Exercise During Cancer Treatment: Roles & Goals

By David Haas

Whether someone is facing a new cancer diagnosis, or is going through radical cancer therapy, physical fitness can play an extremely vital role in the recovery and quality of life for the individual suffering from the given disease. Despite the ups and downs that cancer patients experience throughout their extended battle, they should avoid any form inactivity if possible.

While rest and inactivity were once standard medical prescriptions for cancer patients and survivors, modern research trumps old advice. The American College of Sports Medicine, National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and other institutions recommend exercise for patients going through active treatment or after-cancer recovery.

Evidence for Exercise During Treatment

The benefits of regular physical activity are well-documented for a number of common cancers. Topping the list of advantages are reduced fatigue, improved physical functioning, better emotional health and a higher quality of life.

According to Dr. Rachel Ballard-Barbash of the National Cancer Institute, the evidence linking exercise and quality of life, before and after cancer treatment, is “incredibly strong.” The evidence for people who have completed cancer treatment has prompted numerous clinical trials for those on active treatment.

The studies have shown that patients can do a lot more activity than originally thought, even while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Even modest exercise, such as gentle stretches by mesothelioma patients or yoga classes by breast cancer patients can show significant benefits. When it comes to exercise and cancer, any form of activity is better than nothing.

National Exercise Guidelines

Most people can benefit physically and emotionally by sticking to the national guidelines for physical fitness. Cancer patients are no exception. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all adults follow the approved guidelines from 2008. Cancer patients are urged to adapt the exercises according to fitness panel recommendations.

Different cancer types and stages require different cancer treatments, and any good exercise programs takes all this into consideration. Certain cancer treatments produce adverse side effects, like an increased risk for bone fractures, heart problems, and breathing difficulties. Doctors and fitness professionals can work with cancer patients to design the perfect, tailor-made regimen.

Exercise Goals During Treatment

Cancer fitness programs have two primary goals for cancer patients: body image and body composition. Cancer treatments can radically alter physical appearance and emotional feelings. Exercise can improve self-image, which, in turn, enhances quality of life.

Cancer takes a toll on many parts of the body, from the wasting associated with weight loss and muscle weakness to an increase in body weight and fat. Exercise improves the body composition changes that are common in many cancer patients.

Everybody benefits from regular physical exercise, and it takes very little to produce dramatic results. Cancer patients, especially those who were sedentary before diagnosis, should start small and work their way up as their fitness level increases. Consult your doctor about finding a workout plan that best suit you and your needs and get out there and get active!

To start your Exercise Regiment with Fitness Together go to FTGetsResults.com to get more information on our one-on-one sessions and our new group training sessions.

About David Haas
David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer. email: dhaas@mesothelioma.com

Sites:  http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/david/bio.htm

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1 Comment

Filed under Cancer Patients, Diet, Exercise, Fitness, Fitness Goals, Fitness Tips, Health, Workout

One response to “Exercise During Cancer Treatment: Roles & Goals

  1. I totally agree: exercising is great because it can help flush out the toxins;) Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:)

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