A great exercise program is one that is designed specifically around the person it was made for. A great exercise program is more than just a good workout; it is a healthy way of life.
Exercise and Cancer
- “Several recent studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of cancer coming back, and a longer survival after a cancer diagnosis,” said Kerry Courneya, PhD, professor and Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Cancer at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
- In studies of several different cancers, being overweight after completing treatment was associated with shorter survival times and higher risk of cancer recurrence.
- Women who exercise after completing breast cancer treatment live longer and have less recurrence, according to recent evidence. Colorectal cancer survivors who exercised lived longer than those who didn’t, two recent clinical trials showed.
- “Clearly, any cancer survivor wants to do all they can” to prevent cancer recurrence, says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society. “Surely some of their goals for healthy living should be around weight control and exercise, she adds.
What experts suspected has now been proven. As a cancer survivor, exercising could help you live a longer life — free from cancer.
Exercise for Cancer Patients: When to Start
When should you start exercising after cancer diagnosis and treatment?
As soon as possible
Studies show that after a cancer diagnosis, people slow down.
Stress, depression, and feeling sick or fatigued from cancer or its treatment all tend to make people less active.
“As a long-term solution to the problem of fatigue, taking it easy and avoiding activity is not a good solution,” says Courneya. “It is important for cancer survivors to get back to exercising to help their recovery.”
Do what you can everyday and know that some days won’t be optimal. Recognizing this ahead of time ensures you won’t beat yourself up on days when your energy just isn’t there.
Tips to Get Started
- Schedule your exercise at a time when you are likely to stay committed to it.
- Make it enjoyable and part of your lifestyle.
- Do not use exercise as a quick fix. Allow it to nurture your body, not punish it.
- Set realistic short and long-term goals and focus on your progress, not the end result
- Gauge your progress by the healthful habits you are adopting rather than by the numbers on the scale
- Choose things you enjoy doing
- Make exercise a part of your life, not a way to lose weight
- You may want to buddy up with someone. Having a friend to work out with will increase your motivation.
For general conditioning, choose activities that use large muscle groups and those that are continuous in nature. Some good examples are walking, swimming, running, dance, cardio machines, cycling class or exercise bikes.
You really need to combine your program to include both cardio and strength training activities.
It is recommended that you exercise at least 3-5 times per week, with no more than 48 hours between sessions.
You should try to maintain 30-60 minutes of continuous exercise.
Virtually everyone can stretch and this is a great place to start or something to do when you are not feeling well. Include both upper and lower body.