When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, at the age of 30, staying physically active was an important way for me to cope with the mental and physical effects of the diagnosis and the treatment. Although most cancer care professionals told their patients to “take it easy,” mine fortunately encouraged me to be active. I’ve written about this experience extensively, in books and in the Moving For Life blog. Today’s blog is guested by Melanie Bowen, who has both a personal and professional interest in better care for cancer patents. She told me, “I used to focus on solely nutrition plans and cancer treatment but now I have started researching and writing about supplementing exercise routines as well. There is so much information and so many different cancers that I am learning all the time!”

Fun physical activity helps cancer patients cope.

Fun physical activity helps cancer patients cope.

Being sedentary while dealing with cancer can have many negative effects. It is a good idea to rest when your body needs it, but you cannot and should not stay sedentary all the time. Talk with your doctor before starting a workout program; you might be surprised to learn that most doctors now recommend exercise to their cancer patients because of how beneficial it can be.

Going for cancer treatment can be a tough time in a person’s life. If you choose to undergo traditional cancer treatment, fortunately there are additional things you can do for yourself that will improve your life and health. One major component to help you feel better is to exercise more regularly. Regular exercise has several benefits that you may or may not know about. While you may think of younger and fitter people working out at the local gym, even elderly cancer patients can benefit from light exercises done several times a week.

Some of the benefits that exercise can provide include increased energy and vitality, a strengthened immune system and a more positive mood. All of these things will be fundamental to your health and can help when you are undergoing routine cancer treatment.

There are many options to choose from to promote better health and well-being. You might decide to go for a light walk every other day or you might find that working out to an exercise video on the Internet helps you to feel better. Today, there are more and more classes designed specifically with the cancer patient in mind. The key is to never overexert yourself and to know what your limits are so that you do not become exhausted. Be sure to know your limits and to only workout when you feel like your body can handle it. Being exhausted lowers your body’s ability to fight illness, so this can actually become a bigger problem if you are currently battling cancer.

You will find that exercise complements traditional cancer treatment quite well and provides you with an outlet during the day. Many people who exercise find that the time they spend on themselves and their bodies helps them to feel more relaxed and energized. No matter what type of cancer—or other serious illness – you are living with, work with your doctor to find appropriate exercises for your body and your diagnosis to promote better health during treatment, and after.

Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer –especially mesothelioma, or other serious illness. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.
Visit Melanie’s blog at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/melanie/.

2 Responses to “Exercise and Cancer: Take an Active Role in Your Treatment”

  1. I am the director of a senior center. We have a great fitness facility and group fitness opportunities at our center that caught the attention of our cancer center CEO. He is very interested in having his clients access our low-cost, accessible fitness opportunities. We will be having more discussions on this. We also receive numerous referrals from our local health care providers who are doing rehab for their older patients when their Medicare runs out.


    • That’s wonderful, Kathy! Be sure to consider combining at least some of your fitness programs with exposure to nature. Being in nature is wonderfully restorative and calming.


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