In recent years, research has shed light on the immense benefits of exercise for cancer patients, debunking long-standing misconceptions. The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) released a statement in 2021, recommending regular physical activity for all individuals diagnosed with cancer. Engaging in exercise can greatly contribute to overall health, boost quality of life, and even aid in the treatment and management of cancer. In this blog, we will explore the transformative effects of physical activity on cancer patients and highlight the importance of incorporating physical activity into their lives.
Exercise Recommendations for Cancer Patients
According to COSA, cancer patients are advised to participate in regular physical activity, with the aim of reaching and maintaining specific exercise goals:
- Aerobic Exercise: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Activities like walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming can be excellent choices.
- Resistance Exercise: Engage in two to three resistance exercise sessions each week, involving moderate to vigorous-intensity exercises that target major muscle groups. This may include weightlifting and strength training.
Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients
Physical activity offers a myriad of advantages to cancer patients, going beyond just physical fitness. Some key benefits include:
- Improved Physical Health: Regular physical activity helps enhance cardiovascular health, bone density, and muscle strength, which can counteract the physical toll of cancer treatments.
- Enhanced Emotional Well-being: Exercise has been proven to boost mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve overall mental health.
- Increased Energy Levels: Contrary to common misconceptions, exercise can actually help combat cancer-related fatigue, leaving patients feeling more energized.
- Better Treatment Outcomes: Research indicates that physically active cancer patients may experience improved treatment tolerance and better treatment outcomes.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: Engaging in physical activity can lead to an increased sense of control, self-confidence, and a better overall quality of life for patients.
Seeking Professional Guidance
While exercise is beneficial, it is essential for cancer patients to approach physical activity under the guidance of professionals. Consulting an accredited Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist experienced in cancer care is crucial to ensuring safety and achieving therapeutic effects. Their expertise will aid in creating personalised exercise plans, considering individual health conditions and treatment regimens.
Embracing regular physical activity has proven to be a game-changer for cancer patients. Through exercise, individuals can unlock a range of benefits, from improved physical health and emotional well-being to enhanced treatment outcomes and overall quality of life. The once-feared concept of exercise for cancer patients has been debunked. Now it is evident that the lack of physical activity can lead to adverse effects. Let’s empower patients to embrace the transformative power of exercise, working towards a healthier, happier, and more active life, even in the face of cancer.
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