Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient

Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient

Reposed from Melanie Brown -

In the past, people being treated for a chronic illness (an illness a person may live with for a long time, like cancer or diabetes) were often told by their doctor to rest and reduce their physical activity.

This is good advice if movement causes pain, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath. But newer research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, but it can improve how well you function physically and your quality of life. Too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness, and reduced range of motion in someone with a chronic illness. So today, many cancer care teams are urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment.

And now, many people are learning about the advantages of being physically active after treatment as well. Ways regular exercise may help you during cancer treatment • Keep or improve your physical abilities (how well you can use your body to do things)
• Better balance, lower risk of falls and broken bones
• Keep muscles from wasting due to inactivity
• Lower the risk of heart disease
• Lessen the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
• Improve blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots
• Make you less dependent on others for help with normal activities of daily living
• Improve your self-esteem
• Lower the risk of being anxious and depressed
• Lessen nausea • Improve your ability to keep social contacts
• Fewer symptoms of tiredness (fatigue)
• Help you control your weight
• Improve your quality of life We still do not know a lot about how exercise and physical activity affect your recovery from cancer, or their effects on the immune system.

But regular moderate exercise has been found to have health benefits for the person with cancer. Goals of an exercise program During treatment There are many reasons for being physically active during cancer treatment, but each person’s exercise program should be based on what is safe and what works best for them. It should also be something you like doing. Your exercise plan should take into account any exercise program you already follow, what you can do now, and any physical problems or limits you have.

Certain things affect your ability to exercise, for instance:
• The type and stage of cancer you have
• Your cancer treatment
• Your stamina (endurance), strength, and fitness level If you exercised before treatment, you might need to exercise less or at a lower intensity during treatment.

The goal is to keep as active and fit as possible. People who were very sedentary (inactive) before cancer treatment may need to start with short, low-intensity activity, such as short slow walks. For older people and those with bone metastases (cancer that has spread to the bones) or osteoporosis (bone thinning), or problems like arthritis or peripheral neuropathy (numbness in hands or feet), safety and balance are important to reduce the risk of falls and injuries.

They may need a caregiver or health professional with them during exercise. Some people can safely begin or maintain their own exercise program, but many will have better results with the help of an exercise specialist