It is well known that exercise and being physically active has many benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise improves our fitness and strength, helps us maintain a healthy body weight, increases our energy levels, promotes positive self-esteem & mood and reduces the risk of chronic disease. Therefore, there is no exception to this for both women and men braving a diagnosis and/or survival of cancer. With more people now living with the long-term effects of cancer and its associated treatments, it is important to highlight that exercise plays an important role both during and after cancer treatment and the growing research proving its effectiveness and safety.
ROLE OF EXERCISE DURING TREATMENT
Unfortunately, there are many side effects to common cancer treatments and the toll it takes on your body, however research shows that not only is exercise during different types of cancer treatment safe it can also have a number of benefits. This does not mean you have to run a marathon or climb a mountain but by staying physically active and incorporating small bouts of exercise into your daily routine it can help manage & have a positive effect on the following:
- Severity of Fatigue, nausea & pain
- Cardiorespiratory & cardiovascular function
- Body composition
- Immune function
- Bone mineral density
- Range of motion
- Pelvic floor issues
- Functional capacity
- Hospitalization duration
- Reduced risk of chronic conditions – osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease
- Enhanced Quality of life (QOL)
ROLE OF EXERCISE POST TREATMENT
While many of the above side effects improve a few weeks post treatment, some can last much longer or even emerge years after, that is why it is important to keep moving. Too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness and reduced range of motion. Engaging in regular exercise increases your muscle strength, joint flexibility, heart and lung function, bone mineral density and general conditioning, all of which may be impaired by treatment and therapies.
Fatigue is regarded as one of the most common and disabling side effects of cancer treatment, but by engaging in exercise it can get your heart pumping and blood flowing which increases your energy levels by reducing the severity of fatigue. It also promotes the release of chemicals called endorphins in the brain – these healthy chemicals boost mood and provide a calming effect on both the body and mind. Overall exercise can improve your QOL and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence!
It is important to remember that exercise is safe! Individuals with cancer should be physically active as their abilities & condition allow. Some days may be harder than others, but even a few minutes of light exercise is better than no exercise at all. Not sure where to start? What to do? or how much to do? Follow these simple guidelines:
- Limit sedentary behaviours, such as sitting or laying down
- Maintain or gradually return to activities of daily living
- Aim to build up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (puffing) exercise weekly, this can be broken down into 20-30 minute bouts of cardio-respiratory exercise such as brisk walking 5 days per week.
- Include 2-3 sessions a week of resistance-based exercise (weights, body weight or theraband) targeting major muscle groups.
- Improve your flexibility with basic stretching daily.
Exercise can be a great way to take control of your health and improve your physical & emotional wellbeing.
Lastly, “if you don’t use it, you will lose it”.
To find out more about our exercise program ‘TRI – ANTHEM’ which supports cancer survivorship as well as other chronic conditions.
Please Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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