Exercise can ward of cancer…

February 16, 2016

Regular exercise has been shown to promote a longer life in healthy bodies for years. New studies have shown that physical activity done on a regular basis may help prolong life in cancer patients and even help keep cancer away once and for all. After the emotional stress of diagnosis and the grueling hours of therapy, it can be hard to give exercise a second thought. It could be one of the biggest factors in contributing to your overall health and getting back on your feet.

When should you start exercising?

Start exercising as soon as physically possibly. Obviously there will be days when the effects of treatment will hinder exercise, but physical activity as much as possible is key. The “take it easy” method doesn’t work as well as some would think. Staying at home and resting can only do so much before it slows down your metabolism and becomes a permanent sedentary lifestyle.

How often should exercise be done?

The American Cancer Society recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity, 5 days per week. This activity should be moderate to vigorous such as swimming laps, jogging, or playing a sport. If you have not partaken in exercise in quite some time, be sure to start at a gradual pace. Aerobic activity is great for strengthening the heart, but be sure to consult your doctor if you feel out of breath more than normal. Patients with mesothelioma or other cancers affecting the lungs should be extra careful about activity level.

What exercises are safe for cancer patients?

Start slowly. Before starting any exercise regime, it is important to talk to your doctor. That being said, flexibility exercises should be a relatively easy place to start. Stretching will help muscles stay limber and ready for the next step in your exercise routine. Strength training is essential to whole body health. Many patients lose muscle while undergoing treatment, therefore it is important to start small with weights and gradually build according to your comfort level. In addition to losing muscle, patients typically gain fat during treatment. Aerobic activity such as speed walking, jogging, and jumping rope will help banish fat for good. With less fat and more muscle, your body will be able to fight better against other diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

What are the other benefits of exercise?

Just like adults without cancer, those that have been diagnosed reap the same benefits of physical activity. Increased energy is one of the biggest benefits for patients with cancer. Treatments may leech energy even after they are completed, but a regular exercise regime can recharge your batteries. Better moods and fewer mood swings have also been associated with increased physical activity. Increased self-esteem comes with a better body image as well.

Whatever you do, don’t quit! Even a brisk walk around the block is better than sitting idly on the couch. After all, getting into shape can significantly improve survival after diagnosis and even help ward cancer off once in remission.

For help with your exercise program, visit totalufitness.com