Fighting Cancer with Fitness

The Major Role Fitness Plays in Fighting Cancer

Chances are that a friend or loved one will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Although experts in the medical community still have a lot to learn about the different forms of cancer, there have been some very intriguing findings involving the relationship between cancer and fitness. In general, increased fitness levels seem to have a positive impact on people in all stages of cancer treatment. Whether someone is a healthy adult or a cancer survivor, including fitness into daily life can offer many benefits.
One of the most recognized positive outcomes for people who routinely exercise is a lowered body mass index. Getting frequent exercise helps to reduce body fat and increases lean muscle mass for those who work out.  Medical experts have recognized a correlation between lowered body mass index and the prevalence of cancer. Based on this scientific data, people of all ages should incorporate fitness into daily routines to help prevent a cancer diagnosis. Staying in shape can also help to lower inflammation throughout the body and lower the occurrence of other major illnesses.
Even with proper diet and exercise, a cancer diagnosis can sometimes happen without warning. For most, getting this news from the doctor is a stressful experience that is difficult to deal with. However, this is the time when staying fit can be the most advantageous. Fitness and medical experts agree that regular exercise helps to lower stress hormones in the body. After an initial cancer diagnosis, patients should stay motivated to stick with exercise programs in order to maintain a positive outlook. Staying active will help the body deal with the shock of this information.
After a cancer patient has agreed upon on a treatment method with a doctor, some may undergo depression and withdrawal. It can be easy to get discouraged when undergoing strong chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma and other cancers. Patients should confer with their oncologist about the type of exercise that would be right for them. Moderate walking and resistance training can increase energy levels and positively affect mood. Additionally, there are many side effects associated with these aggressive treatments that can leave patients with the feeling that they have lost control over their bodies. Simple, short-term exercise goals can help patients to regain confidence with their abilities and help them to overcome a cancer diagnosis.
Even patients in remission from cancer can benefit from routine exercise.  Several studies have shown that exercise helps to prevent the cancer from recurring. One specific study of breast cancer survivors found that women who walked three to five hours a week saw a 50% reduction in mortality. Getting frequent exercise after going into remission offers survivors the chance to prevent the disease from coming back. In addition, those who maintain this level of exercise after going into remission are able to regain a lot of the strength that may have been lost during the treatment process.
Although staying active and maintaining a proper body weight is not a definitive cure for cancer, there is enough evidence to suggest that patients greatly benefit from regular participation in cardiovascular and strength training. Further, taking a simple walk around the block or picking up lightweights on occasion offers benefits for anyone desiring to prevent major medical issues. Cancer doesn’t have to be fought lying down. Oncologists can work with cancer patients to help them stay in shape during the long and arduous fight against the disease.

Author: David Haas

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