Starting an exercise routine can be daunting enough for anyone, let alone those who are fighting cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults take part in a minimum of 2.5 hours of physical exercise weekly and resistance training twice a week. These recommendations are no different for cancer patients, except for those who have been greatly weakened by the disease and their treatment. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments are cumulative. The more treatments you undergo, the more tired you will be.
Cancer patients, like those with mesothelioma cancer, are advised to pay attention to their levels of fatigue before training on any particular day. It is important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you. But if you are only moderately tired, any exercise is better than nothing. There are four main types of physical fitness: strength training, balance, stretching, and aerobic exercise. It is best to get some exercise that will benefit you in each of these four areas. Balance is best. For example, if you only focus on strength training, you may be quite strong but suffer from a weak heart and circulation.
Stretching and Balance
Stretching prior to your workout will get your heart rate and temperature up and prepare you for exercising. It also helps reduce your risk of injury. Meanwhile, balancing exercises can help prevent falls that may injure a cancer patient when not feeling their best.
Aerobics can be any exercise that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time, strengthening the heart muscle and circulation. Activities like bicycling, running, jogging, and walking are effective aerobic exercises. You can have more lean muscle mass if you alternate strength exercises with aerobic exercises. This way, you will be decreasing fat and increasing your metabolism.
Raising your metabolism will boost energy levels and mood. The effects will last for hours after your exercise, also increasing the calories and fat you burn. Obesity is a marker for cancer. Losing fat will help make it more likely that your cancer will not return or that you will develop a secondary cancer later on.
Resistance training helps prevent the muscle loss or wasting that occurs with some types of cancer or normal aging. Losing muscle mass will make injuries more likely, also leading to other health problems down the road. It also helps to strengthen bones. As we age, we often lose bone density. Maintaining or building muscle encourages our bodies to maintain strong bones to support the additional force that muscles provide. In this case, an accident is much less likely to result in broken bones- a common cause of lack of mobility in seniors and cancer patients.
According to the National Cancer Institute, exercise can lower the risk of developing cancer. Breast cancer risk can be lowered by 20- 40 percent and the risk of developing colon cancer can be lowered by 30- 40 percent.