For some time now, the myth of bed rest and keeping still whether ill or injured has been dispelled. It is well-known today that getting up and getting active as soon as possible is most effective for good health. In the same way, being active before, during or after a cancer diagnosis is extremely beneficial for your health on many levels.
At the heart of it, it is essential to get your heart working. The effect of aerobic exercise is to use oxygen to achieve the aerobic metabolism. This need not be intensive exercise. In fact, light to moderate exercise that enables you to continue to converse without being winded is about the level of this activity that can be performed for extended periods. In this way, the body is benefiting from the increased heart rate, the muscular contractions involved and the energy generated within the muscle.
Examples of this exercise include:
- Riding your bike
- Mowing the lawn
- Walking the dog
- Exercise bike
The Physical Benefits of Exercise:
Recent research has suggested that physical fitness can affect the risk of developing cancer. The body responds quickly to repeated movement of large muscle groups in the legs, hips and arms. As you breathe more deeply at an increased rate, you oxygenate your blood to its maximum. As the heart beats faster, more blood is circulated to the muscles and throughout the body and lungs. Small blood vessels become more productive delivering oxygen to and carrying waste, such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide, away from the body.
This releases the body’s natural painkillers known as endorphins, which promotes an overall increased sense of well-being. Regardless of your age, your weight or your ability, regular aerobic exercise helps with:
- Maintaining weight
- Increasing stamina (especially helpful during treatment)
- Boosting the immune system
- Reducing other health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and osteoporosis
- Enhancing heart strength by keeping arteries clear and improving blood flow
- Enhancing mood
- Staying active and keeping a sharp mind
- Extending life
Following a light to moderate exercise regime will make eating and sleeping much easier, which, in turn, improves how you feel and look. It may even seem to others that you do not appear ill while you are in the middle of treatment. Always consult with your physician regarding your exercise routine. For example, those undergoing mesothelioma treatments may have compromised lung capacity and may have to proceed with caution or adapt a routine that is not overwhelming.
This article was written by Melanie; Melanie 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 illnesses. 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.