Walk Fit

Fitness for Life: Exercising During and After Cancer

(by guest blogger – Melanie )
Although we all know that exercise is important, we often find excuses for not getting to the gym, sleeping in rather than taking a morning walk, or sitting in front of the TV instead of going on a bike ride. Cancer patients can certainly find a lot of these excuses. In fact, doctors used to recommend that those undergoing treatments for cancer rest and take it easy rather than spend their afternoons at the gym. Recent research, however, indicates that regular exercise during and after cancer treatment help patients experience a higher quality of life and even reduce the chance of a recurrence later in life.

Everyone who has ever heard the words, “You have cancer” spoken to them, needs to be serious about physical fitness. Whether you are undergoing treatment for mesothelioma, have just been diagnosed with lymphoma or have survived any form of cancer, the benefits of regular exercise outweigh any excuse you might find for remaining inactive. Cancer patients who exercise regularly reap a long list of benefits including the following:

  • Elevated mood
  • Improved blood flow and circulation
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Weight control
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Less nausea
  • Better mobility and range of motion
  • Lower risk of osteoporosis

If you have questions about what fitness level or program is right for you, consult your doctor. Your oncology staff will be able to point you toward resources that can help you follow a physical fitness routine.

Survivors who are currently cancer free should stay active as well. In addition to established research that indicates a connection between exercise and lower risk of cancer, current research indicates a correlation between regular exercise and a decreased incidence of cancer recurrence. Most experts agree that fitness programs should include a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. This exercise might include walking, bike riding, aerobics, dancing, swimming or participation in sports. In addition to aerobic exercise, cancer survivors should participate in strength training at least twice a week to improve muscle strength and support bone density.

The first time you heard the news that you had cancer, you began a fight for your life. Your doctors and medical staff will do all they can to help you win that fight, but exercising is something you must do for yourself. Keep moving no matter where you are in that fight.


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