Monday, April 16, 2012

Exercise Beneficial to Cancer Patients

Exercise Beneficial to Cancer Patients by David Haas

Recent studies have shown that exercising after receiving a cancer diagnosis helps improve physical functioning and fight fatigue. For decades, doctors told patients to rest and take it easy following a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another form of cancer. But now those same doctors are recommending that their patients participate in regular physical activity to help them increase health and functioning while undergoing cancer treatment. Whether you were previously active or sedentary, you can benefit by adding exercise to your daily routine at a level that's appropriate for you. These types of exercise can prove to be beneficial to you in the areas of physical and emotional health.

Aerobic Exercise

There are many forms of aerobic exercise, making it easy for you to choose one that you enjoy. Aerobic exercise, also referred to as cardio, gets your heart pumping and is excellent for overall health. Common forms of aerobic exercise are walking, jogging, biking or exercising along with fitness DVDs. This type of exercise can help you find relief from fatigue, stress, depression and decreased range of movement. Work up to 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week for good heart health and improved physical functioning.

Yoga or Pilates

Fitness provides excellent benefits to both your body and mind. Gentler forms of exercise, such as yoga and Pilates, help you stretch and tone your muscles, while increasing your flexibility and strength, and decreasing your level of stress. The mind-body connection created during yoga and Pilates helps ease anxiety, elevate your mood and relax your body. Since stress and anxiety can cause physical symptoms to worsen, it's important to use exercise to help you keep your mind and body relaxed. Just 10 minutes of Pilates or yoga each day can help you keep your stress level down.

Weight Training

You don't need to lift heavy weights to reap the benefits of weight training. Light dumbbells weighing one or two pounds each can help you strengthen your muscles to better support your body. Since stronger muscles allow you to endure physical activity for longer lengths of time, lifting weights three times per week can help you maintain your normal daily activities without tiring out. When the weights you're using become too light, increase them by 1/2-pound increments so your body continues to be challenged during weight training exercises.

Cancer patients commonly experience fatigue and loss of physical functioning during treatment, resulting in a huge impact on a patient's life. Although it might seem that exercise would be the last thing you need when you're not feeling well, studies have shown that it can improve your energy level, range of movement, emotional state and physical conditioning. If you weren't a regular exerciser before your diagnosis of cancer, simply start by exercising for 10 minutes each day at a slow, relaxed pace. As you continue to add physical fitness to your daily routine, you'll feel stronger and gain the endurance needed to increase your fitness time for greater benefits.  
By: David Haas of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

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