Cancer Patients: Remain Fit and Active!
Maintaining an active and fit lifestyle during and after treatment for cancer is one of the best things cancer patients and survivors can do for themselves. As the number of cancer survivors grows, so does the knowledge that researchers have about the needs of these patients. One of the things they have found is that cancer patients are actually able to do a lot more, physically, even during treatment than previously thought. So keeping a regular routine of physical activity, with all the physical, mental and emotional benefits it provides, is highly recommended.
According to an article published by the National Cancer Institute, new guidelines for patients who are undergoing cancer treatment or have just completed treatment were released in 2010 with a strong recommendation for cancer patients to remain active during and immediately after treatment. The guidelines, however, also caution patients and their doctors to design realistic routines including adaptations for the conditions presented by each patient’s specific type of cancer.
The importance of keeping fit and remaining active include improved body image and body composition. Cancer patients often deal with a changing body and many undergo operations that change the shape of their body. Becoming or remaining physically fit throughout this process helps patients improve their body image, helping them learn to love their new body, and as a result, their quality of life improves.
A patient’s body composition also changes depending on the type of cancer. Physical activity can be beneficial in many ways, from building muscle, flexibility and strength, to controlling and losing excess weight. A patient who is dealing with mesothelioma, for example, needs to build strength and stamina. Meanwhile, a breast cancer survivor might be struggling with weight gain resulting from certain treatment. This also helps the patient’s overall health and impacts their quality of life as well.
Another benefit for all cancer patients is a feeling of emotional and mental well-being. Exercising regularly makes people feel better and more positive about life. This is something that cancer patients in particular need, especially when they are dealing with a life-changing illness or aggressive treatment, which can make the patient feel sad or depressed.
Remaining physically active helps cancer patients get stronger and more stable as they face their diagnosis, begin treatment, and become survivors. Some studies even suggest that physical fitness might be involved in preventing the development of certain types of cancer.