WONDERDRUG! Exercise and Cancer

WONDERDRUG! Exercise and Cancer

We are all about Cancer Prevention. But, sometimes, despite our best efforts, Cancer still rears its ugly head into our lives. So once you've got Cancer, it's time to make some decisions about your treatment, your recovery, and how you're going to keep up your exercise routine. Wait, WHAT? You're fighting cancer, who cares about exercise? Well, it turns out, it could save your life. Exercise  should be one of your top priorities in your cancer treatment plan.

This may not seem like it makes sense. A lot of times we associate cancer treatment with really taxing experiences like chemotherapy and radiation and think that cancer patients should make a point of "taking it easy" but actually, they should do the opposite. We're not talking about running a marathon while you're hooked up to an IV, but regular physical activity could actually be the wonderdrug you've been searching for. Take a look at what Macmillan Cancer Support found in their Move More Report and then tell us what you think - is this news to you or have you been an active cancer fighter all along?

  • Cancer patients should spend 150 minutes a week doing light to moderate physical exercise. By doing that...
  • A breast cancer patient can decrease her risk of recurrence or of dying by 40%
  • A prostate cancer patient can decrease their risk of recurrence or of dying by 30%
  • You can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer by 50%
  • You can curtail typical cancer treatment side effects like fatigue, depression, osteoporosis and heart disease

This is a big shift in what we've thought about the best way to go about treating cancer. And a lot of our health professionals are still catching up on this information. These are some recommendations of how cancer patients can exercise safely. As always, be sure to ask your doctor about what physical activity could be most beneficial for you while you go through your cancer treatment.

  • Stretching can help relieve and repair muscles after surgery (be sure to clear stretches with your doctor)
  • Strength Training like weight-bearing exercises can help maintain bone density while undergoing chemo
  • Aerobic Exercises like Walking, Biking and Running get the heart rate up and help to keep off excess weight
  • Balance Exercises like walking a narrow path or heel raises can help strengthen your ability to balance which may be impaired by medications; it also is a proactive measure to help reduce your risk of falls that could lead to broken bones or other injuries that could add to your recovery

For those of you going through cancer treatment now, when are you going to take the first step in being more active?