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Many Ways That Exercise Benefits Cancer Patients

More research has revealed that moderate intensity exercise is beneficial for cancer patients at any stage of cancer. Patients who exercise encounter reduced cancer-related stress and fatigue, better management of side effects, high response to treatment, fast recovery of their physical activity and in other cases, low risk for recurrence of cancer.

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is among cancer’s distressing side effects. It is an overwhelming feeling that affects the daily life of patients. It is reported that psychological interventions and exercise are more effective against CRF in the course of treatment and after. Physical therapists can develop an exercise approach that will allow patients to have a moderate-intensity workout. They will have to assess their capabilities and limitations to develop safe exercises that will be incorporated into their daily routines. A good example is patients with metastasized cancer which has progressed to the bones are advised to avoid lifting heavy weights. If a patient is still receiving treatment, clinicians should monitor their blood count.

Some of the exercises include:

  • Walking – If a patient can walk then let them. If not, they can do chair exercises to build up endurance and strength. Those facing surgery can do “pre-hab” to improve their post-operation recovery. A brisk walk that can make a patient a little breathless is recommended.
  • Small weights or exercise bands – These are exercises ideal for patients who don’t have low blood counts or metastatic bone disease. You can add simple exercises that utilize the body’s own weight to build strength.
  • Moving exercises – They include tai chi and yoga and they help to reduce stress while building muscle strength. They also incorporate stretching and improve balance.

For a patient to stick to an exercise program, they should start simply, get an exercise buddy, set goals, track progress, increase exercising intensity while listening to their body, and add muscle stretching to the program.

For better results, physical therapists can incorporate exercises into an educational program where a psychologist is invited to talk about stress management, a pulmonologist to explain about good sleep hygiene and a dietician who will advise about the importance of proper nutrition for all cancer survivors.

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