By Liz Davies
In the past, oncologists instructed their patients to take it easy following a diagnosis of cancer as well as during cancer treatment. Over the past few years, cancer researchers and physicians have both concluded that physical activity is actually beneficial and important to cancer patients before, during and after treatment. Many type of aerobic and non-aerobic exercise can be incorporated to provide physical and mental benefits. Walking is a popular form of exercise because it’s gentle and is a form of aerobic exercise most people can participate in. Those who walk for a total of 30 minutes per day, five days per week can expect to reap some of these benefits.Enhancement of Mood
It’s natural to feel depressed and stressed out while fighting cancer. Walking helps relieve stress and elevate the mood due to the endorphins that are released from the brain during exercise. This naturally-occurring brain chemical serves as a natural mood booster, providing effects that last well beyond the exercise period.
Reduce stress naturally with a brisk walk. Get on the treadmill or head outdoors for ten to thirty minutes. As oxygen is pumped through the body and the heartbeat moves faster, stress begins to melt away. Whenever possible walk outdoors to obtain further stress relief from the beauty of nature.
Many cancer patients find themselves feeling isolated as their lives change post-diagnosis. When the immune system allows for it, walking with friends or family members can provide health benefits and much-needed social time. The support of friends and family is vital. Walking together gives a cancer patient’s support network another way to provide much-needed support.
Although many people believe exercise wears them out, this is actually not true. Regular brisk walks increase energy, providing cancer patients a way to make it through regular daily tasks. As physical conditioning improves, the patient can find themselves suffering from less fatigue following treatments.
Those who were not regular exercisers prior to diagnosis should incorporate doctor-approved exercise into their life slowly. Lung cancer and mesothelioma causes patients to focus on cardio exercises, like walking, that can increase lung capacity and allow for easier breathing while other cancer patients, such as breast cancer patients, might focus more on flexibility by partaking in yoga.
If thirty minutes of nonstop walking is too much, start with ten minutes and build up. Short spurts throughout the day are also equally effective. In addition to helping relieve symptoms and side effects, walking is beneficial to your general health and is an activity that is easily enjoyed anywhere and in any weather with no training and very little requirement for exercise gear.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.