Friday, February 25, 2011

Staying Fit With Cancer

It is well known that obesity is a serious risk factor for many types of cancer. Exercise and staying fit is known to lower the risk of developing cancer and other diseases. However, obesity is also a risk factor in the recurrence of cancer for those that have already survived it. In one study, obese individuals had a reduced likelihood of survival due to the chance of the cancer coming back or secondary problems such as heart disease and diabetes. A report from the American Cancer Society stated that one to three hours of exercise every week can help prevent the recurrence of certain types of cancer.
However, exercising while being treated for or recovering from cancer is rarely a simple matter. For example, mesothelioma symptoms, a rare and aggressive cancer of the lining of the chest cavity, include shortness of breath, which can make any kind of aerobic activity difficult. Radiation and chemotherapy can both cause severe fatigue, among other side effects, which can make working out seem like an insurmountable chore. However, moderate amounts of exercise can actually help decrease these side effects and maintain general health.

Doctors recommend starting out slowly when beginning an exercise regimen during cancer treatment. Walking at a comfortable speed is one excellent way to begin, as it is a low-impact activity and you can vary the distance as needed. If walking proves too difficult, indoor activities like stretching and yoga are beneficial options. If even this is too much – and for those with mesothelioma symptoms, it might well be – your doctor may be able to recommend some range-of-motion exercises that can be done in bed to at least keep your joints and muscles moving.

Of course, it is important to consult your doctor or other health care professional before beginning a new exercise routine. Additionally, if you experience dizziness, nausea, weakness, headache or other pain, blurred vision, numbness, or tingling, stop what you are doing. As beneficial as exercise is, overdoing it is counterproductive, especially if your body is already weakened. Don’t push yourself too hard; rather, find ways of exercising that work for you in your current condition. Maintaining a healthy weight and body will help you in your fight against cancer.

This guest blog post was written by: Eric Stevenson who is a health and safety advocate who resides in the Southeastern United States.

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