Most everyone knows Lance Armstrong and his battle with cancer. But what many might not realize is that what worked for him also works for us ordinary folks. Exercise can help patients with Cancer, and even CBS caught on to this fact with this video news report.. Today’s guest entry comes from David Haas, who knows a thing or two about it. –Captain Chas.
A cancer diagnosis is a life-changer in many ways. The initial word sends people into a dark place of fear and uncertainty. Sometimes it inspires them to exercise or improve their level of physical fitness. A wealth of evidence indicates that this habit can tremendously benefit cancer management. It may also prevent recurrence after treatment and during recovery.
In the spring of 2012, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new exercise and nutrition guidelines for cancer patients during and after treatment. According to the latest research, exercise is not only possible and safe during cancer treatment, but it may also improve a patient’s general well-being and quality of life.
The ACS encourages cancer doctors to talk to their patients about good nutrition, regular exercise and weight control. Many doctors are so focused on surgery, radiation and chemotherapy that exercise takes a back seat to cancer treatments.
Exercise may be the last thing on a patient’s mind, as well, despite the inspiration. As they grapple with their symptoms, treatments, work and family responsibilities, financial affairs and other concerns, patients often wonder how they can fit exercise into their days. Fitness professionals recommend that patients start slowly and build gradually as their fitness levels improve.
Numerous studies, more than 100 in number, reveal that exercise is advantageous for cancer patients. Besides being good for their overall health, exercise pulls them out of the depression that typically follows diagnosis and treatment. As one patient remarked, exercise turns on a light in a very dark place.
Exercise enables patients to see a brighter future. While physical health obviously benefits from regular exercise, emotional health also gets a boost. Patients who commit to regular exercise programs experience less stress, lower anxiety and better moods than their sedentary counterparts. They also enjoy a better quality of life. A happier, healthier outlook helps patients manage their treatments better so they can enjoy recovery.
Certain issues may prevent cancer patients from engaging in vigorous activities. Men going through mesothelioma treatment, for example, cannot do exercises that tax their breathing. Women must avoid weight lifting and certain movements after breast cancer surgery. Patients with brittle bones, severe anemia or weak immune systems may have to delay exercise or focus on low-intensity movements.
However, most patients can and should exercise. With doctor approval, most people can start with gentle stretches and short walks. Ultimately, they should strive for 30 minutes of exercise on five days a week. Fitness trainers can customize exercise programs based on cancer type, treatment method and fitness level.