Breaking Bread: Let's Rise Together

By SUSAN GILCHRIST, M.D., M.S.

I have been hearing the analogy “breaking bread” to represent time with community a lot recently, and I love this, especially as a representation for our cancer community.  Upon first hearing this, I thought “What does bread have to do with anything?”  Of course it tastes good and smells good, may remind us of our family or culture, or perhaps be associated with our favorite cooking show, pastime, or all of the above.  

Our relationship with bread may be dynamic but at its center, the sharing of bread epitomizes community. When I talk to my patients about their activity and fitness goals, it usually comes down to maintaining their ability to share and to thrive in their community. Often, they want to walk or run again with their friends, go on a hiking trip in the mountains, or even just feel strong enough to attend a party and not feel the weight - of this thing - cancer. They want to break bread with their community, whether that comes in the form of actually sitting down to a meal, or, more typically, to participating in the activities that they did before their cancer diagnosis.

To this point, the people that sit at your table, your support system, may be friends, family, trainers, internet friends you connected with via your shared diagnosis, or even strangers whose faces you see every morning on your daily walk or every time that you visit the hospital clinic.  This community is at the heart of making it through cancer treatment and also getting back to an active lifestyle.  

I encourage you to find and invite people into your activity community – ask a friend to go for a walk, join a group yoga class, check out your town’s parks and rec center activities, take a group lesson to learn a new low impact activity such as tai chi. Prior research shows that individuals that come together in groups are more likely to increase physical activity. In addition, just getting up and ‘moving’ has been shown to reduce risk of death from cancer. There are many possibilities towards creating your community, your people to be active with and to also literally break bread with. 

Who helps you ‘move’ in your life? How can Outcomes4Me support you and your community to stay active? Comment below!