One of the very first blog posts I wrote was about exercise. Basically I said it was medicine. I have not changed that view, I really believe it. All cancer patients should attempt to keep active and this is even more important if you are being treated for long-term cancer. Why? Because keeping active will not only help your physical condition but it will also help you cope mentally. There are numerous pieces of research which confirm cancer patients are at risk of succumbing to depression and anxiety in addition to issues with their physical condition. Research also indicates that exercise can help.
In my blog “Exercise is Medicine“, I discussed how it had benefitted me when I was in a bit of a rut. I have not looked back since. The positivity you see in some of my blog posts comes partly from the fact that I did something I didn’t think I would ever be able to do again. Moreover, it refocused me on what was really important and it helped me physically and mentally.
Now ….. I did get some feedback from various people claiming they are not able to do any exercise because of their condition. I understand that and I also understand some people will have physical disabilities that prevent them being as mobile as they would like. However, I’ve always emphasised that “exercise” does not mean you need to run a marathon or climb Mount Kilimanjaro; or that you need to do something difficult every single day. If you can actually do that, great! Exercise can also mean simple things such as gardening, walking to the mall or a block or two, lifting some weights, do a couple of press-ups, swim, anything to get your limbs moving. You can start small and then build up to whatever is comfortable and beyond if you then feel sufficiently challenged. The most important thing is to do something and you should feel better after you’ve done it.
Here’s some professional advice from the American Cancer Society:
“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. So today, many cancer care teams are urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment. Many people are learning about the advantages of being physically active after treatment, too”.
For Cancer patients, it’s not just about how fast, how high, how heavy, how much…………….. it’s about DIRECTION. Forward is Forward.
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For those concerned about the effects of exercise on their condition, please consult your GP/PCP for advice. Macmillan Cancer Support also has some great advice on exercise here.
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