The best way to deal with cancer is to prevent it in the first place. That means maintaining good health, which can be achieved through many natural ways such as exercising on a regular basis. And even patients who have already been diagnosed with cancer can greatly benefit from working out in the right way and amount.
Regular physical exercise has been shown to reduce the chances of cancer-related death by 44 percent. It can also prevent one out of every three cases of cancer reappearing in the body of a patient.
If a cancer patient has to undergo conventional treatment, exercise therapy can temper the harmful side effects of chemicals and radiation. Last but not least, exercise contributes to improvements in the energy, mood, and strength of a patient.
Both aerobic exercise and strength training contribute to the reduction of the chances of cancer and associated mortality. However, the health and fitness of an individual patient will ultimately determine what type and amount of exercise is best recommended.
Physical exercise can benefit patients suffering from any type of cancer. But its benefits are particularly considerable for breast cancer patients. (: Exercise found to reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms.)
Regular exercise helps breast cancer patients survive the disease and thrive afterward
There are many scientific studies that support the beneficial effects of exercise-based therapy on cancer patients. A 2010 study by Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU Munich) researchers evaluated women with breast cancer who followed different approaches to changing their lifestyles after diagnosis.
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One group was given general advice but did not have to act upon the recommendations. The members of the other group underwent guided lifestyle intervention, which included regular sessions of physical exercise alongside their adviser.
The study showed that participants who followed a physical exercise program experienced better chances of surviving breast cancer without risk of the disease reappearing after treatment. Furthermore, upon comparison of the rates of disease-free survival of both groups, the difference turned out to be a staggering 50 percent in favor of the patients who worked out.
As a side note and additional benefit, the cancer patients who exercised also lost weight in a healthy way. Based on the results of this study, physical exercise exerted a considerable effect on breast cancer survival.
“Obesity and a low level of physical activity are not only associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer, but also with an increased risk for recurrence and reduced survival in breast cancer patients,” the researchers reported.
Getting enough exercise can help head off the onset – or return – of cancer
The study indicated that steady amounts of physical activity can protect the breasts, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, liver, myeloid tissue, and stomach from cancers. The researchers recommended that adults work out for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. An easy way to meet this goal is by taking half-hour-long walks five times a week.
A more energetic exercise protocol will increase side benefits such as burning excess fat and treating obesity. In this case, a patient must spend at least 75 minutes on a type of physical activity that is more vigorous than three-mile-per-hour walks.
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It goes without saying that the physical condition and overall health of a patient will determine the appropriate physical exercise. For example, a cancer patient who is old or frail should not try to lift weights. However, resistance training does benefit older people. Therefore, instead of pumping iron, they could try to exercise weights around their wrists and ankles.