It is not uncommon for those who are being treated for a chronic illness, like cancer, are told to reduce their physical activity. This advice is important and should be taken seriously if the movement can cause pain, a rapid heartbeat, or shortness of breath. New research has shown that when it does not cause pain, exercise is safe to do during cancer treatment, and may actually improve how well that a person can function and their overall quality of life during and after treatment. When there is too much rest, there can be loss of body function, reduced range of motion, and muscle weakness. This is why it is so important for those who are having treatments for cancer to remain as physically active as possible.
It Helps Physically
When exercising through cancer treatment, you will be able to keep or improve your physical abilities, or how well you can use your body to do things. It also helps to keep muscles from atrophy due to inactivity. When you work on your physical ability, you will also be improving your balance, which may not seem relevant, but this will lower the overall risk of falling and having broken bones. Additionally, the risk of osteoporosis is lowered—meaning that bones are stronger and less likely to break, in the event of a fall or other event. You will also help to improve the blood flow to all parts of the body, especially the legs, and lower the risk of blood clots.
It Helps Mentally
Regular exercise will help to improve self-esteem while lowering the risk of being anxious and depressed. When anxiety and depression are lowered, you will be able to feel a bit more willing to keep in contact with friends and family, and seeing those people socially. If possible, even taking some group fitness classes will have the obvious physical benefits, but it is a great way to keep social connections, and make new social connections that give you fulfillment and make you happy.
Long Term Benefits
Getting exercise shouldn’t stop when cancer treatment ends. It is a great practice overall, and can help to control weight to either maintain or even lose. You will also feel less fatigued overall, which is a great starting point for breaking the cycle of being too tired for physical activity. It will also help long-term emotionally. Exercising doesn’t have to be isolating—if you are not enrolled in group fitness classes, doing so would be a great idea especially if there are any aimed at those who are going through cancer treatments also. This will ensure that the instructor is aware of any physical limitations that the individuals have. You will likely make great social connections with your peers.
Physical activity can help to reduce nausea, one of the main complains of those who are undergoing any treatment for cancer. When nausea is reduced, individuals will likely enjoy a slight return of appetite. When the appetite comes back, it will be easier to consume the foods that nourish the body and give it the energy that it needs.
You Are Helping Yourself
When you regularly exercise, especially during cancer treatment, you will stay or become less dependent on others to help you with daily living activities. Sometimes simply getting up and walking around can seem like too much, but when you make the effort to do this physical activity, it is simply the starting point of creating a positive cycle for your day and for your life. Being active physically will help you to be active mentally, which helps with being active physically and so on.
Overall Quality Of Life Will Be Improved
When you are feeling the best that you can inside and out, considering the circumstances, your overall quality of life will be significantly improved. Even on days when you are not feeling your best mentally, you will still be able to get outside to do some physical activity and clear your mind. And on days that you may not be feeling your best physically, you will be able to be in a good place mentally to get you through a physically hard day.