Thursday, January 26, 2012

Benefits of Physical Activity - Guest Blogger

Hey All!  The following is a guest post written by David Haas.   David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching many valuable programs, David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.

Tremendous Benefits from Physical Activity – During and After Cancer Treatment

Regardless of whether you have completed treatment for cancer and are in remission, or are in the midst of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, you can benefit from physical activity.  Repeated studies have shown that exercise provides both emotional and physical benefits over the long term for people with cancer.

Physical Benefits

It has been known for a long time that almost anyone benefits from exercise and physical activity, no matter what their health status.  According to WebMD, people with cancer can especially benefit from integrating exercise into their health routine.  Not only does exercise help boost energy levels and stamina, but it also can contribute to long-term survival and overall health improvement.

Repeated studies have shown that even after finishing cancer treatment, individuals who continue exercising have lower rates of recurrence and improved heart and lung function.  In one study of patients with breast cancer, it was found that women who exercised just moderately on a regular basis had longer survival rates and better health outcomes than women who were sedentary and did not exercise.

Additional health benefits of exercising include weight loss and improved weight control, reduced fatigue and lower risk for cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

Emotional Benefits

The benefits from physical activity are not limited to the physical.  Most patients who begin to exercise report that they begin to feel better overall.  Depression and anxiety are very common experiences for cancer patients.  However, regular moderate exercise can result in improved mood and relief from depression and anxiety.

Another benefit from exercise is that many people experience a boost in their self-confidence.  As your body begins to get stronger, you feel more positive about the future.  You may find yourself celebrating major milestones as your body gets stronger and you are able to do more.

Talking to Your Doctor

When you sit down and talk to your mesothelioma doctor or oncologist, ask for recommendations about what types of exercise are most appropriate for starting a new exercise routine.  Depending on your stamina and strength, recommendations may range from simple stretching exercises to walking or swimming.  As your health improves, you may find that you want to add activities or change what you are doing.

Your doctor may also recommend that you work with an occupational or physical therapist initially.  They can help you develop a physical fitness routine of exercise that is not too strenuous and teach you how to exercise correctly.  You may also benefit from talking to a nutritionist to get recommendations about healthy foods you can eat to improve your stamina and overall health.

When you are fighting cancer, use every tool you can find to build your body into a fighting machine.  Even after you conquer the illness, continue the good health habits you develop to keep your body in fighting condition.  In the long run, you will benefit and feel better and happier.

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