And Eloise seems happy to wear it!
By: David Haas
Cancer - six dreadful letters that should never be part of anyone’s personal vocabulary. It is a devastating disease and affects the afflicted as well as their families. However, being diagnosed with cancer is not an automatic death sentence and more people are able to incorporate positive habits and lifestyles that help to improve their quality of life and health. Exercise is often recommended as a means to cancer prevention, however, in recent years, experts have discovered that fitness can benefit those already afflicted with the illness. There are five key benefits in which exercise can help you to fight back against cancer.
The first is an increase in energy. Exercise improves strength and helps to deliver oxygen and key nutrients to your system so that it can run more efficiently.
The second benefit is a boost in mood. Exercise helps to release endorphins, such as serotonin – known as the “feel good” hormone. When released, these neurotransmitters flood your body and help to fight depression and to stabilize mood. This is particularly helpful when patients are feeling down and are depressed about their diagnosis.
The third advantage of exercise during cancer treatment is an increase in strength. Resistance training, such as light weight lifting or Pilates, help to strengthen muscles, while cardiovascular training helps to build endurance. Even lighter exercises, such as yoga, can encourage increased flexibility and help to elongate muscles.
The fourth benefit of exercise is relaxation. Meditation, a mental relaxation and spiritual “exercise”, promotes feelings of peace, relaxation and reduced stress beneficial for all cancer patients. Meditation also promotes deep breathing, which can greatly benefit mesothelioma and lung cancer patients, in particular.
And the last and perhaps most important benefit of exercise, is that it reduces the chances of the cancer returning. Several studies have shown that increased physical activity reduces cancer recurrence and increases long-term survival rates according to Dr. Michelle Holmes, an associate physician at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr Holmes concluded that breast cancer survivors who walked 5-8 hours per week reduced their mortality rate by 44%.
Although exercise is not a guaranteed cure for cancer, its numerous benefits can definitely improve the quality of life of many cancer patients, whether they have been newly diagnosed, are currently undergoing treatment or are in remission.