Regular Fitness Benefits Cancer Patients

Regular Fitness Benefits Cancer Patients

Exercise has long been hailed as a primary tool of prevention, though doctors treating patients with chronic diseases regularly advised patients to take it easy and avoid strenuous exertion. It was believed that the added stress of exercising would take away from the body’s recuperative ability and pose safety risks to those facing surgery and other standard treatments. Since then, there have been major advancements in using exercise to safely treat and recover from heart disease, and researchers are only now uncovering the potential of using regular physical fitness to enhance cancer treatment.

Regularity is the Key Factor

Treatments can be draining and present a whole new range of side effects that sap the patient’s will to live. Depression, fatigue and digestive problems all are common symptoms faced by cancer patients. Fortunately, exercise has been shown to help in reducing the severity of these symptoms by improving body composition and regulating hormone production. Though most studies so far have focused on the benefits of walking and few other aerobic exercises, research organizations advise that any physical activity engaged in regularly will benefit the patient by first improving quality of life.

Obviously, not all patients will be able to engage in the amount of exercise recommended for healthy adults. Even if 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobics is out of the question, there are still options available for enjoying the benefits. Those who are unable to walk will find relief from some symptoms through a regular program of passive or active range-of motion exercises. Those with more mobility can use short walks to balance the digestive system and fight fatigue. Every cancer patient will have a different level of ability and focus. Breast cancer patients often focus on flexibility exercises while lung cancer and mesothelioma causes patients to focus on more cardio exercises. Whatever program is decided on it is important to discuss the plan with a trained professional. It is well-known that physical exertion, within safe limits, will also help to regulate the mood by calming anxieties and relieving hopelessness.

Exercising Aids in Recovery from Cancer Operations

Surgery is a routine form of treatment for many cancers, and relaxation has long been the advice for hastening recovery. Recent findings show that exercise is actually a better option for many types of surgery, including prostate removal, colorectal surgery, and mastectomy. Far from slowing the recovery, it can actually be sped up and complications reduced with regular exercise. This increases blood flow and prompts the body to direct nutrients to where they are most needed. Specialized exercises exist for a growing number of surgical treatments, like Kegels for prostate cancer patients and easy exercises for those recovering from breast cancer.


4 thoughts on “Regular Fitness Benefits Cancer Patients”

  1. I’m a stage 3a lung cancer survivor and runner. I started exercising about 2 years before and running about 6 months before diagnosis. While I physically couldn’t exercise during treatment I absolutely believe my recovery from a thorocotomy, chemo and radiation was quicker and easier on my body because I’m an active person. Ran my first half marathon 8 months after treatment and will be running my first full marathon in Chicago in October.

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