By: Jackie Clark
Those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or any cancer for that matter, can greatly benefit by incorporating a regimen of modest exercise into their treatment program. The logic behind this is quite simple. The fact is that those cancer patients who have been leading a healthier lifestyle often have a more favorable prognosis after diagnosis than those who have not.
While it has long been known that smoking and excessive alcohol use can compromise the body’s regenerative ability, recent studies have shown that even a modest exercise regimen, in combination with a healthy diet, can greatly reduce the intensity of fatigue symptoms often reported by cancer patients, and also have the secondary benefit of unlocking the body’s natural healing qualities.
“In recent years, scientific evidence has dramatically changed our ideas about the relationships among physical activity, rest, and cancer-related fatigue. Several studies have reported that exercise can prevent the manifestation and reduce the intensity of fatigue in cancer patients during and after treatment.”
Effects of Exercise on Cancer Related Fatigue
The benefits of exercise has been shown to do more than simply increase cardiovascular and muscle function, it can also help to increase the sense of wellbeing and self-confidence in the patient, relieve stress, and reduce anxiety and fear. While the outlook for mesothelioma life expectancy can appear grim, the conclusions of these studies suggest that a moderate exercise program can be an effective intervention to improve quality of life for cancer patients.
For cancer patients, as for anyone, there are four areas of fitness exercise that should be concentrated upon: Balance and stretching, strength training and aerobic exercise.
Balance and Stretching
Many cancer patients feel bodily weakness, particularly after surgeries or chemotherapy, and simple balancing and stretching exercises should help to overcome this feeling of weakness an example is yoga. Balance and stretching movements should always start any workout session as a matter of course. Performing leg-stands and walking a narrow line like an imaginary tight rope on the floor can help improve balance issues, and simple leg and arm stretching moves are beneficial even after surgery to improve blood flow to muscle tissue.
Strength training can fight muscle loss and tone that often occurs in cancer patients following prolonged inactivity due to surgery or chemotherapy. The uses of free weights or resistance equipment are both effective methods of improving strength, muscle mass and bone density.
Aerobic exercise increases the heart rate and, in combination with strength training, can build lean muscle mass, reduce fat and boost the metabolism. Aerobic exercise can also help the recovery process after therapy treatments and improve the sense of well being experienced by the patient.
Of course, cancer patients should always consult with their physician before starting an exercise regimen.