Exercise for Cancer: Fighting Cancer with Fitness
There's abundant evidence that exercise and eating right can help prevent people from getting cancer. The latest information shows that exercise for cancer patients can also keep cancer from recurring. "Several recent studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of the cancer coming back, and a longer survival after a cancer diagnosis , " said Kerry Courtney, PhD, professor and Canada research chair in physical activity and cancer at the university of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
In studies of several different cancer patients, being overweight after completing treatment was associated with shorter survival times and higher risk of cancer recurrence. Women who exercise after completing breast cancer treatment live longer and have less recurrence, according to recent evidence. Colorectal cancer survivors who exercised lived longer than those who didn't, two recent clinical trials showed. "Clearly , any cancer survivor wants to do all they can" prevent cancer recurrence , says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American cancer society. So it’s mandatory that their goals for healthy living should be around weight control and exercise.
Exercise for cancer patients
What's in it for me? The benefits of exercise for the general population are well-publicized but what if you're a cancer patient? Deepak Rawat, Fitness Training Manager, Fitness First shells out tips for exercises for cancer patients.
Exercise has many of the same benefits for cancer survivors as it does for other adults. Some of these benefits include an increased level of fitness, greater muscle strength, leaner body mass, and less weight gain, improve mood, boost self-confidence, reduce fatigue, lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
When to start
Studies shows that after a cancer diagnosis people slow down. Stress, depression and feeling sick or fatigue from cancer or its treatment all tend to make people less active. So they should start exercise as soon as possible.
What to do
Flexibility exercise: virtually everyone can do flexibility exercises - stretching is important to keep moving, to maintain mobility. If you're not ready for more vigorous exercises, you should at least stay flexible.
Aerobic exercise: such as brisk walking, jogging and swimming. This king of exercise burns calorie and helps you lose weight. Aerobic exercise also builds cardiovascular fitness, which lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
Resistance training: (lifting weights or isometric exercises) which builds muscle. Many people lose muscle, but gain fat, through cancer treatment. For those with a high fat to lean mass ratio, resistance training can be especially helpful.
How much and how intensive
At least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 5 days a week.
*Deepak Rawat is presently Fitness Training Manager (Delhi and NCR region) at Fitness First India.
He is a widely certified fitness trainer having numerous certifications under his belt.His specialties include Weight Management , Special Population Training, Sports Performance Training, Postural Correction and Body Building.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images