I received a request to share exercise information for cancer patients through this blog. I’m pleased to do so and hope that the information provided by the author is helpful and motivating to all those fighting cancer. Having lost both of my parents to differing forms of cancer, I know the day-to-day struggles that can be barriers to using exercise as a tool to beat the disease. Now, here is the article….
Staying Active When You Have A Million Excuses Not To
Benefits of exercise for cancer patients
Cancer patients have more than enough reasons to want to skip out on exercise. But when people are feeling their worst is when exercise becomes the most important.
There are both physical and mental benefits of exercise for cancer patients. Physically these benefits may include increased lung function, improved heart health, enhanced restfulness, prevention of muscle wasting, reduced risk of osteoporosis, increased appetite, and overall improved physical function.
Exercise can mentally enhance the quality of life by increasing self-esteem, mood elevation because of increased endorphins, relaxation, enhanced independence and reduced risk of depression or anxiety. In the past, research mainly focused on breast cancer patients, but recent findings have shown that exercise is extremely beneficial for all types of cancer, including rare types such as pericardial mesothelioma.
It is necessary, for cancer patients especially, to progress with caution when it comes to planning an exercise routine. An oncology doctor can help when deciding on the level of activity. How much activity recommended is based on qualities such as age, cancer type, treatment type and the degree of physical health prior to diagnosis. Cancer patients must remain in tune to their bodies and act appropriately. But, getting started is often the hardest part.
There are different types of exercise. Simply doing chores or taking the stairs are good ways to begin to become more active. Other types of exercise include flexibility, aerobic and resistance exercises.
Flexibility exercises like pilates, stretching and yoga are great ways to maintain mobility and work on balance. These types of exercise are good ways to get started if the patient doesn’t have a history of exercises or is not ready for vigorous activity.
Aerobic exercises like playing a sport, jogging, or swimming are very important and improve cardiovascular fitness and increase lung function.
Resistance training such as weight lifting is excellent for cancer patients who are able to do these exercises. During cancer treatment there is often a loss of muscle and resistance training is a great way to build back up these muscles.
All three types of exercise are beneficial in their own ways but all share the common goal of increasing overall health.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She became particularly interested in ways cancer patients can cope with the side-effects of their treatment after her mother became an oncology nurse for lung cancer. For further information, Davies may be contacted at healthylizd [at] gmail.com. You non-robots out there can put this address into a proper form!