Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Posting from David Haas: “Fight Cancer with Fitness”

The following is well-written and researched article written by David Haas - a Family Hospitality Coordinator and an advocate for cancer patients.  He also writes a terrifically inspiring blog -

Fight Cancer with Fitness- Fitness Has Power To Fight Treatment Side Effects

Most people understand the basic benefits of physical fitness - increased metabolism, weight loss, improved mood and the ability to live a longer life are just a few of them. However, not everybody knows how helpful physical activity can be when trying to battle cancer. Regardless of the type of cancer, cancer patients and survivors alike may feel exhausted, weak and tired, exercise becoming the last thing they would ever want to do. Not to mention the fact that many people who are nothing but healthy dread working out and refuse to exercise regularly. But workout out is one all-inclusive way to boost their energy levels and help cancer patients heal quicker and feel more vital.

From the initial diagnosis of cancer, whether one is diagnosed with a common cancer like breast cancer or a rare disease like mesothelioma, to the last round of chemotherapy, cancer patients often feel out of control. Exercise is a way to relinquish this control a bit - cancer patients, while they can’t control the disease itself, can at least take the rest of their health into their hands.

Cancer patients don’t need to work out for hours on end every day - even as little as two and a half hours of moderate activity every week will be beneficial. Two days of the week, cancer patients and survivors should perform muscle-strengthening workouts. Other than that, it’s important for cancer patients to have well-rounded exercise, including aerobic exercise, balance exercises and stretching. Aerobic exercise includes walking, running and bicycling, and is the most effective type of exercise for keeping your weight down. The best benefit of all is that maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk for recurring cancer.

However, not every day is the right day to exercise. The more chemotherapy and radiation treatments a person undergoes, the more tired and fatigued they’ll feel. Before you head out for your morning jog, rate your fatigue on a scale of zero to four, zero being not fatigued at all and four being extremely exhausted. If you’re too tired, don’t push your body - get the rest you need and work out the next day you’re feeling better. However, if you’re only moderately fatigued, exercising is better than resting, and will actually boost your energy.

Exercise isn’t only helpful for people who have had cancer. Regular physical activity can actually lower the risk for certain types of cancer, like breast cancer, endometrial cancer and colon cancer by anywhere from 20% to as much as 80%.

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