Exercise and Cancer Treatments

Exercise and Cancer Treatments

Summer Blog

Exercise and Cancer Treatments: How Exercise Can Complement Cancer Treatments
by Dr. Oseni

Does increased physical activity aid in supporting the immune system during cancer treatments?

YES, it does. Exercise is a great tool to support and boost the immune system. This is not a rigorous, intensive exercise regimen for an extended period of time daily. Rather, this is more of a light to moderate physical activity that will increase heart rate, engage muscles and gets blood pumping throughout the body.

Latest research reveals that exercise is safe and contributes to improved quality of life of people with cancer. Too much rest may lead to weak muscles, decreased range of motion and impaired body functions. This is one of the reasons why more health care providers are recommending patients to become or maintain physical activity during cancer treatments.

Some of the direct benefits of physical activity during cancer treatments include:

Improve healthy appetite and metabolism
Improve overall quality of life
Lower the risk of depression and anxiety
Lower the risk of osteoporosis
Less tiredness/fatigue
Reduce the risk of clots and improve blood circulation
Reduces nausea
Improve self-esteem of the cancer patients
Encourages social interaction

Despite the numerous benefits of exercise, it is important to point out that an exercise plan must be safe and appropriate for each individual. It will need to be specifically designed based on the person’s movement limitations and restrictions.

It is also important to point out that there are factors which can affect a patient’s workout routine and intensity. Some of these factors to pay close attention to include; prior fitness level, type of treatment the individual is undergoing and the stage of cancer.

For example, if you exercised a lot before starting your treatment, it is recommended to reduce the frequency and intensity of the exercise regimen. On the other hand, if you have been very sedentary prior to beginning treatment, you may have to start with low-intensity short activities such as slow to brisk walks.

For older patients who suffer from osteoporosis or arthritis, safety and balance should be considered when devising the right exercise regimen for them. This will help reduce the risk of falls and injuries over time.

Latest research reveals that people with cancer should maintain or engage in some form of physical activity which is contrary to older beliefs. Physical activity helps people with cancer recover faster. Integrative Medicine at The Center, in collaboration with your providers, can provide advice and recommendations for each person in order to maximize their individual results.

Before trying out an exercise make sure to get your health care provider’s okay first before deciding to hire a qualified and experienced exercise specialist to devise the right workout plan for you.

Also, make sure that the exercise specialist who works with you knows about your cancer diagnosis and treatments when devising the right exercise plan for you. These are important things to consider when designing a professional exercise program for a person with cancer.

Some of my recommended summer exercises include:

Water aerobics
Yoga/Chair yoga
Weight-bearing exercises
A walk in the park with a partner or a four-legged buddy

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