A couple months ago, a girl named Melanie approached me about discussing the health benefits for cancer patients staying physically active during recovery. It’s a subject that touches close to home as I’ve had a few family members that have passed away from the disease. Also, last week my aunt Nicole passed away from lung cancer and my family has been going through the motions of saying their heartfelt goodbyes.
Melanie Bowen is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.
Here is Melanie Bowen’s article where she highlights the key points and exercises that help cancer patients during their recovery:
Can Exercise Improve Your Well-being During Cancer Treatment?
Experts believe that exercise can aid in the healing process, potentially speeding up recovery. Since you are not likely to be feeling your best during cancer treatment, you may be limited in the type and amount of exercise you can do. Don’t worry, though; there are exercises for every stage of the recovery process.
Stretching is a light exercise that almost anyone can do. It won’t cause you to break a sweat or exacerbate any breathing difficulties, which is why it is an ideal exercise for those undergoing treatment for mesothelioma or other cancers that affect the lungs. In its most basic form, stretching simply calls for moving your body around to preserve or improve your range of motion.
Stretching may help improve your mood, relieve anxiety, and, of course, improve your flexibility. Many cancer patients experience lymphedema, swelling of lymph nodes, as a result of surgery or radiation treatment. Studies have shown that stretches, such as arm extensions, can bring about some relief. Lung cancer patients can especially benefit from stretching because it doesn’t bring about noticeable changes in breathing. This is great news if you already find yourself short of breath. You can obtain some of the benefits of exercise without wearing yourself out.
The great thing about yoga is that there are varying degrees of difficulty, which allow you gradually increase the complexity of the exercises. You may find that you break a little bit of a sweat doing yoga, but you can tailor your routine to fit your needs and goals.
Yoga can provide immense benefits, so much so that cancer centers are offering classes for their patients. Your flexibility can be improved beyond what you achieved with light stretching. You may also see improvements in your sleep, physical conditioning, and pain management. One of the most beneficial aspects of yoga for cancer patients is stress management. Studies have shown a link between prolonged periods of stress and the development of cancer. Therefore, it is imperative to keep stress in check, and yoga can help you accomplish that task.
As you start feeling better and stronger, you may want to move on to more advanced forms of exercise. If eating has been difficult as a result of your treatment, you may have lost muscle mass. Weight training is a fantastic way to rebuild those muscles.
Weight training isn’t just for the muscles, though. The benefits extend to the cardiovascular system as well, and lifting weights can definitely make you feel more energized. If you have put on a few pounds as a result of taking it easy during recovery, weight lifting can certainly get you on the road to shedding excess fat. Much like you would with any other exercise, start slowly and increase your resistance as you feel yourself getting stronger. Weight machines are a great option for beginners, because they encourage proper form.
As you can see, there is an exercise for everyone. However, it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations when determining which type of exercise is appropriate for your stage of recovery. While you continue healing, you may find that you are able to do more and more every day.
I would like to thank Melanie for sharing her article with me and sharing her insight on how exercise can improve ones well-being during cancer treatment. If you have any further questions for Melanie and to learn more about her research, please visit her blog.
This week I will be getting back into my regular blogging routine and I will post Tasty Tuesdays… Should be delicious, just saying!
I’ve recently become a Serena Ryder fan. She is a fellow Canadian from Toronto, ON and sounds a lot like Adele. If you aren’t familiar with her music, I highly encourage you to sit back and have a listen to her album Harmony, I can assure you will not be disappointed.
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