is a very humbling experience, a time when most of us learn we need to rely on others more than ever. I still remember calling a friend to ask if she could be my fallback to take me to chemo when my daughter couldn’t be there. She shared last month with me she had felt so honored I had asked her for help. And, my gift came when after my remission, one of my dear friends asked me to help her pick out her new wigs. Good luck with your treatments and I’ll be saying prayers for you.

Question: I’m turning 55 in a few months. In the past, I have celebrated my birthday by spending money on something special for myself. My feeling is that this is the perfect time for me to focus on my skin and to reduce my lines and wrinkles. I’ve tried many different products, but I really haven’t seen any significant difference. Do you know of any non-invasive treatments I could try? I really want to stay away from Botox or fillers.

Cathy – Paoli

Answer: Happy Birthday Cathy! I commend you for splurging on yourself and suggest you look into medical spas for your treatments. A medical spa offers a broad range of services that are backed by a physician. Each medical spa offers different treatments and options, so it’s important to do your research carefully to find one that offers procedures which align with your skin care goals and needs. My clients with similar concerns have had positive experiences with Microneedling with Radio Frequency, which reduces fine lines, wrinkles, pores and acne scars, while plumping up your skin and evening out your complexion and TriPollar with radio frequency, which is great for face contouring, skin tightening, and wrinkles too. These are just two examples of treatments you may want to consider. Also, remember that all of these non-surgical treatments are not a one-and-done deal; each treatment is part of a long-term process. Most important is to schedule a free consultation with one of their estheticians who can put together a personalized treatment plan with you that fits your skincare needs and budget. Here’s to you for giving yourself a wonderful birthday gift!


Nancy is a survivor of stage 4 ovarian cancer, metastatic brain cancer, plus many other traumatic events. As a Wellness & Relationship Coach, she offers sage advice on ways to accept and navigate life’s challenges, and help you become the best you.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment