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The Importance of Exercise When Fighting Cancer

Updated on March 25, 2016

Cancer patients often have difficulty becoming motivated to exercise since the treatment process creates side effects that include intense pain, discomfort and fatigue. In the past, doctors recommended that cancer patients rest and make sure not to strain themselves. Recently, studies have emerged that show the correlation between exercise and the health of cancer patients.

These studies advise the same amount of activity for people undergoing cancer treatments as people who are not undergoing these treatments. For the average person, doctors advise about thirty minutes of moderate exercise daily. People undergoing cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, who took on this amount of activity, experienced reduced side effects from their treatments, lower rates of the cancer recurring and higher survival rates.

Cancer and Exercise

colorful poser showcasing exercise helping prevent cancer
colorful poser showcasing exercise helping prevent cancer | Source

Fighting Cancer and Maintaining A Great Exercise Program

pink satin boxing gloves and girl fighting
pink satin boxing gloves and girl fighting | Source

Liz Davies approached me out on my blog 2min4u.blogspot.com and wanted to share this article to help others battling cancer. She is an ambitious young lady. Her contribution for motivating cancer patients is greatly appreciated. My husband who died of pancreatic cancer was always a supporter of exercise - both when he was healthy and while fighting this disease. He would walk our Golden Retrievers daily, the dogs were brothers and he was blessed to be able to walk with his older brother. The four of them would traverse our neighborhood daily. Whether walking, swimming, lifting weights, or other active sports, the human body always appreciates the movement. Exercise is the ultimate elixir of life.

Especially in women, radiation and chemotherapy may cause severe bone loss. Weight-lifting activities can aid in by enhancing bone density which strengthens bones. Strength-building exercises can be in the form of weight-lifting, resistance training and isometric training.

— Liz Davies

Fighting Cancer and Developing An Exercise Program

pink female silhouette exercising - Exercise and Cancer
pink female silhouette exercising - Exercise and Cancer | Source

Cancer Pink - Exercise and The Care of Cancer

pretty woman in pink leaning on a pink balance ball - same color as cancer pink
pretty woman in pink leaning on a pink balance ball - same color as cancer pink | Source

Cancer and Exercise

various pink fitness gear - preventing Cancer
various pink fitness gear - preventing Cancer | Source

Especially in women, radiation and chemotherapy may cause severe bone loss. Weight-lifting activities can aid in by enhancing bone density which strengthens bones. Strength-building exercises can be in the form of weight-lifting, resistance training and isometric training. These can be performed with weight machines, resistance bands, dumbbells and even items like soup cans. Being proactive is extremely important when going though cancer treatment. Bone mass cannot be built; it can only be retained so it is important for people going through treatments to consistently perform strength-building activities.

Depending on the cancer, treatments may cause patients to either lose weight or gain weight. In order to lower the risk of the cancer reoccurring it is advised that people maintain a healthy weight. Exercises such as running, swimming, walking or other aerobic activity can help control a person’s weight. These exercises will also improve mood and energy levels which is especially helpful for cancer patients.

It is well known that cancer patients can experience damaging side effects from the necessary medication they must take and an exercise schedule may feel daunting to maintain. The mere act of keeping a routine can have a incredible effect on a person’s mental health and can help keep them have a positive outlook. One way to keep a routine is to redesign the definition of exercise. A thirty-minute exercise session may not be feasible for everyone. A shorter or less intense session of activity is better than none at all so trying simple exercises like putting groceries away or walking around the house is a good way to make a difference in health. Stretching exercises, like pilates for example, are good for both mind and body. With all types of activity it is important to consult a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. These ideas are great for people going through any type of treatment from anything ranging from mesothelioma treatment to breast cancer treatment.

Other ways of staying positive and motivated for cancer patients include becoming a part of support groups and gaining the support of family and friends.

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.

© 2012 Liz Davies

Cancer and Rehabilitation

exercise is an important part of rehabilitation after cancer treatment colorful photo of nature pathway
exercise is an important part of rehabilitation after cancer treatment colorful photo of nature pathway | Source

Negative feelings like Anger and bitterness put the body into a stressful environment. Learning to relax and take things in a positive manner will help cancer patients .

— cancer-therapy.knoji.com

Cancer and Exercise

reduce cancer risk with exercise colorful poster
reduce cancer risk with exercise colorful poster | Source

Have you or a loved one had cancer and tried exercise?

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Have you encouraged a loved one to exercise with you?

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Share Your Story

If you have a story to share - whether it be yours or a friends and the journey to fight cancer and the many benefits - both physical and mental of exercise, please share with us below. Sharing the common experience could motivate someone who is battling this terrible disease.

Better yet, if you know of someone battling cancer, offer to exercise with them - either a regularly scheduled or sporadic, something at the gym, something at the park, or offer to stretch their hamstrings and help alleviate the stress that we all fight with our backs.

Everyone one can make a difference. Whether it is a word or an action, we are all in this together and united we can battle this horrible disease.

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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Very good informative article. Voted up.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      This is really interesting. No one ever suggested exercise when I was going through cancer treatment. I wish they had.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      My experience with cancer treatments is that you feel better when you exercise. You also know you are tired because you exercised not just chemicals fatigue.

      My clinical trials nurse makes all her patients exercise. Her patients are all much healthier than all the other patients. The goal of exercise is to get ride of the toxins as quickly as possible. I kept up my regular exercise schedule and was able to do a sprint triathlon 8 weeks after my last chemo.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      alekhouse,

      Wow! What a revelation! That is a very sad statement about our medical profession. I greatly appreciate you sharing. I have had several clients who have sought the water after surgery. Repeatedly, I have tried to promote stairs in the hospitals and hotels and exercise as a prescription for any illness. Liz wrote this and it hits home especially with your personal story. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      tirelesstraveler,

      Fascinating personal experience. This is invaluable. I am so proud of you and the triathlon - wow! What a great achievement - both the triathlon and the big item - surviving this horrible disease.

      Hearing how it helped you is invaluable to those fighting this disease.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

      This is completely helpful and informative, great. Thank you.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      acaetnna,

      I think cancer is a horrible disease and yt often the treatments overshadow fitness to a point where exercise is forgotten and yet the victim needs the exercise for muscle tone and the endorphins more than ever.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have a friend who had breast cancer last year and she was encouraged to exercise by her doctors and did so. Over a year later she is now cancer free and still doing her daily exercises. Good article! Voted up and useful and will share with my followers.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      This a very helpful. Great job. Thank You.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Peggy W,

      You have what I want to hear! What a great tribute to exercise and cancer patients. Thank you so much for sharing.

      My Grandmother had knee surgery and for the rest of her life she did the "therapy" exercises which we now know is more than "therapy".

      Cancer patients need a great mental outlook too and the best remedy for depression has been found to be exercise too.

      bdegiulio,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Cancer is an important topic for all of us.

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