Exercise Can Help to Reduce Fatigue in Cancer Patients

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Ex-er...size?
Tags: , , ,

This is a guest post from the fantastic Melanie Bowen. As someone who has had multiple friends/family members diagnosed/die of cancer, I hope this message gets out.


High energy levels and an overall sense of wellness can seem especially elusive when a person is facing a cancer diagnosis.  Going through cancer treatments can have as big of an impact on the way a person feels as the disease does itself in many cases.  Numerous people who are facing a cancer diagnosis often find their lives in upheaval as they face fatigue, pain, financial dilemmas, family concerns and an on-going round of treatments.  Adjusting to the diagnosis and maintaining a sense of wellness can potentially be accomplished by using exercise and fitness as an ally to traditional treatment regimens.

Exercise and nutrition plans can have a big impact on how well a person feels each day.  Research has shown that even very minimal amounts of exercise each day can contribute to a person feeling stronger and being able to sleep better at night.  Many people may have no other choice but to exercise in very small increments if they are dealing with extreme fatigue levels and chronic pain.  However, with each minute exercised, a person is taking positive measures to improve the way he feels on a daily basis.  Gaining new strength and reducing fatigue is important to ensure the vitality and quality of a life of a cancer patient until the disease is defeated.

Setting goals and meeting with a medical provider to discuss the best type of fitness schedule is ideal because this allows the patient to begin a fitness routine under professional monitoring.  Friends and family members can get on board and be supportive to the cancer patient by joining in the same fitness plan and helping to prepare healthy meals and snacks that will provide nutritious antioxidants and appropriate protein intake.
If setting a fitness plan seems like a challenging feat, consider looking at just one week at a time.   For example, making a commitment to walk ten minutes each morning and then perform yoga ten minutes each evening can be a big benefit to a cancer patient.  Swimming and bicycling are also healthy activities that can help to reduce anxiety and build muscles.  Speak with your doctor to develop a fun and beneficial plan based upon your physical condition, diagnosis, and treatment schedule. There is a long list of activities to choose from so find what is right for you!

Exercising and promoting a healthy heart will help a patient progress physically and emotionally, which will go a long way in cancer treatment. It is important not to overlook the emotional benefits of exercise. Often, cancer patients are faced with depression and anxiety in the wake of their diagnosis, both of which can be combatted with exercise. Physical exertion releases endorphins into the body, which have mood-boosting effects and consequently are extremely beneficial for someone fighting for their life.

No matter what form of cancer you are fighting, whether it be breast cancer or mesothelioma, or anything in between, it is important to take all of the possible steps to get healthy. Start today and make some changes!


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