Guest Blog: Battling Cancer with Physical Exercise

I’m sharing a blog today from fellow blogger, Melanie Bowen. Her blog is about using fitness as a tool in battling cancer. As someone who has lost loved ones to this horrific disease, I am always eager to help any way I can in the fight against cancer.

Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Battling Cancer with Physical Exercise

Whether you are recuperating from a diagnosis of breast cancer, mesothelioma or prostate cancer, you will surely want to rely on physical exercise to regain your former strength. In all cases, you will need to progress from light to moderate to advanced activities. As long as you give your body time to adjust to each new level of exertion, you will find the benefits to be quite spectacular. Before taking up new cardiovascular activities, you should speak with your personal physician to make sure your body can handle the task.

Light: Breathing Exercises

In the immediate aftermath of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you will likely still feel a bit sluggish. By beginning with simple breathing exercises, you can slowly coax your lungs back into action. Breathing exercises will also improve your blood flow and circulation, which will be an immense help in your perpetual battle against fatigue. If you have had one of your lungs removed because of mesothelioma, you might engage in deep breathing techniques for several minutes at a time. As your respiratory system begins to function better, you will find yourself able to perform more of the essential tasks of daily living. By regaining some of your cherished independence, you can also give family members a bit of a break from attending to your needs.

Moderate: Yoga

As your level of fitness continues to make strides, you can eventually move on to yoga, which is considered a moderately strenuous activity. Yoga traces its roots to Eastern philosophical traditions that emphasize the melding of the mind and the body. In addition to increasing flexibility, yoga is also superb for the psyche. In fact, yoga enthusiasts have long found the activity to help with insomnia. If you are still suffering from quite a bit of pain, yoga has a remarkable ability to refocus the mind. Because a cancer diagnosis can also lead to anxiety, you will likely be looking for ways to relax. Yoga, in fact, can actually prevent the release of stress hormones within the body. The activity is excellent for men and women who have been suffering from mental distress.

Advanced: Weight Training

Once you have become a true expert at yoga, you can at last move on to weight training. Because weight training is specifically designed to build muscle mass, individuals who are underweight will likely benefit the most. If you have recently been battling stomach or prostate cancer, then building muscle mass will be especially important to the health of your body. To get started, you might want to join a gym. Most good gyms have a fair number of weight machines that will work well for beginners. Once you’ve become more confident that you are using the proper techniques, you can progress to free weights. By working your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs, you should be able increase cardiovascular health and regain strength that will help you continue your recovery.

As a cancer patient, you should develop an exercise blueprint before you begin any kind of physical activity. By starting with breathing exercises and gradually progressing to yoga and then weight lifting, you can give your body a chance to adapt to each new level of exertion. Exercise can ultimately lead to a renewed passion for life and a closer bond with family members and friends.

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