Cancer patients can benefit greatly from a proper exercise and fitness program, especially after something like a mesothelioma prognosis. Although it was once believed widely that patients should rest, medical professionals now agree that exercise and light activity is beneficial to all cancer patients. They recommend that these patients get 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise. This is the same guideline for the general public.
Swimming is one great option for cancer patients that wish to exercise during their treatment plans. The water allows for virtually no impact on joints, and lap swimming can build lung strength in those suffering from lung cancer or mesothelioma. The warm water can be soothing to the body and mind as well, especially after rounds of chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Another great option for cancer patients is yoga. This exercise is low impact and greatly improves flexibility and balance. It is also calming and helps to balance stress levels, especially for cancer patients facing increased tension during their illnesses.
Cancer patients can also cycle, walk or jog. These exercises can help build muscle mass that may have been lost from their illnesses. These types of exercises also help reduce fatigue by bolstering energy and the feel good brain chemicals of dopamine and serotonin. Patients must be careful not to lose weight, however, especially if they are already losing weight from their treatment side effects. They also must be careful to avoid small gym atmospheres with poor ventilation, which could present problems to their already weakened immune systems.
Across the country, health and wellness facilities are starting to offer special exercise and fitness programs for both current cancer patients and cancer survivors. In some areas, like Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, actual cancer communities are cropping up that cater to the cancer patient and offer support, understanding and health and wellness options while they are undergoing care.
Cancer patients can also ask their doctors and oncologists for advice about exercising during a cancer treatment plan. If they can't lay out an exact plan, they will refer the patients to specialized wellness professionals who can.
Outreach and Awareness Coordinator for Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
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