Exercise and Cancer
One of the leading prevention strategies for many types of cancer, and many other chronic diseases, is maintaining physical fitness through a regular exercise program. This means at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobics, or 75 minutes of high-intensity, per week. This should be combined with two days of anaerobic workouts targeting all major muscle groups. Epidemiologists have suggested that meeting these exercise recommendations could prevent a large number of common cancers.
Missing the boat on prevention does not rule out experiencing the benefits of exercise, however. Studies have conclusively shown that exercise benefits cancer patients in several important ways. Though guidelines are still being formulated for specific types of cancer and stages of diagnosis, experts agree that patients should not hesitate to utilize the power of exercise. All leading research organizations are currently working to dispel the myth
that rest is the best recommendation for patients.
Is Exercise Advised During Treatment?
If an exercise program was not being followed prior to diagnosis, it is important to start one as soon as possible. Treatments present a number of side effects, and a regular fitness program will help to alleviate many of them. This can mean faster recovery time from chemotherapy and surgeries, as well as a lower risk of experiencing
chronic fatigue, depression and digestive upset.
During cancer treatments, patients are often told to rest. This is an important part of recovery, but studies have shown that using a program specifically tailored for post-op patients can help in speeding up recovery and reducing the risk of complications. Even those who have had surgery for non-small cell lung cancer will benefit from a post-op routine, according to researchers at Duke University. Consulting with the oncologist and a fitness expert is the best way to gain the benefits of exercise as safely as possible.
What Type of Exercise is Best?
Generally, patients will want to choose moderately-intensive and high to no impact exercises. Walking and resistance training have proven beneficial for breast cancer patients, while lung cancer and mesothelioma causes patients to focus on increasing lung capacity. But the recommendations have stated that there is no one preferred form for everyone. While some cases, will gain the most benefits from active or passive range-of-motion exercises, others will find yoga satisfies their needs. The most important goals should be to apprise the doctor of exercises and any adverse symptoms and choose a program that is enjoyable. Making it fun is the best way to ensureregularity.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.