Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cancer and Exercise


Exercise for Cancer Patients: Longer Life, Less Recurrence

There's abundant evidence that exercise and eating right can help prevent people from getting cancer. The latest information shows that exercise for cancer patients can also keep cancer from recurring.

Several recent studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of the cancer coming back, and a longer survival after a cancer diagnosis.

In studies of several different cancers, being overweight after completing treatment was associated with shorter survival times and higher risk of cancer recurrence.

Women who exercise after completing breast cancer treatment live longer and have less recurrence, according to recent evidence. Colorectal cancer survivors who exercised lived longer than those who didn't, two recent clinical trials showed.

What experts suspected has now been proven. As a cancer survivor, exercising could help you live a longer life -- free from cancer.

Exercise for Cancer Patients: What's In It For Me?

The benefits of exercise for the general population are well-publicized. But what if you're a cancer patient?

Exercise has many of the same benefits for cancer survivors as it does for other adults.. Some of these benefits include an increased level of fitness, greater muscle strength, leaner body mass, and less weight gain.

In other words, exercise for cancer patients can make you fitter, stronger, and thinner -- like anyone else who exercises.

Exercise can also:

·         Improve mood.

·         Boost self-confidence.

·         Reduce fatigue.

·         Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

When should you start exercising after cancer diagnosis and treatment? As soon as possible!

Studies show that after a cancer diagnosis, people slow down. Stress, depression, and feeling sick or fatigued from cancer or its treatment all tend to make people less active.

The problem is, most people stay sedentary after treatment

As a long-term solution to the problem of fatigue, taking it easy and avoiding activity is not a good solution. It is important for cancer survivors to get back to exercising to help their recovery.

In other words: if you've down-shifted your activity level since your cancer diagnosis, now is the time to rev back up.

The following types of exercise can help cancer patients - and everyone else - get back in shape:

·         Flexibility exercises (stretching). Virtually everyone can do flexibility exercises. Stretching is important to keep moving, to maintain mobility. If you're not yet ready for more vigorous exercise, you should at least stay flexible.

·         Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, and swimming. This kind of exercise burns calories and helps you lose weight. Aerobic exercise also builds cardiovascular fitness, which lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

·         Resistance training (Iifting weights or isometric exercise), which builds muscle. Many people lose muscle, but gain fat, through cancer treatment. For those with a high fat-to-lean mass ratio, resistance training can be especially helpful.

"Ideally, cancer survivors should do aerobic exercises and weight training," says Courneya. "Both types of exercise are critical to the overall health and well-being of cancer survivors."

Exercise for Cancer Patients: How Much and How Hard?

For the general population, the American Cancer Society recommends "at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 5 days a week."

This amount of exercise is proven to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Experts say it that it should also be beneficial for cancer patients