Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Physical Fitness and Cancer

Post by guest contributor Melanie Bowen

Many years ago, a diagnosis of cancer normally elicited a response of fear and dread from those on the receiving end of the diagnosis. These days such a diagnosis, while still unwanted, usually brings about a much more hopeful response. Both treatments and outcomes have improved for almost every type of cancer, even mesothelioma cancer.

Did you know that there are some things you can be doing on your own that can improve your body's response to cancer treatment? You can have more energy, improved mood, and immune system response even while undergoing treatment.

One of the best things you can do, whether you have recently been diagnosed, treated, or are recovering is engage in regular physical exercise. The other good news is that even a little bit of exercise goes a long way. If you are picturing grueling sessions in the gym, you can relax.

Here are a few ways to get in some great exercise that will pay off in the weeks and months to come, even after you have beaten your cancer.

Running and jogging

Running and jogging will give you most of the benefits of exercise, such as greater energy and an immune system boost. You can find a track or park near your home or use a treadmill in the privacy of your own home. Even short sessions can prove extremely beneficial.


Swimming is a great low-impact exercise and great for cancer patients. The water itself will prevent most of the jarring impact of your exertions. Swimming is particularly good for aerobic work, as well as strengthening your muscles.

Weight lifting

If you can afford a simple set of dumbbells, you can get in a good workout every week. You can do bicep curls, shoulder lifts, and upright rows. Weight lifting can improve your overall appearance and your body’s stamina when going through treatment. You can lose weight where you want to and gain muscle where you need to.

When you begin, judge your strength so that you can comfortably perform 8 reps on your first set. From there, you can gradually add weight for added resistance. Aim for three to four sets for each body part exercised.

No matter what type of exercise you settle on, just make it a regular part of your weekly routine. If you are being treated, your energy may be limited initially. This is perfectly fine. Take it slowly at first and most importantly talk to your doctor about all of your fitness habits. It is important to make sure you are using an appropriate regiment for your situation and gaining the maximum benefits.

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