Monday, June 4, 2012

Exercise Helping Cancer Patients

Today, we want to take a pretty serious break and talk about something dear to me: cancer patients and survivors. A guest writer, David Haas from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, has agreed to write a brief stint on how exercise can help people suffering from various types of cancer. We always talk about how exercise can help prevent disease, but there is also additional evidence that shows that exercise may be able to help you get through various types of diseases.

----Guest Writer: David Haas, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance
 Dealing with cancer can be difficult enough without having to also deal with the side effects of treatments, disruptions of sleep, stress, and anxiety. Exercise is known to be a powerful weapon in the fight against cancer according to the latest research. Even a moderate exercise routine can help you deal better with cancer by boosting your mood, immune system, and energy levels.

A Journal of Sport & Exercise study showed that only 15 minutes of exercise boosts feelings such as pride, enthusiasm, excitement, and happiness. The most active participants experienced more positive, uplifting moods compared to the more sedentary participants. Also, the active participants felt most positive on the days that they had exercised.

The study did not address exactly what the mechanism was behind the mood boost seen among the active students. But speculation is that the effect is due the secretion of certain chemicals and hormones when we are active. Neurotransmitters like dopamine and endorphins may be responsible. Endorphins have a pain-dampening effect and dopamine is the body's pleasure-reward chemical. In effect, when you exercise your body rewards you by decreasing your pain and increasing your feelings of happiness and contentment.

What type of exercise is best? The answer depends upon the individual. Make an honest assessment of your current level of physical fitness and where you are in your cancer treatment. Find a form of exercise that is not too demanding and one that you will enjoy. It’s impossible to stick with an exercise that you hate.

Many cancer patients, whether they are diagnosed with breast cancer or mesothelioma, enjoy activities like walking, jogging, and running. Some older patients may find more low-impact exercise to be appealing since they may suffer from arthritic knees or joints. If you fall into this category, you might prefer swimming, since the water supports most of your weight. Biking is another great way to get in some quality exercise. If you prefer to stay at home, a home stationary bike is a great choice. Some have monitors that estimate your speed and measure how many calories you are burning.

Whatever form of exercise you choose, the point is to get active and make it a regular part of your life. Once you see the many positive effects, you will not have to force yourself to do it- it will be a part of your day that your cherish and look forward to.

If you have any questions or concerns, consult with your doctor or oncologist. Your hospital may also have physical therapy staff that can help you design an exercise routine specific for your needs. They can take into account your current level of physical fitness and your condition to tailor-make an exercise routine just for you.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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1 comment:

  1. Cancer is a group of diseases that involve abnormal increases in the number of cells, with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Not all tumors or lumps are cancerous; benign tumors are not classified as being cancer because they do not spread to other parts of the body. One of types of cancer is Sarcoma also know as soft tissue cancer... Sarcoma is a cancer of the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels or her connective or supportive tissue. That the reason many sarcoma cancer treatment center has been opened for people who are suffering from these types of cancer. Learn more about cancer surgery & treatments to get the right treatment for your cancer. Thanks.


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