Welcome to the blog and this post is a special one. We have a guest blog by Virgil Anderson who has some insight on how exercise can be helpful for people who are battling various forms of cancer. Thank you to Virgil for offering this article to my blog and I hope everyone can learn from the information offered.
Should Cancer Patients Be Exercising?
Being sick means you need rest, right? Yes, rest is important, but researchers are finding more evidence all the time that everyone, including people fighting a difficult cancer like mesothelioma, can benefit from physical activity. A cancer patient may not be training to run a marathon, but guided workouts with limitations in mind can provide a whole range of benefits.
Exercise Boosts Energy and Beats Fatigue
One very important reason to include exercise as a component of overall wellness is to battle fatigue. Cancer patients are vulnerable to severe fatigue that makes it challenging even to get out of bed in the morning. While exercise may be the last thing on a patient’s mind, getting in some physical activity can help reduce this fatigue and provide a surge of energy. In fact, in some studies, cancer patients exercising regularly experienced up to 50 percent less fatigue than patients not exercising.
Cancer Patients who Exercise Have Longer Life Expectancies
As with healthy people who work out regularly and are physically fit, cancer patients can benefit from exercise by increasing their lifespans. One study found that breast cancer patients who worked out for at least two and a half hours per week were at a 67 percent lower risk of dying than similar patients who did not exercise. Other studies have found similar results and found that exercise also helps reduce the risk of a recurrence of cancer after remission.
Physical Activity Boost Mood
Cancer patients are understandably susceptible to depression, anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions, which can become overwhelming and difficult to live with. Exercise has long been known to have a positive effect on mood, reducing feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress, and helping people to feel more relaxed. Cancer patients can use exercise to help mitigate these negative feelings and as a healthful way to cope with them.
Exercise Helps Maintain Fitness and Weight
Regular physical activity keeps bodies strong and helps people maintain good cardiovascular fitness, while also helping people stick with a healthy weight. For cancer patients all of these are especially important. Being sick with cancer can cause fitness and muscles to deteriorate. Some patients may even gain weight. Regular exercise can help reduce the loss of fitness or build more strength, which in turn helps patients recover better. Maintaining a healthy weight has health benefits, but also helps cancer patients feel better about their bodies.
Exercise is not something to be taken lightly for someone living with cancer. If you have cancer, talk to your doctor before trying an exercise routine. You need to know what your limitations are. Once you do get started with fitness, consider working with a trainer who can help you meet your goals, safely.
Getting in physical activity is now recommended for most cancer patients as a way to improve overall health, to increase mobility, to boost mood, to fight fatigue, and to generally feel better about living with this illness. Fitness is important for everyone, but thanks to research we now know just how crucial it is for those of us living with cancer.
- Virgil Anderson