Physical Activity and Cancer

cancer lifestyle, Featured Article — By on September 15, 2011 at 4:45 am

Exercise can improve our quality of life. It can keep bones strong, improve our circulatory system and combat many signs of aging.

In the past, people being treated for a chronic illness (an illness a person may live with for a long time, such as cancer or diabetes) were often told by their doctor to rest and reduce their physical activity. This may still be true if movement causes severe pain, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath.

Newer research has shown that exercise is not only safe but also  possible during cancer treatment. Too much rest may result in loss of function, strength, and range of motion in the person with a chronic illness. As a result, many cancer care teams are now urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment. Regular exercise is an effective way to counteract the negative effects of inactivity in chronic illness.
Possible benefits of regular exercise during cancer treatment
▪ keep or improve your physical abilities
▪ better balance, lower risk of falls and broken bones
▪ keep muscles from wasting due to inactivity
▪ lower risk of heart disease
▪ less risk of osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
▪ better blood flow to legs and lower risk of blood clots
▪ less dependence on others to do normal activities of daily living
▪ improved self-esteem
▪ lower risk of anxiety and depression
▪ less nausea
▪ better ability to keep social contacts
▪ fewer symptoms of fatigue
▪ better weight control
▪ improved quality of life
We still do not know a lot about the effects of exercise and physical activity on recovery from cancer and on the immune system. But regular moderate exercise has been found to have health benefits for the cancer patient. Moderate exercise is defined as activity that takes as much effort as a brisk walk.
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