By Tanya Shelburne, Vice-President of Program Development
We all know that exercise is a critical part of staying healthy and preventing illness, and there is plenty of research to support this. But recent studies also show mounting evidence in support of exercise among those already dealing with serious health issues, including cancer!
A study published early this year in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health demonstrated that physical activity helped significantly extend the lives of male cancer patients. Those men who were most active had a 48% better mortality rate than the men who were sedentary.
Even moderate activity can be beneficial for the cancer patient and may improve quality of life during treatment. A similar study conducted with breast cancer patients showed that those who participated in a 12 week yoga class experienced significantly less fatigue and decreased inflammation than those who did not participate.
We used to think that cancer patients should simply conserve their energy and physical activity wasn’t even on the radar. But that way of thinking is outdated, and could even be dangerous. According to the American Cancer society, “Too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness, and reduced range of motion. So today, many cancer care teams are urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment.”
The American College of Sports Medicine conducted a roundtable in 2009 to establish exercise guidelines for cancer survivors. They determined that those diagnosed with cancer should avoid inactivity and follow the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (150 minutes of physical activity each week) “with specific exercise programming adaptations based on disease and treatment-related adverse effects.”
Cancer patients and survivors along with their caregivers are invited to participate in Little Red Door Cancer Agency’s Door to Wellness program every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can take a free yoga class as well as get a massage from oncology trained professionals. Take advantage of this opportunity to get some physical activity and pamper yourself alongside others who are experiencing the cancer journey.