Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Exercise as a Cancer treatment?

I was out running the West Vancouver Seawall Monday night with my Body Exchange Run Group and I don’t like admitting this but it’s the real me.  Unless I get my exercise in for the day my mindset can tend to waver to the depressive and negative sadly that is how this chick is hardwired.  No matter what I do I cannot think myself out of these thoughts and feelings.  I have to move myself out of them.  Thirty minutes is all it takes of elevating my heart rate to release a flood of endorphins and soon after all is right in the world and everything seems possible.

 I was asked by a guest blogger, Melanie Bowen to share her writings and I’m always happy to provide a platform for health and wellness.  Fitness is not just for the fit, it is for all; beginners, plus size, young and old and those battling disease. 

Friends and loved ones with cancer don’t get to control most aspects of what is happening to them when their battle begins.  For some, exercise can become that one thing they can control to promote improved wellness both physically and mentally.  Melanie has a heart and a voice for those battling cancer.   Thank you Melanie for your encouraging tips below.  

Exercise: An Additional Cancer Treatment
Exercise is essential to living a healthy life. It strengthens the heart and muscles of the body, as well as improves circulation to the limbs and internal organs. In general, exercise simply makes people feel better about themselves. Despite these universal benefits, certain people have been discouraged from having an exercise regimen. Cancer patients are among those people. After years of forbidding patients from exercising, doctors now urge cancer patients to exercise because of the long list of benefits which research has indicated actually helps.

Strengthens the muscles
One of the unfortunate side effects of cancer is extreme fatigue. Many cancer patients have their hearts and muscles weakened even further when they go through treatment. Any movement that further exerts these muscles may seem more harmful than beneficial. However, the exact opposite appears to be the case. Light to moderate-intensity exercise will strengthen a cancer patient's muscles and give him or her more energy throughout the day.

Improves Circulation
Another symptom commonly experienced by cancer patients is poor circulation. The problem may initially start in the heart or lungs, but it has the ability to disrupt every major function in the body. Thirty minutes of exercise each day will bring in more oxygen and the increased heart rate will allow the body to distribute that oxygen where it is needed. Improving circulation with exercise will allow the organ systems to function more efficiently which will in turn help treatments be as successful as possible.

Improves Quality of Life
People with mesothelioma and other forms of cancer tend to get depressed when they have to rely on others for help with basic tasks. However, exercise has the ability to create exactly what they need: more lean muscle mass. This new muscle mass will give them added strength when beginning treatment, which often reduces muscle mass. It will also give them confidence and a sense of pride in their independence.

Cancer is something that doctors take very seriously. Their ban on exercise was only set in place for them to monitor a patient's progress. However, moderate levels of exercise will not get in the way of that. If anything, exercise will give cancer patients the strength and courage to continue fighting.