Cancer and Exercise

Motivation to Exercise for Cancer Patients

Keeping cancer patients motivated and full engaged in their healing is an essential process to helping them get over their condition. Cancer patients should be motivated to exercise every day in order to stay healthy and active. Exercise has a wide range of benefits for cancer patients. Beyond the normal benefits of physical health, exercise can actually help fight many of the symptoms of cancer.

In fact, Dr. Kerry Courneya of the University of Alberta in Edmonton states that "Several recent studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of the cancer coming back, and a longer survival after a cancer diagnosis." Understanding these benefits may help cancer patients feel a stronger desire to exercise beyond their own physical capacities. It is also important to understand that certain cancers benefit from certain exercises more than others. Treatment for mesothelioma and lung cancer causes patients focus to be on increasing lung function while breast cancer patients may focus on arm exercises.

Exercise is important in combating the fatigue that comes from cancer and cancer treatments. Exercise helps create more energy in the body. This may seem contradictory but working out actually energizes your body by increasing your metabolism.

An increased metabolism will be more effective at digesting and synthesizing the food in your body. This means the food will provide you with more energy had you not been exercising. A boost of energy like this helps fight away the fatigue and tiredness that comes from cancer and treatments.

Exercise is also an important way to manage physical and mental pain. Again, it may seem contradictory as exercise can often leave a person feeling pain in exertion. However, the pain of exercise actually causes the body to release endorphins. These endorphins actually relieve pain in the body in a natural way. It doesn't relieve just the pain caused by exercise: it will actually relieve the pain in your entire body. This pain management is crucial to patients who may be suffering from severe pain due to their condition.

However, these endorphins also help improve your mood. Patients that exercised during cancer found that they were happier, more hopefully and felt they had a better quality of life. This naturally occurring euphoria is vital to increasing patient happiness and decreasing the crippling depression that often comes with cancer.

Studies have also found that cancer patients that exercise, lose weight and stay fit also have lowered chances of remission. Lower remission rates are vital to cancer patients. In fact, these lower remission rates may be all the motivation patients need to begin exercising.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

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