When a cancer patient first finds out he or she has any form of cancer, skin cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, mesothelioma, or any other type of cancer, one of their first questions is what they can do to help their body fight the disease. Conventional ideology by patients and cancer treatments staff, including doctors, was to rest and take it easy during diagnosis, treatment and remission stages. Yet recent studies have indicated that physical activity no matter what your stage of cancer can have tremendous health benefits.
According to the National Cancer Institute, physical activity is a critical component of something called energy balance, and not only does it increase energy levels, it can also reduce the risk of some cancers, like breast cancer and colon cancer.
Physical activity has the added benefit of improving overall quality of life and reducing fatigue. It is also associated with positive psychological effects that result from the knowledge of taking good care of one’s body, the release of feel good chemicals like serotonin, and the hope of not giving-up.
Studies into the benefits of physical activity in those who have cancer have indicated a positive correlation between increased recurrence rates and chances of survival in those who were more active post-diagnosis.
Exercise also strengthens the body and increases its natural defense mechanisms. This helps the body withstand rigorous treatments like chemotherapy by reducing the side effects like nausea and fatigue, fights off any opportunistic infections and empowers the body to mend. It also helps reduce excessive body fats that are a risk factor for chronic diseases like heart disease. Other conditions that are positively affected by physical activity are cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Finally, exercise also promotes good sleeping and this is especially beneficial to cancer patients as they bodies need rest. Therefore, contrary to conventional thoughts on resting which involved keeping sedimentary, good rest along with a host of other health benefits can result from keeping physically active. Therefore whether a patient was just diagnosed, is going through treatment or is in remission, physical activity is an important component of their weekly regimen. Exercise does not need to be intensive, even the smallest changes that keep one active like walking a dog or taking the stairs can make a difference. It is important to check with a doctor first before getting started.
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