Numerous studies on cancer patients and exercise suggest that exercise during cancer treatment boosts energy, enhances the ability to cope and improves quality of life. A growing number of doctors are encouraging their cancer patients to participate in an exercise program.
What type and how long depends on you. Swimming (if you do not have a port), biking and walking are among the most frequently recommended forms of exercise.
For most people walking is ideal. You don't need any equipment except a good pair of walking shoes. You can do it anywhere, you do not need to go to a gym. And it is convenient, you can walk any time you want. If you live in a hot climate or the weather is bad, you can shift your walking to indoors at your favorite mall.
Some doctors are encouraging their patients to participate in low level weight training. It helps maintain muscle tone, strengthens joints and stimulates bone density. Regular weight bearing exercise can help protect against cachexia (muscle wasting and malnutrition) sometimes a side effect of the disease.
Yoga is another exercise that is high on many doctors' lists. In addition to offering physical strengthening, it balances mind, body and spirit. Many patients report that it helps alleviate any stress or anxiety they may be feeling.
One of the major side effects of cancer treatment is fatigue. It is a vicious cycle - the more tired you become the more you don't do anything. The more you don't do anything,the more tired you become. Believe it or not, exercise helps break this cycle and energizes you.
It has been found that people who exercise during treatment cope better emotionally and feel much better physically than those who don't. While exercise is important, it is important to set realistic goals. Start slowly and feel comfortable with what you are doing. If you are starting an exercise program for the first time - 10 minutes of walking might be all you can do. On the other hand, if you have exercised regularly, test what you can do during treatment. But don't be disappointed if you can't exercise at your prior levels.
If you miss several days because of the impact of your treatment, that's okay. How much time you do it does not matter. The fact that you do it, does.
Before starting any exercise program be sure and discuss it with your doctor.