Fitness Helps Patients in the Fight Against Cancer

As I mentioned yesterday, today’s post is by David Haas. He is a cancer advocate who blogs over at Haas Blaag who emailed and asked to do a guest post. It seemed like a good fit for my current frame of mind and where I’ve been the last few  weeks. However, excercise programs should always take into consideration various side effects such as hand/foot syndrome. There are days I can’t walk across the kitchen, let alone walk a few miles. I’ll post my thoughts on that tomorrow but today, I give you David:

A diagnosis of any type of cancer including breast cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer or even a rare disease like mesothelioma  (annie’s note – as long as it’s my cancer of choice, let’s add GIST to that list shall we?) is often shattering. Fear, depression, hopelessness, and anxiety are common and understandable responses with any cancer diagnosis.  One effective strategy for keeping energy levels high to fight the disease is to get regular exercise before, during, and after treatment.

What Can Fitness and Exercise Do for Cancer Patients?

There are several ways in which regular exercise and physical fitness help cancer patients to cope and fight back. For one, exercise focuses the patient’s mind on the physical activity, instead of on the on the disease. In this way it offers a respite from the anxiety that is normal any type of prognosis

Exercise also gives the patient a feeling of control over what is happening to his or her body, which is something patients often lack when facing cancer.

Exercise has been proven to help fight depression and improve mood. This allows the patient to face the diagnosis with greater equanimity.

Exercise promotes better blood circulation to improve energy and healing and to deliver the body’s own disease fighting agents as well as chemotherapy drugs to all parts of the body where they are needed.

When it is performed with others, exercise can prevent loneliness. It can promote bonding when done with a spouse or family member, and friendship when done with a group.

Fitness gives patients an overall sense of well-being and can significantly improve mental attitude, physical strength, and quality of life during the difficult battle with the disease.

What Kinds of Exercise Are Good for Cancer Patients? 

Walking, jogging, swimming, bike riding, and other cardiovascular exercises are great ways to improve stamina, muscle tone, and circulation, while increasing energy and improving the body’s immune response.

Doing resistance exercises with weights, either at home or at the gym, has an even greater effect on muscle strength. 

Yoga and Pilates are two kinds of exercise that are especially helpful to cancer patients working to stay fit, because they engage the mind and the body while improving flexibility and muscle tone, promoting calmness and relaxation.

By improving energy levels and the functioning of the immune system, along with promoting a positive mental outlook, physical fitness throughout the treatment process and recovery can give the cancer patient a boost in the fight against this devastating disease.

By: David Haas Writer of the Haas Blaag

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