By Melanie Bowen
Exercise can help individuals to recover and return to good health, even after a cancer
diagnosis. At each stage of recovery, there are a variety of light to heavy exercise regimens that are suitable for cancer patients. Each of these routines offers substantial physical and health benefits. With consistent practice, cancer patients can speed their recovery process and improve their overall quality of life.
A workout is considered light if the individual does not sweat or have problems breathing. During this level of exercise, individuals can normally sing or talk while they work out. While beginning treatment or recovery, cancer survivors can start to walk each day. This simple exercise offers substantial physiological and psychological benefits. It helps to build stamina and endurance while increasing muscle strength. Regular walks can help to improve bone density.
For patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, walking can also alleviate fatigue. Also, walking is an ideal exercise for certain patients with impaired respiratory function, such as those undergoing treatment for mesothelioma, making strenuous exercises more difficult to perform. This type of exercise program can be started out gradually and the duration can be increased each day. Individuals with aggressive cancer can start by just walking to the mailbox or around the yard. In addition, patients with mesothelioma may be advised to begin walking to improve their lung capacity.
The next form of workout uses moderate exercises. These kinds of fitness activities cause individuals to sweat after about ten minutes of working out. As you become comfortable with light exercises, moderate levels of exercise are the beginning of an active recovery process. Contrary to belief, patients may even take on biking as an exercise during chemotherapy treatment. Once patients have developed enough strength, they can begin to take on biking as an activity.
Biking improves physical health by strengthening the immune system and physical stamina. It improves cardiovascular health and is also easier on the joint. For individuals with arthritis or joint problems, biking is an excellent alternative exercise program because it is considered as a low-impact exercise. Patients who have had gut, stomach, prostate, head or neck cancer often have problems with decreased muscle mass. By biking regularly, they can begin to build their muscles again and promote heart health.
Advanced fitness activities are characterized by their ability to make the individual sweat and an increased heart rate. This type of fitness program is only appropriate for cancer patients further along in the later stages of recovery. Statistically, 70 percent of patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation have problems with fatigue. Tiredness among cancer patients is a huge problem because it does not improve with rest. When patients are tired, they work out less. This ultimately leads to decreased muscle mass and worse physical health.
High intensity aerobics can help to combat and alleviate fatigue, while increasing cardiovascular strength and circulation. This fatigue exhibited by cancer patients is not a tiredness that subsides with rest. By improving fatigue and restoring energy levels, patients will feel more apt to continue their routines. Aside from reducing fatigue, a regular aerobics routine can also provide psychosocial benefits. Aerobics can be beneficial in enhancing brain function resulting in improved mental cognition and support emotional health.
The journey to returning to a normal lifestyle after cancer can be as exciting as it is daunting. To regain physical and mental health, patients should to adopt a exercise routine at the appropriate level. These different activities can help patients to increase their circulation, improve physical health and develop better mental cognition. Before beginning a training program, patients should always talk with their doctor about which fitness techniques are right for them.
Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.
This month kicks off fall marathon training. I am going full out with a month of total fitness before tapering off cardio and adding miles. I am following my own advice for achieving goals by posting my June calendar.
Step 1 to achieving your goal – put it in writing.
Step 2 to achieving your goal – share it with people who will support you
Link to calendar
Are you running a marathon or a 1/2 marathon this fall? Let me know if your interested in sharing training tips.