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Exercise does not only lower one’s risk of cancer, it can also provide tremendous benefits for patients. According to this article by The Scientist, physical activity helps reduce the toxicity of anti-cancer treatment, decreases disease progression, and increases cancer patients’ survival! In fact, breast cancer patients who exercised regularly had double the chance of surviving compared to patients who did not practice regular physical activities. Furthermore, exercise helps reduce stress levels and improve one’s mental health.
Similarly, you can combat the disease and become stronger by exercising regularly! Here are a few tips that can help you get started with this great mind and body activity.
Check-In With Your Health Care Team
First things first: you need to get the guidance of your medical team. Exercise is critical in improving your health and well-being, but you may need to consult with your oncologist before getting started. With your care team, you can figure out which physical activities are safe for you to do, especially if you are injured or experiencing pain. It is also advisable to work with a physical therapist or a personal trainer who can cater to your personal needs, as you begin your fitness journey.
Use Good Equipment for Exercising
Once you get the green light from your care team, you need to invest in good tools and equipment so that you can exercise safely. If you’re working out in a public area, it's important to wear a face mask with three layers of fabric so that you can protect yourself from viruses. This guide recommends sports masks, such as the one from Under Armour, since it has a cool fabric technology and a structure that supports air circulation. It is also important to look for good gym shoes that can support your body while you’re exercising. Invest in a pair of sneakers that has enough cushion and stability so that you can be comfortable throughout the activity.
Try Different Kinds of Exercises
There are different types of exercise that improve various parts of your physical body, and it’s important to try all of them! Adding variety into your exercise routine will prevent you from becoming bored with doing the same thing. Most importantly, cancer patients can reduce various symptoms by accomplishing different workouts. For instance, aerobic exercises like walking and swimming can reduce cachexia, pain, and fatigue. On the other hand, resistance exercises like weight lifting can aid in combatting bone loss and lymphedema. Finally, strength exercises, such as dance and cycling, help in reducing muscle mass imbalance and peripheral neuropathy.
Create a Schedule for Your Workouts
Besides trying out different types of exercises, you also need to maintain a regular schedule for your workouts to achieve optimal health results. The U.S. Department of Health suggests that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 100 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week. Moreover, it is recommended to dedicate at least two days per week to muscle-strengthening exercises. It may be overwhelming and tiring to accommodate all of these activities, especially at the start of your journey! Thus, create a schedule so that you can spread your workout sessions throughout the week.
Don't Neglect Rest and Recovery Days
Another reason why you should maintain a schedule is that you need to make time for rest days! These periods will help your body recuperate from the intense physical activities that you have accomplished. During this time, your body will replenish your energy stores, maintain your hydration levels, and heal your muscles. Most importantly, you can consider these rest days as a reward for taking good care of your body.
Exercise can provide mind and body benefits for cancer patients. By dedicating enough time to these activities, you can become stronger in so many ways!
Article contributed by Renee Joyce
Exclusively for breastcanceraf.org