Fighting Back with Physical Fitness–Guest Post by Melanie Bowen
Fighting Back with Fitness by Melanie Bowen
Physical fitness is important for everyone. Cancer patients, and survivors in particular, need to make a habit of staying active. Whether you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, are a survivor of mesothelioma or have undergone treatment for any other type of cancer, your physical fitness plays an important role in your long-term health.
Of course, cancer patients aren’t encouraged to climb Mt. Everest or participate in grueling triathlons, but moderate exercise appears to be very beneficial. Studies indicate that cancer patients who exercise regularly report up to 50 percent less fatigue than those who do not. Additionally, increased muscle strength and flexibility are associated with exercise, especially yoga, which can assist in recovery from surgery and other therapies that may inhibit both strength and flexibility. Of course, hormones released during exercise give an added bonus by helping to elevate mood with the release of endorphins. Also, following a battle with cancer, those who remain active are less likely to gain excess weight, which could contribute to a reoccurrence.
As with any exercise or diet program, you need to communicate with your doctor about what level of physical activity is right for you. Every exercise program should include elements of an aerobic workout, strength training and stretching.
If exercising seems overwhelming or you simply can’t find the motivation, try these tips:
–Start slowly with casual activities such as a walk around the block
–Make your exercise an activity you enjoy such as an easy bike ride or low-impact dancing
–Drink plenty of water while working out so your body can get the most benefit
–Allow yourself to rest frequently. Three 10-minute segments might be easier to accomplish than 30 minutes of continual exercise.
Exercise is an important part of daily life for everyone, and for cancer patients and survivors it is an integral part of self-care. Make a point to exercise even a little bit everyday. As you do, you will find that your energy level increases along with your mood, making daily challenges easier to face.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!