WELLBEING EXPERTS  /  MOVEMENT & PHYSICAL ACTIVITY / The benefits of physical activity in cancer care

The benefits of physical activity in cancer care

Physical activity has been shown to provide numerous benefits for individuals diagnosed with cancer. Here are some of the key positives of exercise following a cancer diagnosis:

Improved physical function

Regular exercise can help improve physical function and overall fitness levels in cancer patients. It can enhance cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength, improve flexibility, and boost endurance, leading to improved daily activities and quality of life.

Reduced treatment side effects

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery often come with side effects like fatigue, nausea, pain, and decreased muscle mass. Physical activity has been found to help alleviate these side effects, reducing fatigue, improving appetite, managing pain and preserving muscle strength.

Enhanced emotional wellbeing

Physical activity has a positive impact on mental health and emotional wellbeing. It can help reduce anxiety, depression and stress commonly experienced by cancer patients. Regular physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters, promoting a sense of well-being and improving overall mental health.

Increased energy levels

Cancer and its treatments can cause extreme fatigue and decreased energy levels. Engaging in regular physical activity can help combat fatigue and increase energy levels. It may seem counterintuitive, but physical activity can boost energy and reduce feelings of tiredness.

Improved immune function

Physical activity has been shown to have positive effects on the immune system. It can enhance immune function, reduce inflammation, and improve the body’s ability to fight infections and illnesses. This can be particularly beneficial for cancer patients who may have weakened immune systems.

Enhanced treatment outcomes

Research suggests that physical activity may improve treatment outcomes in cancer patients. Regular physical activity has been associated with reduced risk of cancer recurrence, improved response to treatment and increased survival rates in certain types of cancer.

Weight management

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for cancer patients as obesity is linked to an increased risk of cancer recurrence and poorer treatment outcomes. Exercise, along with a balanced diet, can help manage weight and prevent weight gain during and after cancer treatment.

“Your cancer diagnosis may have slowed you down, but it cannot stop you from taking the first step towards a healthier and stronger you. Every step you take is a testament to your resilience and determination.”

BY STEPHEN PRICE

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