It should be no secret that major lifestyle changes in diet and exercise can prolong your life and help prevent cancer. This article explores a slightly different scenario – exercise and diet changes while going through cancer treatment, and afterword.
This information is very encouraging. There is only one issue that many people still grapple with. And that is the motivation to change, even when you are confronted with a life-threatening disease. May I suggest you look outside yourself – to your family, your children. Why not change and live longer — for them?
I was surprised when David Haas contacted me and asked about being a guest writer for Fit In My 50’s. He is passionate about helping people with cancer live longer – and live with greater quality. Welcome! David!
Cancer Exercise – Treatment in Motion by David Haas
Many people believe that doing as little physical activity as possible during and after cancer treatment is a good idea, yet research indicates the opposite. Whether a person is receiving treatment for mesothelioma, breast cancer, or some other type of cancer, he or she is likely to benefit from exercise. Studies have shown that people who exercise moderately during and after cancer treatments have a significantly better chance of recovering from and not suffering another bout of cancer than those who do not exercise.
While exercise during and after treatments is beneficial, patients should still take a few precautions in order to exercise safely with cancer. Cancer patients should always discuss potential exercises with their physicians as doctors can often recommend specific exercises based on their perception of the patients’ energy levels. Patients should also avoid overexerting themselves; different cancer treatments can lead to different levels of weakness in different people, and some people do not react positively to strenuous exercise. Should a negative reaction occur, patients may want to try doing less strenuous exercises.
Light to moderate exercise often boosts cancer patients’ energy in spite of the rigorous nature of the treatment. Exercises that work the range of motion, for example, are often not too strenuous for cancer patients. Something as simple as drinking enough water can also help cancer patients, as proper hydration during any form of exercise is essential. Dehydration produces fatigue, and cancer treatments are tiring enough without suffering through a lack of water.
Patients must be aware of the specific nature of their cancer and treatments in order to know what exercises are off-limits. For example, someone who suffers from anemia should not engage in rigorous exercise. Those who are receiving treatments dealing with the lungs or heart should also be cautious when exercising as strenuous exercise can tax those organs too severely. Cancer patients who are taking blood thinners should also exercise caution when exercising since even a relatively small cut could prove dangerous.
One fairly popular exercise method for cancer patients is to perform exercises while sitting down. These movements are usually not too strenuous and do not require much in the way of cardiovascular activity. Riding bicycles are also popular pieces of exercise equipment for cancer patients for that reason, although not everyone will have the strength to pedal. Swimming is also often a good option for cancer patients because of the buoyancy caused by the water.
Regardless of what particular form of exercise cancer patients choose, many doctors and scientists agree that any bit of exercise–so long as it is not overly taxing–benefits recovery efforts after treatment. Not only does exercising help patients physically, but it can also help them overcome cancer treatment depression.
Women undergoing treatment for breast cancer might fight off distressing side effects and improve psychological well-being by staying off the couch. According to the University of Miami (UM) study, women who are physically active during treatment have less depression and an enhanced quality of life and report less debilitating fatigue.
Women who are physically active may also have more confidence in their own ability to continue with family-related, household, work-related, or social activities, which bring meaning and satisfaction to their lives,” says Jamie M. Stagl, M.S., doctoral student in Clinical Health Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at UM and lead author of the study. “This may lead to appraisals of lower fatigue, heightened quality of life, and less depression.
I have listed some relevant scholarly articles at the end of this post to help you learn more and exercise and its benefits during cancer treatment. I am looking forward, dear readers, to hear your thoughts about exercise as an adjunct to cancer treatment.