When undergoing and recovering from chemotherapy, achieving and maintaining a strong and healthy body is an important goal. Exercise is a great way to get and stay fit, improve your self-esteem, and keep a positive frame of mind. You can build your capacity for exercise by working out in small sessions or exercising at a lower intensity for shorter periods.
Here are four ways to get the big boost that comes from engaging in moderate activity.
Chemo treatments tend to weaken muscles, so consider weightlifting to exercise the body’s muscle groups and preserve muscle mass while undergoing the therapy. International studies show that pumping iron reduces fatigue and inflammation, improves physical functions, and enhances a patient’s overall quality of life.
Before beginning any exercise regimen, talk to your doctor about what forms of exercise are best for your needs and condition. One easy way to exercise is to incorporate routine activities into an exercise program. Patients can take the stairs, wash their cars or do gardening tasks to boost their periods of exercise.
Like lifting weights, yoga exercises improve mental and physical functioning. Yoga practitioners experience increased muscle strength and flexibility, and they lower their blood pressure and stress levels. Greater numbers of cancer patients are practicing restorative yoga during chemotherapy, especially after breast cancer surgery. Some patients find that certain yoga positions relieve chemo side effects such as sleeplessness, joint pain and nausea, and they also improve oxygen flow through the body, which speeds healing.
As of November 2015, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center was conducting clinical trials to evaluate the effects of yoga on breast cancer patients receiving radiation. The study began in March 2006 and and is scheduled to conclude in March 2017.
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Swimming gives the whole body a workout. However, individuals receiving radiation therapy should take precautions to keep radiation-treated skin from coming in contact with chlorine in swimming pools.
Whichever form of exercise patients choose, consistency is key. Did you exercise during chemo? Share with us in the comments!