Why you should still exercise during cancer treatment

When you’re going through cancer treatment, the last thing on your mind is exercise. It’s hard enough to find the energy to make dinner or go to work, let alone hop on a treadmill.

But here’s why abandoning exercise during cancer treatment is a big mistake…

People who exercise during cancer treatment feel better. They have more energy, less pain and a far better quality of life.

So even though it seems like going through cancer treatment is the best reason ever to cut yourself some slack when it comes to exercising, the opposite is true.

Now’s the time you need exercise more than ever…

More exercise means more energy and less pain for cancer patients

Several studies presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2018 Congress in Munich prove that exercise should be part of the cancer treatment plan for people going through chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

One of these studies found that exercising twice per week helped people undergoing treatment for breast cancer improve their energy levels and decrease their pain levels significantly within six months. They also had less body fat and better overall fitness.

Another study found that women with stage 1 to stage 3 breast cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy had less fatigue, less pain, less breathlessness, and better physical well-being when they exercised.

Read: Proof that exercise can slay cancer

Basically, people who exercise during cancer treatment have a higher quality of life during the most challenging time in their lives. It may be hard to get started. But if you do, it will make cancer treatment more bearable.

How much should you exercise during cancer treatment?

If you have cancer and you’re starting an exercise routine, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor first. Everyone’s situation is different. He or she can guide you toward the safest exercise approach for you.

Generally, research shows that people who are receiving cancer treatment benefit most when they exercise two to three times per week for about an hour. You should make that exercise moderate to vigorous if possible. Examples of moderate exercise are things like brisk walking, water aerobics or volleyball. Vigorous exercise includes things like aerobic dance, heavy gardening or fast swimming.

Researchers also found that people prefer to exercise in classes on-site where they’re receiving treatment. They feel more comfortable when they’re working with trainers who understand their needs. If that’s how you feel too, ask around at the hospital or clinic where you’re receiving treatment.

If they don’t offer exercise classes directly, they may be able to connect you to a local healthcare organization or nonprofit that does specialize in exercise classes for people going through cancer.

The main thing to remember is that exercise is an effective complementary cancer treatment. It has the potential to make you feel a lot better without any harmful side effects. So, keep plugging on if you can. It will pay off.

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Source:

  1. Regular exercise should be part of cancer care for all patients — MedicalXpress

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.