Cancer Patients & Benefits of Exercise

Research has shown that even small doses of exercise or walking a few minutes every day can help cancer patients in reducing feelings of fatigue and increasing energy levels.

Physical activity can also have a positive impact on sleep quality, and has been helping to counteract insomnia experienced by many cancer patients.

As the muscles and joints become stronger and your endurance improves, the everyday tasks will begin to seem easier. If the cancer treatment has caused loss of muscle mass, exercise will help you regain some strength that you have lost.

Some people reported that following physical activity, have reduced their levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, many people say that exercise helps them feel better, more confident and in control of the treatment. Finally, many cancer patients emphasize that exercise helps them to endure their treatment and physical condition with great fortitude.

Recommended exercises

Cancer involves more than 100 different diseases, each with its own characteristics and recommended treatments. No two people with cancer are alike, and research on the benefits of exercise in people with this condition is still in its early stage.  The exercises are mostly recommended by the cancer specialists, based on the type of cancer the patient is suffering from. For example, the physical activities recommended to a person suffering from breast cancer will be different from the activities suggested to a person suffering from mesothelioma.

So far, no guidelines exist for exercise recommendations, except that whatever is done must be done moderately and gradually, to avoid injury and unexpected complications. If you’ve had surgery recently, you may be working with a physical therapist in order to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the area of operation.

Furthermore, you may be walking short distances to improve your endurance. As the recovery progresses, you could get, gradually, to exercise longer and harder.  Work with a professional physical therapist or exercise physiologist who has experience treating people with cancer.

Most exercise programs include different types of activities. Aerobic activity, such as walking, biking or swimming, is recommended to improve the patient’s resistance. The Official Journal of The American Society of Exercise Physiologists provides information about recommended exercise for cancer patients.


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