Saturday, April 20, 2013

Guest Post: Fighting Cancer with Fitness

One of my biggest pet peeves about myself is how I tend to let life get in the way of my living - does that make sense?  Anyway, I am very excited to introduce my first guest blog post, "Fighting Cancer with Fitness"  by Milady. Melanie, also known as Milady, is "an advocate for natural health and cancer patients, so you will often find [her] highlighting the great benefits of different nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments that can significantly help those going through a time of illness."  I hope you'll enjoy the article, as it provides a different perspective to fitness.

Fighting Cancer with Fitness

For healthy individuals, regular exercise provides a means for keeping fit and relieving stress. While these same benefits apply to someone suffering from mesothelioma, there are additional challenges and difficulties when undertaking any exercise program.

Types of Exercise:
Aerobic exercise refers to anything that boosts cardiovascular function through increased blood flow and oxygen uptake. Cancer patients can benefit from aerobic exercise that is not too strenuous on the heart or lungs but improves overall function. Flexibility training involves stretching activities that promote muscle and joint movement. Resistance training strengthens the muscles while aiding in muscular endurance.

Limitations of Exercise:
Activities that cause rapid spikes in heart rate, such as running, basketball, tennis, or certain types of resistance training, may be contraindicated for some patients. However, most physicians will recommend that their patients pursue a healthier lifestyle through light to moderate exercise. It is essential, though, to obtain a physicians approval before embarking on any fitness regimen.

Benefits of Exercise:
Fitness activities, including walking, water aerobics, yoga, biking and light resistance training, can illicit great benefits for overall cardiovascular function, functional muscle maintenance and flexibility. Yoga is especially helpful for enhancing breathing ability and aligning posture while increasing range of motion.

There will be times when patients feel fatigued and they are physically limited. Engaging in even light exercises, such as stretching and flexibility training, can reduce unpleasant effects of bed rest, including bedsores and joint stiffness.

Loss of appetite is common among those undergoing chemotherapy. Exercise boosts the metabolism and can help to stimulate the appetite due to increased energy expenditure and caloric demands.

In addition to the physical benefits, exercise boasts a plethora of emotional advantages as well. Exercise can improve the appearance, which thus leads to a higher self-image. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety while simultaneously releasing endorphins that actually serve as mood enhancers.

Environment of Exercise:
It is critical that the patient feels comfortable not only with the exercise routine but also with the exercise environment. For those who are just beginning, exercising at home may be the best starting place. A gym, health club, or park can also provide a safe venue. Working with a personal trainer may be helpful for both motivation and assistance as long as the trainer is certified and familiar with routines specific to cancer patients.

Starting an exercise routine can aid the body in responding to cancer treatments and greatly enhance overall sense of well-being. Talk to your doctor today and get moving!

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