Cancer and its treatments can often cause a variety of unsuspected and unwanted symptoms. These side effects can hinder one’s ability to focus on living a healthy lifestyle through life-giving habits such as exercise.
According to a published study in 2012, researchers found that though there are several noticeable limitations and differences in individual cancer patient cases, the general consensus for recommendation is to stay as active as reasonably possible before, during and after treatment. In fact, these researchers support that “physical activity is not only safe but beneficial for cancer patients and survivors for the management of multiple side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatments.”
Overall, the literature on oncology and exercise heeds its fair warnings but encourages regular exercise including aerobic activity, resistance training, stretching, mindfulness forms of exercise and a combination of the above. In fact, exercise has been found to help oncology patients overcome disorders related to coping with their condition, manage weight, improve recovery and enhance overall quality of life.
Though the benefits of exercise are more noticeable than ever for those dealing with cancer, it is simply easier said than done, so here are a few quick tips to get you started.
- Never pick up a strenuous exercise routine if you are not used to being active. Gradually build into your exercise routine.
- When your energy is low, try breaking up your workout throughout the day to still reap the benefits.
- Movement and meditation exercises like thai chi and yoga can also enhance your quality of life during this time.
- Avoid exercise irritants such as extreme heat, chlorinated swimming pools heavily used exercise equipment which can cause more severe symptoms or additional complications.
- Listen to your body! If you are running a fever or feeling unlike yourself do not force yourself to do anything and consult your doctor.
- Have fun with your exercise. Jam out to some of your favorite tunes, join a class with friends or invite your spouse to exercise with you.
- Make time to hydrate before, during and after exercise.
- Exercise with purpose to ease your side effects, feel better and look good while doing it!
- Make sure you warm up and cool down in order to properly acclimate your body.
- Chores can be exercise too. If you need to accomplish some errands like yardwork, laundry or running around town-simply turn it into a workout!
- Give an exercise class for cancer patients a try. Many hospitals and some fitness facilities offer various levels of guided exercise programs.
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey