Archive for March 16, 2011
It takes a community of fit-minded, healthy people to help other fit-minded, healthy people keep their commitment to healthy & fit living . So from time to time, I share my blog space with guest bloggers, who bring different perspectives or experiences to the table about health and fitness –
Guest Blogger: Tim Elliot is a recent college grad with an interest in how a healthy diet and exercise can combat cancer. Read this first blog post about Exercise as a way to combat cancer!
Fight Cancer: Exercise!
As much as a exercise is regularly acknowledged as being an extremely and undeniably important part of staying fit and healthy, until recently the idea that cancer patients could greatly decrease their risk of cancer recurring and increase their chances of survival went against common knowledge. New studies, however, show that regular exercise has more of an effect fighting cancer than previously was ever thought.
It can be difficult for patients who are, or who have just, received chemotherapy or radiation to get back into the swing of exercising since the cancer treatment often literally saps the energy from their bodies. Furthermore, cancer patients often have to begin with much lower intensity workouts than they are used to and progress much slower, which can be frustrating and difficult. However it’s important to remember that the main goal is simply to be as active as possible, rather than to build or tone large
swaths of muscle.
Exercise has many benefits for cancer patients beyond simply improving fatigue and muscle strength. In particular, it can help with heart and blood vessel fitness and body composition. Body composition is important for cancer patients and survivors because obesity greatly increases the risk of recurrence and reduces the chances for survival. Increased body mass has been known to affect higher death rates for all cancers, but it particularly linked with increased risks in multiple myeloma and colon and rectum
cancer. Even cancers from environmental toxins like mesothelioma have much higher survival rates; regular exercise can nearly double the average mesothelioma life expectancy.
Not only can exercise decrease the chances of cancer recurrence and increase life expectancy, people who exercise are also more likely to be diagnosed earlier. People who are more comfortable and in touch with their bodies are more likely to notice changes such as unexplained fatigue and unintentional weight loss, which are the symptoms of colon cancer, trouble breathing, one of the symptoms of mesothelioma, or bone pain, one of the symptoms of multiple myeloma.
And those are simply the direct, physical benefits of exercising during and after cancer treatments. Don’t forget that exercise also boosts self-confidence, and is proven to lower anxiety. For people who are coping with the difficulties of a cancer diagnosis, the mental benefits of exercise can be a great boon.
Of course, you should always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding exercise, as people with severe anemia should delay serious exercise until their red blood cell count is closer to normal and people receiving radiation therapy should chlorine swimming pools as it may irritate the treated area.
Ultimately though, doctors and patients are realizing that exercise can be equally as important to maintaining a healthy life during and after cancer treatment as it is for someone who has never diagnosed.
Today is my rest day — I have workouts planned for the rest of the week including a 5K in DC the Chris4Life Scope It Out 5K for Colon Cancer Awareness! It’s my first race of the season so I am pretty excited! It’s not too late to join me or donate to the cause under Team Ashburn CrossFit Impavidus!
Thanks to those that have already committed to run and/or have donated to the cause!
I woke up this morning to hear Rapper Nate Dogg died. Very sad and another reminder how short life can be. I call my son Nate Dogg all the time in homage to the original.