Benefits of Exercise
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) developed guidelines on exercise and physical activity in patients who are undergoing active treatment for cancer or have completed treatment. Their number one recommendation is
Staying active is so important at all stages of all treatments. The benefits are well documented in a number of cancers, according to Dr. Schmitz of the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center, particularly in areas of fatigue and physical functioning and both directly influence the quality of life. All patients need to work at the level of activity they are comfortable.
Exercise increases the endorphins that will help everyone feel better emotionally
Exercise will increase the amount of energy you have throughout the day.
There is evidence that links physical activity with improved quality of life for those undergoing treatment as well as those who have completed it
Even modest amounts of exercise, like a brief walk is beneficial
Improved body image
Improved body composition
Body composition changes are common in cancer patients. Some cancers, like gastrointestinal and head and neck cancers are associated with muscle wasting. Thus, it is very important to build muscle or at least maintain existing muscle mass. However, frequently breast cancer treatments can lead to significant weight gain. Therefore, it may be important for them to control body weight and lose fat.
Specific exercise prescriptions should be prescribed on an individual basis. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease side effects and improve overall survival. Exercise will progress to an adjunct to curative care. It doesn’t take much exercise to produce big results.