Here are some of the best types of exercise for cancer patients
Best types of exercise for cancer patients are rare but available. Physical activity and proper diet are crucial for good health in the long-term. The role of physical exercises in preventing diseases like cancer and heart ailments is fairly well-known.
What is not equally well-known is that exercising can also be of great benefit to cancer patients. Alongside the main cancer treatment procedures like chemotherapy or surgery, several other aspects like dieting and exercising can be included as part of Integrated Cancer Treatment.
Various research works have indicated that incorporating physical activity into cancer care can help increase the chances of recovery. A study on breast cancer patients has shown that certain exercises may trigger apoptosis or death of cancer cells.
Depending on the type of cancer, the cancer symptoms, the stage, and other aspects of the individual’s health, certain types of exercises can help to control the spread of cancer and aid in overall recovery. Read on to find out the broad categories of exercises one can do while undergoing cancer treatment. For more specific exercises and their duration, it is best to consult a doctor before embarking on an exercise routine.
Best types of exercise for cancer patients
Coming to the best types of exercise for cancer patients, check out the below points:
- Aerobic Exercises –
Aerobic exercise refers to a category of low to high-intensity rhythmic exercises that improve cardiovascular and muscular strength. Its benefits for an overall healthy life cannot be overemphasized. However, little known is the fact that limited aerobic workouts can also help cancer patients in their recovery.
For instance, a study indicates that aerobic exercise may benefit lymphoma patients without interfering with the treatment procedure. Aerobic training also helps in the prevention of cancer and other diseases.
While a person undergoing cancer treatment may not have the capacity to do intense workout for long durations, short durations of exercise are feasible, depending on the specific conditions and the doctor’s advice. Most researchers recommend a 30 minutes moderate aerobic activity about 3 times a week for cancer patients. Even simple activities like walking are beneficial and can be done even shortly after a surgery or treatment procedure.
- Strength-related Exercises
Strength training is another best type of exercises for cancer patients. It is a type of exercise that focuses on building the strength of skeletal muscles and bones. It is done with the help of weight instruments like dumbbells and kettlebells. Experts recommend the inclusion of moderate strength training exercises in the daily routine of cancer patients.
Due to cancer treatment procedures like chemotherapy, an individual’s bone density tends to decrease. Strength training can minimize the loss of bone density to a great extent. However, strength or weight exercises must be done by cancer patients only after proper consultation with the doctor or cancer care provider.
- Balancing Exercises
Similar to strength exercise, balance exercise also helps cancer patients minimize the impact of bone density decline due to chemotherapy. Balance workouts are thus recommended by experts to maintain the strength and mass of bones.
Simple balance exercises like tightrope walk or flamingo stand (balancing on one foot while stretching the other for a few seconds) can be done by anyone, including ones undergoing cancer treatment.
- Stretching Exercises
Even if one is too weak to perform any of the above categories of exercise, simple stretching exercises can be done to regain muscle strength and mobility. This is particularly beneficial for those who have undergone surgery and need to overcome pain and immobility in a certain part of the body.
For instance, those who undergo mastectomy or related surgery for breast cancer can regain shoulder strength through simple stretching exercises like wall stretch.
Best types of exercise for cancer patients to aid treatment
It is fairly established by experts that alongside the regular treatment procedure, lifestyle changes also play a role for a successful cancer treatment plan. This should be topped up with practicing some of the best types of exercise for cancer patients.
The importance of supportive and palliative care cannot be taken lightly. Physical exercises of certain durations and moderate-intensity can significantly help cancer patients in this regard. Before starting any exercise routine during or after cancer treatment, it is always best to consult one’s doctor or cancer care provider to chalk out the most suitable exercise plan depending on the specific conditions