Physical Fitness and Cancer – David Haas
Physical Fitness and Cancer By guest writer to the Big Dog Blog, David Haas
Physical fitness is increasingly being viewed as a highly effective way to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Regardless of whether you have just been diagnosed, are undergoing treatment, or are in remission, increasing your level of physical fitness will bring multiple positive benefits into your life. Exercise improves brain function, mood, energy levels and even sleep quality.
If you are not currently in good physical shape in terms of your fitness, it is one of the best things you can do for your body, especially now that you have been diagnosed with cancer. Even tough cancers like mesothelioma are easier to fight when you have more energy, sleep better, and have an immune system that works properly.
People who exercise tend to have more energy throughout the day. When you are undergoing treatment, you may often have feelings of extreme fatigue that prevent you from getting things done, spending time with family and friends, and just enjoying life. Physical exercise will boost your energy levels. It does this by raising your metabolic level- the rate at which you burn energy. This leads to fat loss, a trimmer figure, and more energy to fight the cancer.
Physical exercise such as resistance training has another benefit: it increases muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass allows you to burn more energy, even at rest. Fat just sits there on your body. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be, even when you aren’t working out.
Increasing your fitness level through exercise will also improve your quality of sleep. When you work your body, it requires rest to repair itself. Although you may feel fatigued from your cancer treatments that is not the same as fatigue from work. You may sleep fitfully, and you may not reach the deeper levels of REM sleep necessary for deep, repairing sleep.
A recent survey in the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal found that of sleep. Similar results were discovered for leg cramps during sleep and difficulty concentrating while fatigued.
Yet another positive benefit you will experience from starting an exercise routine is a mood boost. That’s because exercise increases levels of chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals are the natural “feel good” drugs of the body. Vigorous exercise releases them into your body, dampening feelings of pain and soreness and leaving you with a calm feeling.
If you decide to take up exercise, be sure to consult with your doctor to find a type of exercise you can perform at an intensity that is appropriate for your current condition.