Now, as anyone who's follows my blog or who follows me on Twitter knows ... I don't have a great deal of patience for faddy ideas about health (or faddy ideas about much else either, really, and I spend a fair amount of time deleting most of my sister-in-law's panic stricken emails insisting that my husband should eat ginger in vast amounts - or whichever whim of which she's just heard - as usually they are "proven cures" for cancer) but, having read David's article - it did seem to be plain common sense, so - with that in mind, here it is. I hope that you may find it interesting and useful:
Whether you've just been diagnosed or have been in remission for years, physical fitness is an important goal for every cancer patient and survivor. Exercise has been proven to provide physical, mental, and even spiritual relief to everyone, especially to those touched by cancer. Here are four reasons you should make physical fitness a top priority.
Physical activity fights depression and other negative emotions. No matter what your prognosis, you may be dealing with feelings of despondency, grief, anxiety, or depression. Engaging in moderate exercise release serotonin, a chemical in the brain, which increases positive emotions such as mental strength, calmness, and joy. Being active will also help you focus on your abilities, rather than your hindrances associated with your diagnosis.
Exercise combats nausea and increases appetite. Whether you are going through a common diagnosis like breast cancer or a rare disease like mesothelioma, your treatments may leave you feeling uninterested in food. However, the demand on your body's reserves has probably never been greater. Many cancer patients become quite thin due to this. Doing some light cardiovascular exercise or having a doctor-approved calisthenics routine tells your body that you must eat. Patients who work out, even at a minimal level, report eating more, keeping their weight up, and feeling less nauseous.
Repetitive motion puts you in 'the zone' mentally. The calm, cathartic motion of walking or riding a bicycle often puts people in a mental space that is conducive to quiet reflection. Some may pray. Others may think about their goals in life. Others may want to think about beating their cancer, or finding a cure. This exercise-induced daydreaming can be very helpful and is considered a spiritual experience by some.
Exercise encourages your body to hold muscle mass and bone density. The last thing you need is to beat cancer and then suffer from osteoporosis or debilitating fatigue as a result! Exercising moderately will help keep your bones from becoming brittle and will also help your muscles stay firm and toned. Whether it's mesothelioma treatment, radiation, chemotherapy, or an experimental course of treatment, you will need your bone and muscle density to perform your daily duties and continue to live independently.
Physical fitness is integral to keeping your mind, body, and spirit healthy as a cancer patient or survivor. Talk to you oncologist to see what level and intensity of exercise he or she recommends. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!