Talk about how times are changing. For years physicians have long encouraged patients undergoing cancer treatment to rest and relax as much as possible.
Patients were told to avoid exertion, sleep and do as little as possible.
However, today physicians have changed their tune and in a big way, and now advise cancer patients to stay as physically active as they can under close supervision. Research and real life experience proves that people fighting cancer have a better chance of surviving when following regular exercise routines.
“Exercise is very important for cancer patients,” says Colleen Doyle, who is the Director of Nutrition and Physical Activity with the Cancer Society. “So many doctors and health professionals were once concerned about safety issues – is it safe for people undergoing treatment to exercise?”
She adds, “It is safe and feasible and we should be recommending exercise for cancer patients.”
Now the exercise guidelines for all Canadians and Americans alike also stands for people undergoing cancer treatment.
Doyle adds, “Exercise is safe and it has a number of benefits for cancer patients during treatment.”
The number one benefit of course is survival as exercise makes the body stronger, allowing it to withstand the harsh effects of treatments that include radiation and chemotherapy.
Kathryn Schmitz, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and lead researcher at the university’s Abramson Cancer Centre, says that “exercise may make cancer treatment more effective.”
A case in point is breast cancer patients doing resistance training. Studies have shown that patients with breast cancer doing this kind of training were able to take a full dose of chemotherapy as opposed to cutting it short, thanks to exercise.
Here are other benefits of exercise for cancer patients:
– Reduced Exhaustion: It is proven that you need less medical attention for your fatigue during chemotherapy if you are physically active
– Reduced Loss of Muscle & Bone Mass: Research proves that regular workouts attenuate the wasting away that comes from cancer and the treatments
– Better Quality of Life: Overall research proves that people with cancer who exercise daily are better overall and feel more in control
Keep in mind doctors never expert cancer patients to maintain and exercise routine that healthier people follow.
Schmitz states, “Cancer patients should however avoid as much inactivity as they can.”
The overall message is clear: for those fighting cancer, the best weapon is exercise to a successful recovery. And what’s even better in all this is that exercise is free – it doesn’t cost you or the healthcare system money. Stay fit and live longer – that’s the best message going these days.