How Can Exercise Help My Cancer?
Cancer is never a fun topic to talk about. Any recent or long-term diagnosis of cancer can be a really scary and life-changing experience. Exercise is the last thing on many people’s minds, but should it be? The short answer is no!
Exercise as a cancer treatment is a relatively new addition, but is now considered a part of the gold standard treatment. There is a growing body of research that shows that for most people exercise is beneficial before, during and after cancer treatment.
How can exercise help fight cancer and manage treatment side effects?
Exercise can have a large impact on the physical, mental and social effects of cancer and treatment. Firstly, exercise can be beneficial before commencing treatment by reducing treatment complications and aid in recovery from surgery. During treatment, exercise can assist in reducing the severity of any potential side effects. Finally, exercise can be beneficial after treatment by reducing recovery time, manage long-term side effects and reduce the risk of developing associated conditions. This is in terms of:
- Cancer-related fatigue
- Muscle weakness and wastage
- Balance and mobility
- Chemo brain
- Mental health
What exercise should I do for my cancer?
Exercise guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week. This includes 2 sessions of strength training per week. However, it is important to recognise that sometimes cancer and cancer treatment can be physically and mentally draining, and in these instances any movement is better than nothing (e.g., going for a small walk, gardening or yard work).
Need some guidance with your condition? Give one of our friendly Exercise Physiologists a call today!
Author: Robbie Brokenshire, Accredited Exercise Physiologist