Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How Fitness Helps Cancer Survivors by David Haas (Guest Post)

David Haas is a cancer patient advocate who believes in helping people who are going through treatments and in remission. He believes in the subject of fitness because of the extensive research he has seen and the first hand knowledge that fitness and a healthy body can create a better lifestyle. He wrote this article that I am sharing today on the blog.  His blog is http://haasblaag.blogspot.com/.  Check it out when you can. 

How Fitness Helps Cancer Survivors

People diagnosed with cancer often undergo many treatments, but fitness is one treatment often overlooked. Recent studies consistently show that high fitness levels result in a smaller risk of cancer recurring and even a longer survival after being diagnosed.

The problem is most research indicates that people become less active because the diagnosis causes higher levels of stress, depression or fatigue. It is a common belief that the best thing to do after a cancer diagnosis is to relax and get plenty of rest. However, most medical experts warn against this advice. If possible, a person diagnosed should start a moderate fitness program that is best for them and their type of cancer. Fitness has been proven to have significant benefits for cancer survivors, such as improving mood, increasing self-confidence, increasing energy levels, and may increase life expectancy. In addition, it also leads to increased muscle strength and less body mass.

According to WebMD, three types of exercises are specifically recommended for cancer survivors. Flexibility exercises are the first type, and this type of exercise is important because stretching will keep the body moving and mobile. Aerobic exercise is the second type highly recommended for cancer survivors. This involves several activities, such as walking, jogging, etc. Aerobic exercise is beneficial because it results in lots of calories being burned. In addition, it boosts cardiovascular health, which in turn means a lower risk for heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. Resistance training, such as lifting weights, is the third type and also is important because it helps build muscle and get rid of fat gained through cancer treatment.

The best types of exercise can vary, depending on the type of cancer a person is diagnosed with. For example, people diagnosed with rare aggressive diseases like mesothelioma that is triggered from asbestos exposure often have trouble breathing, so exercise can become extremely difficult. In spite of this difficulty, medical experts still strongly recommend fitness as a key aspect of mesothelioma treatment because regain energy to fight the negative effects of the medicine associated with treatments and increase appetite. Fitness levels will not only vary from person to person but also varies with what cancer a person has been diagnosed with. Someone who has been diagnosed with skin cancer will definitely be able to perform more normal activities than someone diagnosed with prostate cancer and so on.

Exercise will not cure your cancer, but it can have a very positive effect on your ability to fight the cancer. It must be noted that some people diagnosed with cancer are simply too exhausted for fitness. In this case, medical experts suggest a short period of rest before beginning a gradual, slow return to fitness. Cancer survivors should always consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness program.

By: David Haas

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