Monday, April 23, 2012

Exercise for Cancer Patients - Questions Answered

Cancer takes such a heavy toll that exercise is the last thing many cancer patients
want to do when undergoing treatment. Scientists are increasingly finding, however,
that cancer patients receive numerous benefits from regular exercise. Exercise
boosts mood, increases resilience to treatments, and improves recovery rates.
Some patients may wonder which form of exercise offers the greatest advantages,
and how much exercise is too much. Here is some information to help patients get
started receiving the benefits of an exercise program.

What Forms of Exercise Benefit Cancer Patients?
Aerobic exercise is probably the most common form of exercise practiced, and
ranges from mild to very intense. This means it is great for cancer patients because
they can choose the level of activity that matches their energy levels. At the intense
end of the aerobic spectrum is running, which is too heavy for many people to begin
with. Walking, on the other hand, is a very effective exercise that is also gentle on
the body. Recent studies have found that breast cancer patients have better survival
rates when they engage in regular exercise during treatment. Since aerobic exercise
increases oxygen exchange in the lungs, it benefits patients receiving mesothelioma
treatment. Walking for just 15-20 minutes a day can give patients huge boosts in
energy and vitality.

Strength training is another excellent option for cancer patients but should be started
slowly because of its intensity. This form of exercise boosts mood, energy, and
strength by increasing the body's levels of hormones and neurotransmitters.
Strength training has also been found to significantly reduce side effects of cancer
treatments. Cancer patients can begin with milder exercises, such as light
bodyweight movements, and work up to more intense sessions using weights as
they become stronger.

What Type of Routine is Best?

When anyone is starting an exercise regimen, it's important to take things slow and
listen to one's body to maximize benefits and reduce the risk of overtraining. No
matter how long one has been training, however, rest periods remain essential to
success. Many people are able to engage in mild exercise such as walking on a
daily basis, but most people should take rest periods of a few days between intense
workouts. After training regularly for awhile, some individuals are able to engage in
strength training on a more frequent basis as long as they are not using very heavy
weights. Training too often and resting too little can cause a condition called
overtraining whose symptoms include fatigue and immune suppression, both of
which could be hazardous to people with cancer.

Engaging in regular exercise is one of the best things cancer patients can do to
support positive thinking and mood, reduce treatment side effects, and improve
chances of recovery. It is also essential for patients in remission, whose chances of relapse are sharply reduced by regular exercise. Cancer patients who want to get
started can get the greatest benefits from exercise by simply listening to their body
and adjusting their regimen as needed.

This post was submitted by an anonymous guest writer. Thank you, anonymous!

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