Friday, March 22, 2013

Working Your Way Through Illness

This is a guest post from Melanie Bowen of All About Health and Happy Runnings. Very much worth reading. Thank you Melanie!
Contrary to some beliefs, fitness programs are not harmful to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. Just the opposite is true.  Patients who have been going through treatment for a great length of time, those suffering from just about anything from breast cancer to mesothelioma, and people who have been newly diagnosed can all benefit from regular exercise during their struggle. Exercise strengthens the body rather than weakening it as its fights off cancer cells.

The types of exercises that are beneficial to cancer patients are not those that are long and strenuous. Routines such as these can leave them feeling drained. Patients undergoing cancer treatments are often already in a weakened state due to radiation therapy and other forms of conventional treatment. Exercises that provide benefit are mild activities such as walking and resistance workouts that keep the body active during the course of treatments. Studies have revealed that people engaging in light to medium exercise during cancer treatments live longer and have much higher survival rates.  Women suffering from breast cancer who perform daily exercises have been shown to live 50% longer than women undergoing treatment without any type of exercise program.

Exercise has been shown to lessen the side effects of treatment in addition to lengthening the survival time of patients. Patients, who lose their appetite and feel nauseated due to traditional cancer treatments, have reported a return of appetite after engaging in mild exercises.  Many patients also face problems maintaining a steady weight during treatment.  Exercising assists in regulating the body's metabolism to help keep this aspect of treatment under control.

Patients going through cancer treatments have also noted that exercise considerably enhanced their quality of life during the experience. Cancer sufferers are extremely prone to depression and difficulty sleeping.  Exercise continually proves to be a remedy in these areas by inducing the release of endorphins throughout the body. The activity and the fresh air that comes with walking or jogging elevates the mood of the patient, allows them to set goals for themselves, and combats feelings of isolation. Prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer in men, also reflects lower mortality rates when conventional treatment is combined with regular exercise.  There is a 30% reduction in the number of deaths.

Even after treatments have ceased, patients in remission still report the benefits of maintaining a regular exercise program.  Exercise is effective as both a treatment and a preventative measure. The positive effects from a steady regiment of activity impact heart health, bone density, muscle strength, and provide pain relief. Talk to your doctor today and get started on a program that will help you mentally and physically.

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