Cancer treatment does not only depend on the right medications, surgeries, and therapies, but it also requires the patient to make lifestyle changes. Doctors treating cancer recommend regular exercise and a healthy diet for the very same reasons. Research shows that exercise has numerous benefits for those who struggle with or are at risk of contracting, cancer. Along with improving the patient’s physical health, it can also help build their tolerance for strong cancer treatments.
Exercise helps with building up a strong immune system, reduces depression, anxiety, and irritability. Many cancer patients suffer from severe fatigue. Regular physical fitness routines can counter tiredness as well.
That being said, cancer patients need to avoid intense workouts that could do more harm than good. Therefore, as important as exercising is, you should know how to perform the movements so that you can maintain physical activity without any injury.
Exercise tips that can help you during cancer:
Avoid intense workouts
Cancer patients should avoid intense workout sessions because, if the cancer is related to their lungs, it can severely restrict their ability to breathe. Cancer patients get out of breath even by performing routine chores. Therefore, experts recommend following a less intense daily workout.
Less strenuous exercise can even help with making treatments effective, reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and medications, and even reduce chronic fatigue in cancer patients.
Don’t do heavy weight lifting
Heavy weight lifting can be dangerous for cancer patients, especially those who have undergone chemotherapy and suffered muscle and strength loss. Patients with lung-related illnesses, like pleural mesothelioma, should avoid lifting heavyweights like the plague because it could needlessly raise their heart rates.
Doctors suggest that, instead of lifting heavy weights, cancer patients should go for lightweights as they require less strength to lift, and, plus, you build up endurance in your lungs.
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Try some daily physical activities
A great way to keep yourself in good shape is to combine exercise with fun physical activities, like swimming, cycling, and playing sports. If you have a pet, take it for a daily walk for about 10-15 minutes. Cancer patients who can run, or prefer to run, should keep in mind not to overburden their lungs too much by running fast or for a longer time, as that could make them feel out of breath.
Since cancer, especially cancer of the lungs, can wreak havoc on your lungs’ capacity to work, it is best to consult a doctor before going on a run.
Stretch every week
Besides improving the body’s flexibility and spine alignment, stretches are also ideal for proper blood circulation. A stretching session can be invigorating for cancer patients who have undergone treatment. Stretches that involve opening up of the chest, lengthening of the spine, and stretching of the extremities are ideal for promoting blood flow, which aids in recovery after treatment.
Perform breathing exercises
Shortness of breath is one of the most common signs of lung cancer. It can occur anytime, even when one is doing simple household chores. The best way you can build your lung capacity is by performing breathing exercises daily. These exercises help keep the lungs active, increase stamina, and restore the body’s energy.
Increase immunity through yoga
Cancer patients who do regular yoga can boost the strength of their immune system, which can especially be needed after a chemotherapy treatment. Thoracic radiation is one of the main reasons behind breathing issues in cancer patients. Proper yoga sessions can help cancer patients, young and old, with improving their breathing patterns.
Yoga is a recommended exercise for every cancer patient, but the elderly stand to benefit more from yoga’s breathing exercises than other people. Yoga is less intense and favoured by physicians over heavy lifting for cancer patients, as the poses are not hard to maintain and one can settle into one with ease.
With improved flexibility, lung capacity, and deep breathing, yoga promises a healthier life, free of depression and anxiety, to its practitioners.
It is necessary for cancer patients to stay hydrated throughout the day. A sufficient water intake recommended by doctors is 6-8 glasses daily. Chemotherapy radiation and cancer medications can cause skin dryness and increase body heat, necessitating the need for higher water intake.
Making lifestyle changes is as important as following the right treatment plans. A regular exercise regimen that has the potential to increase lung capacity and muscle strength is recommended. Also, strenuous activities, like heavy lifting, should be avoided and less strenuous options like walking and yoga should be incorporated with the aim of improving breathing patterns among patients with breath shortness issues.