Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Monday that he had begun "doing a little jogging" after his operation in February to deal with the reappearance of the cancer detected the previous June, and he denied that his health would be a factor in his campaign in the runup to the Oct. 7 presidential election.

"I firmly believe that that expression of physical limitations ... is not going to be a factor that's going to play a part in this campaign," said Chavez in his first press conference as an official candidate.

He insisted, however, that he is no longer the "Chavez of 40" and that he's "taking care" of himself.

"I'm going to turn 58 this next July 28. It's not that I'm old, but - well - the years (are there)," he said.

The leftist leader emphasized a few days ago that it was eight weeks ago that he finished the radiation therapy regimen he had had to undergo after his chemotherapy treatment to treat the cancer.

"Fortunately, thank God, here I am and each day I feel in better physical shape," Chavez emphasized.

"Yesterday I began to jog. I had been walking, doing exercises, but making good progress ... Walking, walking, strengthening my arms, my legs, I began to do a little jogging," Chavez added, going on to say that, if things go well for him, soon he would play in a baseball game.

"I think that truly there's not going to be - thank God and I ask God for it to be that way - any physical or mental limitation," he said.

Chavez announced on June 30, 2011, 20 days after being operated on in Havana for a pelvic abscess and 10 days after undergoing another operation to remove a cancerous tumor, that he had been diagnosed with cancer.

In early September and a few days after receiving his third round of chemotherapy, Chavez said that he had beaten the cancer.

However, in late February, he announced that he would have to undergo surgery again to remove a new tumor that had developed in the same region where the first one had been detected.

A week after that, the Venezuelan president said that he had had a recurrence of the cancer and that he would have to go through another series of radiation therapy treatments in Havana. EFE