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Fitness Benifits Cancer Patients
by Melanie Brown
Most people are aware of the link between physical fitness and overall health. However, some cancer patients neglect this aspect of their recovery or feel that they simply do not have the energy or motivation to get in shape during such an arduous process. The good news is that fitness can help you in almost every aspect of your life, including battling cancer. It can give you extra energy for daily activities, it can lift your spirits through its mood-boosting effects, and it can help you sleep better and more soundly at night.
It may seem illogical that exercising will give you more energy but actually, the energy you expend during exercise will give you more long-lasting energy and endurance over a longer period of time. This is true even for those suffering from cancers like those of the lungs, breast, and mesothelioma.
You may be picturing yourself doing grueling sessions of lifting weights or long runs, but this is not necessary to reap the benefits of exercise. Almost any exercise you can do on a regular basis will have some positive benefits. You should start out slowly, only gradually building up the pace and intensity of your exercise. The main thing is to always listen to what your body is telling you. If you are pushing yourself too hard, it will let you know. Then you will know to ease back a bit during your next session because overexertion can hurt you in the long run during treatments.
Another key point is to make sure your oncology team is aware of your desire to improve your fitness. They can offer advice on what type and intensity of exercise is appropriate for someone in your stage of treatment. If you do things right, your increased fitness level will give you more energy, endurance, and lift your mood. Stick with it for the best results!
One great form of exercise that has helped some cancer patients is running or jogging. Running will boost endorphin release, which helps elevate your mood and dampen feelings of pain. You will also build your muscle strength and endurance.
Make sure that you are wearing appropriate footwear. You will also want to run on surfaces like grass instead of pavement. This helps prevent damage to your knees, ankles, and feet. Joint pain is a common side effect for cancer patients so it is important to be mindful of where you are running and the toll it could take.
Remember to run only a short distance your first time to see how your body responds. You might even take a few days off before your second attempt. This will allow your body time to recover from suddenly having these muscles stressed. Just as with any other exercise you may try, start slow and build your way up.
Unless you have a heated pool available, this one may be seasonal for you. But swimming is another great way to get fit. One of the great things about swimming is that it is very forgiving on your joints. The buoyancy of the water will support your weight and reduce stress on those areas. Be sure to try out different strokes so that you are getting balanced development in your various muscle groups. The variety will also help keep you motivated.
No matter what activities you partake in, as long as you are consistently active you will begin to see the benefits in no time. Research shows that regular physical activity can not only help combat cancer and improve your well being while do so, but it can also help reduce the odds of developing cancer for those who have not been diagnosed. As for those who have already beaten cancer, it is equally as important to stay active because it can reduce the odds of recurrence as well.