by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
Did you know that for adults it is recommended to engage in at least 2 and a half hours of moderate physical activity a week and in muscle-strengthening workouts for two days of the week? These suggestions are the same for cancer patients, but it is different in the way that they may go about exercising. All depending on how the illness has impacted on their bodies.
Are you a cancer patient? If so, pay close attention to what you are about to read on ahead. It may be just exactly what you need in order to relief some of those pains you have been going through. If not, then you can help by sharing this information with others.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are cumulative which means that the more treatments you receive, the more fatigue you will feel. You can rate your fatigue on a scale of 0 (no fatigue) to 4 (totally exhausted) before making the decision on undergoing strenuous physical exercise.
You have to always listen to your body. If you are totally fatigued, then give yourself a shot at taking a day off. But if you feel like you are only moderately fatigued, anything you do is better than nothing. Just like exercise for people without cancer, the four areas of fitness aerobic exercise, strength training, balance and stretching are important as well for those who do have it. Let us take a look at those four areas to see how each pertains to cancer patients.
Aerobic exercise gives an UP on your heart rate and involves exercises like walking, riding on a bicycle and running. By alternating cardiovascular workouts with strength workouts, a person can increase lean muscle mass, lower fat and boost the body’s metabolism. It is one of the best things to maintain body weight, because you are burning calories. You should know that a risk factor for cancer is, being overweight, but maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of cancer developing or recurring.
Something that you can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer is, keep yourself involved in physical activity. For example; by 20 to 80 percent. The risk of endometrial cancer by 20 to 40 percent and the risk of colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent. But don’t just take my word, check for yourself on the web. This is all according to the National Cancer Institute.
Remember that keeping healthy is all up to you and how else of a better way can you make sure of that than by keeping yourself informed.
Aerobic exercise is also good for helping people feel better while going through cancer treatments, and being fit can improve recovery after going through an operation. On the other hand, a cancer patient may not have enough energy to do 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise a day. If so, the patient could do 10 minutes of exercise three times a day to get the same results. Walking exercises are generally safe right after a person has undergone cancer treatment. But you still have to be very careful to not over do it.
Strength training improves muscle tone and fights muscle loss that can occur during the process of aging. It can be done with dumbbells, barbells, and weight machines. But for an average person, bone density and muscle are different from those of a cancer patient. Chemotherapy can cause women to lose as much bone density in a year as the average woman would lose in a decades. This is a huge reason why strength training is so important.
It is when your muscles become more dense that they put more pressure on the bone. Trying to maintain bone density through strength training and weight-bearing exercises like walking will help you maintain that bone density needed. But, weight training will not increase bone density, but it will at least help to maintain it. Now, before taking any actions, I recommend you to consult your doctor to see if carrying out a weight training program is right for you.
In order to have a workout free of slips and tumbles, a good sense of balance is vital. For some cancer patients, drugs can impair balance. And if you did not know, for those on chemotherapy with decreased bone mass, it will take only one fall to break a bone. Therefore, if you are a cancer patient or a survivor, you should make sure balance exercises are a regular part of your fitness routine. Simple exercises such as walking a narrow path or heel raises can improve that balance.
Other balance exercises to try are, single-leg stands, in which you will spend 60 seconds standing on one leg, and grapevines, which require you to step sideways and put one foot in front, and then in back of the other. Balance exercises are generally safe to do even right after cancer treatment. So, don’t be shy and make sure not to miss out on this exercise.
Not to many people remember to do this part of the workout and others just can’t seem to make it a habit. If you have a cancer that requires surgery, it may be that you feel some type of weakness in certain parts of your body. For example, breast cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies probably will feel weakness where the rotator cuff may be, at their shoulder girdles.
But don’t worry, this has been covered, too. There are exercises that are specifically put together to strengthen the shoulder. If you are one of the women who had breast cancer, you may want to do an exercise such as, walking your arms up a wall in which you will increase range of motion. But, you should only go to the point of tightness, not pain. Doing these stretching exercises for the areas that you have had surgery on, could help you gain mobility in those areas once again.
Now, remember that the best way to learn something is, passing down what you have been taught. Tell others what is the importance exercising for patients who have cancer and for those who have survived. Always remind them to keep in mind that their conditions may pose some unique challenges. But, that None the less, they should take on those challenges and make the difference, today!