Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients

I have had quite the weekend, learning from some of the world’s top coaches, and having a blast doing some exercises –  It’s fun being a bit of a science-fitness geek!

However, today I am letting David Haas write with a guest post.  This is to highlight the positive effect that exercise can have on patients – so I will let him speak his words……

Cancer—-just saying that word produces pictures in the mind of losing one’s hair, being so tired it’s nearly impossible to get up out of bed, and of course, feelings of almost constant nausea. It conjures up fears both real and imagined. One wonders, “How will it change me? What will I look like after treatment? How will I ever get back to where I was before I was sick?”

While there’s not one right answer to all of these questions just like there’s no one right treatment, there is a relatively simple thing that a person can do that will not only alleviate some of these feelings, but help the person feel physically better.

It’s exercise, and whether a person has prostate, colon, or mesothelioma it provides both relief for the physical as well as the mental symptoms that come along with the diagnosis.

Findings from new research, which was published in U.S. News and World Report, indicate that women who have contracted breast cancer benefit when they engage in regular exercise.

What the study uncovered was that regular physical activity balanced out depressive feelings, helped patients boost their energy levels, helped the cancer survivors access an inner sense of well-being. The assumptions drawn from the study conclude the participants were able to transfer the feelings of strength that they drew from their regular exercise routines and bring it to other areas of their lives like work, family responsibilities, and social interactions.

However, people with other types of cancer like mesothelioma or prostate are helped as well by exercise. According to some more general findings by the National Cancer Institute, physical activity during treatment makes a huge difference in a person’s outlook. In fact, exercise is seen as such an important part of recovering from cancer that there is now a recommendation that it become a regular part of treatment much like a heart patient would go to rehabilitation.

Said Dr. Courneya of NCI , “We’re finding that patients can do a lot more than we originally thought they could do, even when they’re on chemotherapy or radiation therapy.”

This is promising news for those undergoing treatment for mesothelioma, breast, and other types of cancer.

Additionally, because cancer changes people both physically and mentally, one of the goals for recommending exercise during treatment is to help people improve their body image and composition. Physical activity helps rebuild muscles and strengthen bones, which when weakened by illness tend to point toward a person’s illness. The effect is that the outside world notices the illness and not necessarily the person.

Finally, lest it begins to seem overwhelming to think about exercise when there are so many pressing issues involved with recovery, physical trainer Marilyn McAllister had this to say about exercise and cancer treatment:

 “Everybody benefits from exercise, but it can be so dramatic in cancer patients. It doesn’t take much training to produce big results in their lives.”


I hope you found David’s word useful.  Many people have all have been affected by Cancer in some way – or know someone that has.  Sometimes the simplest things could help a great deal.  You can learn more by visiting Davids blog .