Everyone knows that being overweight or obese comes with a ton of negative health consequences, from symptoms like gastrointestinal reflux and fatigue to chronic disease. Exercise is the number one way to prevent obesity and gain numerous other benefits. A growing number of doctors are finding in research the evidence that exercise is not only great preventive medicine but it also aids in the treatment of chronic diseases. Physical fitness programs have been used to combat osteoporosis and heart disease to good effect, and cancer research organization have funded several explorations into the possible benefits of physical fitness training for cancer patients of all types.
When is Exercise Most Important for Cancer Patients?
It has long been realized that cancer survivors will benefit from regular exercise, be it walking or some other form of aerobics. New information shows that the benefits extend to every stage of treatment as well. Obviously, there are some types of treatment that contraindicate the use of some forms of exercise. High-impact aerobics would be a poor choice for bone cancer patients, and those undergoing mesothelioma treatment may be unable to stand up on their own, much less go for the recommended minimum 20-minute walks.
This limitations are the basis for the push to get physical fitness experts included on all cancer treatment teams. The benefits are just too important to be seen as an alternative therapy any more. Chemotherapy, for instance, is known to cause changes in appetite, rapid weight changes, and fatigue. Whether the prognosis is positive or poor for the patient, supervised exercise can be performed safely to eliminate or reduce these symptoms. for this reason, exercise is important for all patients, because it improves the quality of life. Additionally, it has been shown to make some forms of treatment more successful.
Importance of the Type and Amount of Exercise
Besides the need to maintain patient safety, the type of exercise is important for other reasons as well. The primary problem seen in getting patients physically fit is ensuring that the exercise program continues regularly. The benefits accrue over continued training, so it is vitally important to seek out physical fitness routines that are enjoyable for the patient. Limitations in movement following surgery, or for terminal patients, can mean strict prescriptions on exercise, but other patients should explore what they enjoy. Water aerobics, yoga, dance and even weight training are all possibilities.
The amount of exercise needed to realize benefits is dependent on the current status of the patient. Studies show that even a minimal amount is beneficial, and the key is tailoring the routine to the individual. Seek out a cancer clinic with personal trainers who specialize in cancer exercise.