In keeping with the last post regarding a friend and her cancer, a reader expressed an interest in sharing some health and fitness tips for those who are fighting the battle. I am happy to share her article, and links to find more information.
Thanks to Melanie Bowen for the info. Keep up the good fight, warriors.
Starting an Exercise Routine After Cancer
Running, walking, yoga, and even martial arts has been shown to help cancer patients and even reduce the risk of cancer coming back. Evidence now shows that those who exercise daily can reduce fatigue related to treatment. There are a variety of other benefits, ranging from increased mobility to stress relief. With any kind of exercise during rigorous medical treatment like chemotherapy and radiation, it’s important to consult a doctor before committing to any plan. By speaking with an oncologist, you can find out what activities will better suit your health situation.
Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients
Researchers have shown that exercise, specifically cycling, running, and low impact exercises are some of the best ways to reduce fatigue and start building endurance, muscle strength and mobility. In some cases, cancer patients can benefit even more from daily exercise, such as mesothelioma patients after chemotherapy. Studies have also shown that physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Exercise also improves energy and mental health, which may benefit those who are going through depression after cancer.
What Kind of Exercises to Choose
Most patients first start with shorter and less strenuous exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day. Even a short walk in the morning or night can contribute to better mobility and physical health. However, if you really want to start doing something for your body, low impact exercises are an easier way to start moving your body, build muscle and improve joint health. Low impact exercises include walking, yoga, strength training, cycling, elliptical machines, swimming, a Stairmaster, rowing machines and even kayaking. For those who want to get more exercise or need rigorous activities, start with running for short periods of time, then upgrade to kickboxing, regular jogs, cardio training and even high-energy dance like Zumba.
Risks for Those Starting to Exercise
Running and rigorous exercise isn’t the key to improving health in every cancer patient. Along with fatigue come other disadvantages after undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to treat cancer. It can mean that your immune system can’t fight off infections and bacteria as well, making it difficult to stress the body with rigorous exercise or even go to public swimming pools and gyms. In other cases, your bones, muscles and joints may not be ready for high impact exercise. That’s why it’s important to start slow with lower impact exercises and build upon your body’s strengths as you go. In many cases, you should be able to warm up and go for a light jog before doing any sort of strenuous activity.
What Else Can You Do
In addition to exercise, remember that nutrition, vitamins, the right diet and medication can also help with the side effects of cancer treatment. For one thing, ginseng has been proven to help with fatigue and allow for more rigorous activity. Acupuncture has also been recommended to help relieve fatigue in cancer patients, as well as lowering depression and anxiety. It is important to start taking the steps to become a healthier you, and it all starts with speaking to your doctor.