Friday, October 7, 2011

Guest Poster - Survivors and Exercise

Trevor Bradshaw has written and article on the importance of exercise - more particularly about making it an integral part of Life as a Survivor. He is my guest today - in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Exercise an Integral Part of Life as a Survivor

This past Monday, I was a little taken aback to see bright pink wristbands and cleats adorning several football players- even with how important National Breast Cancer Month is it’s a bit of shock to see it embraced so thoroughly in such a masculine, physical arena. Except in one aspect it makes complete sense for athletes to embrace the fight for a cure. After all, they may be actively involved in one of the best treatments for cancer there is- exercise.

New reports by the American Council on Exercise show that while breast cancer survivors tend to be more overweight and sedentary than women who never have had cancer, exercise not only plays a crucial role in decreasing breast cancer patients’ chances of recurrence but also is directly associated with a 30 percent decrease in mortality rates. Unfortunately, as any cancer survivor knows well, when you are undergoing treatments like chemo and radiation therapy commonly the last thing you want to do is exercise.

But exercise has many benefits for cancer survivors- it can lower fatigue, lessen nausea, and reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, as well as contribute to better fitness and a better body composition. Body composition in particularly is an important factor for breast cancer survivors as obesity is known to increase mortality rates by nearly 30 percent but even cancers from environmental toxins like pericardial mesothelioma and papillary mesothelioma have much higher survival rates when patients have regular exercise.

Of course it can be difficult for patients who have just received chemotherapy to begin exercising again as the treatments often leave patients exhausted. One key recommendation is to begin with very low intensity, moderate workouts, and take advantage of a regular exercise program. A routine similar to the one offered by the American Council on Exercise, which encourages aerobic activities that engage all the major muscle groups at moderate intensity for 150 minutes each week, is an ideal fit for most breast cancer survivors.
As with everything, patients must be careful to follow their doctor’s recommendations about exercise, since severe anemia can delay any strenuous activity and patients undergoing radiation therapy must avoid swimming pools. Ultimately however, the importance of exercise after cancer simply cannot be overstated.

“Trevor Bradshaw is a recent college graduate, an aspiring freelancewriter, and a health nut. After his brother was diagnosed with melanoma while he was in high school, he has been extremely passionate about writing and talking about cancer and health. If you have any questions or would like to work with him feel free to contact him at”

1 comment:

Joanna said...

Also, it is fun and that is so, so important to recovery. Exercise that entails lots of laughter and good companionship is best...